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Jamison fails to meet deadline, but says “journey” to buy Coyotes will continue

Feb 1, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Greg Jamison Getty Images

Early this morning, Greg Jamison confirmed he was unable to close on his purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes by yesterday’s deadline to buy the team from the NHL and still receive the crucial arena-management agreement he had previously negotiated with the City of Glendale.

“We will not be able to complete our purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes today in time to meet our deadline with the city of Glendale,” Jamison said in a statement. “However, our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. We hope negotiations with the city proceed as smoothly as possible, as everyone involved wants the Coyotes to remain in Arizona.”

The NHL has also said it will continue working to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.

“We remain hopeful the Coyotes sale process will be resolved successfully and we will continue to work with the City of Glendale to move the process forward,” said deputy commissioner Bill Daly in a statement Friday.

However, new mayor Jerry Weiers could prove a tough negotiating partner for any prospective owner. Upon being elected in November, Weiers sent a strong message to the Coyotes that “Glendale is not your cash register.”

The recently expired arena-management agreement that Jamison managed to negotiate with the previous administration — which Weiers did not support — was set to pay Coyotes ownership around $15 million a year to run Arena.

Not surprisingly, the news that Jamison was unable to meet the deadline has raised eyebrows in Seattle, a potential NHL relocation/expansion market.

But Don Levin, a Chicago businessman who’s expressed interest in moving a team to the city, says he’s had no discussions with the league about buying the Coyotes.

“They don’t like to abandon markets,” Levin told the Seattle Times. “I think the league wants to do everything it possibly can to keep the team there.”

Update (12:11 p.m. ET):

Coyotes President and COO Mike Nealy issued the following statement regarding the Coyotes ownership situation:

“Today, we were informed by the National Hockey League that Mr. Jamison was unable to close on his purchase of the Coyotes. Mr. Jamison will continue to work with the NHL and the City of Glendale to close a deal that will keep the Coyotes in the Valley. Although there is no set timetable, hopefully it will be soon. The Coyotes will continue to be owned by the NHL and nothing changes for our organization. We will work hard on and off the ice to provide our fans with a winning team that they can be proud of. We would like to thank all of our great fans and corporate partners for their incredible patience and loyalty throughout this process. We know it’s been difficult and we appreciate their support.”

  1. govtminion - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    “They don’t like to abandon markets, I think the league wants to do everything it possibly can to keep the team there.”

    Sure, it’s Phoenix after all, and the league has fought all these years to keep the team there and not give up on a market that- sorry, what’s that you say, Thrashers fans? Really? So why are we fighting so hard for Phoenix when Atlanta was thrown away at the first opportunity? What’s the difference between these two markets that has the NHL so interested in keeping a team in one, but hardly raising a finger to help the other?

    • noisetheorem - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      I think a lot of people who advocate moving the Coyotes don’t understand why they are actually there – TV. If the league wants a national TV contract, they need to have a presence in every major market. If they don’t, it seriously hurts their negotiating position going forward. Advertisers also want that same national market presence.

      So while the phoenix market may not be a great hockey market, it is needed for other parts of their business strategy. Atlanta had a more expendable position with the Florida teams and Nashville being not too far away.

      • tmoore4075 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        The league has a national tv contract for another 8 years. And it was signed when it appeared the Coyotes were going back to Winnipeg. Gary Bettman even said when it was announced that the deal was not tied to having a team in the Phoenix or Atlanta markets. Plus the local ratings I saw a year or so ago were terrible. If I’m a local advertiser I wouldn’t be putting money into something that no one is watching.

        And you do realize Phoenix is closer to LA than Atlanta is to either of the Florida markets right? Heck Phoenix is almost as close to LA as Atlanta is to Nashville. So I’m not buying that argument.

      • missthemexpos - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        The NFL has a very nice national TV contract and they don’t have a presence in Los Angeles, so I don’t see the logic that the NHL needs to be in Glendale for the sake of their national TV contract.

    • davebabychreturns - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      I believe the Thrashers/Jets former owners were involved in a legal battle (between themselves) in a failing market at a time where the league is already up to its elbows in problems with the Coyotes franchise.

      I would guess that a promising ownership group stepped up at a time where the league figured it just did not have the resources (or will) to take on ownership of two franchises at the same time.

      That being said I don’t know what the league thinks it has left in its bag of tricks to make things work out in Phoenix; I would guess they simply don’t want to come out and say “well things are basically hopeless now” in public.

    • tmoore4075 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      The biggest difference between the two was the cities. Glendale was offering to cover losses for the Coyotes while they waited for an owner. Atlanta wasn’t willing to do that. It didn’t benefit Atlanta the way it did Glendale. If the Thrashers left they still had the Hawks and the arena was downtown and a prime location for concerts and other events. Glendale would have had an empty arena with no pro franchise and were in the middle of nowhere. I think things were going on behind the scenes by the NHL in Atlanta. The Phoenix situation was made very public by Moyes when he took them into bankruptcy and all the legal stuff with the Goldwater Inst. and so on. If Moyes never does that, we don’t know how public that situation would have become.

  2. prd797 - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Jamison’s “journey” has taken him around the country, through the Middle East, and plenty of other places begging door to door for funds to buy the Coyotes. He got extension after extension, delay after delay, and he came up short.

    As much as I understand that Bettman doesn’t want admit that Phoenix was a mistake in the long term, and that they’ve seemingly lost money EVERY SEASON since relocating to the desert. They need to wrap this up and shift the franchise out. 3 years making the playoffs should not equal bottom of the barrel attendance, plain and simple.

    This market shouldn’t be the hill Bettman and the NHL “die on,” even though it evidently seems they are prepared to do so. Coyotes fans don’t deserve to be in this position to begin with, but at least figure out the damn situation out so they have an idea of the future.

  3. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Interesting that Jamison is trying to become owner of the Coyotes without using any of his own money (smart as well) but how can you be an owner if you don’t put in any money? If he pulls it off and shows the blue print then I’m going to copy it and see if I can get a bunch of people to invest in a Porsche that I would then be “owner” of.

  4. ballistictrajectory - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Nothing to see here people. Keep moving. Nothing left but the decaying husk of a man who once thought he had power and influence.

    • govtminion - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      We’ll never forget you, Mitt Romney.


      • comeonnowguys - Feb 1, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        As if the issue wasn’t touchy enough. :/

  5. giantssb42champs - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Sorry, but that comment about Phoenix being important to a TV deal is laughable. Makes zero sense.

  6. stairwayto7 - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    What will Ranger, Pens, Redwings,Blackhawks and Canadian snowbirds do now in the wintertime when their teams do nto come to Glendale?

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 1, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      Apparently do what they’ve been doing all along anyway…

      Watch their favorite team on TV.

  7. buffalomafia - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Just move the team already!

  8. vstar1us - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Ok, there are other Cities that would love to own a Team try to get one of them to buy it! Increase it revenue and give a little life to some nice downtown areas.

  9. fiddytucker - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I like lamp

  10. Jeff - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Contract the NHL. Go back to six teams!

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