Why fight so hard for Phoenix, but let Atlanta move so easily?

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by ponder, May 20, 2011.

  1. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    Sorry if this has already been discussed at length, but I'd be interested in hearing people's opinions/theories on why the NHL continues to fight so hard to save the Coyotes, but seems like they will be fine with the Thrashers moving (***let's assume here that the reports stating that the Atlanta/Winnipeg deal is done are correct***). For years people have assumed the reason Bettman has been fighting to keep Phoenix (and other semi-failing US teams) in the States and out of Canada had to do with a perceived brighter future for teams in larger American cities once the sport eventually "took hold," but if Atlanta is allowed to move easily, that theory would seem questionable.

    So, why fight for Phoenix, but not Atlanta? Is Phoenix seen as a viable market, but Atlanta not? Is it because Glendale is willing to fork over so much taxpayer money for a private business, with this free money making the Coyotes more viable? Is it an ego hangover from Bettman's clashes with Balsillie?

    Obviously nobody but Bettman/the NHL knows for sure, but I'd like to hear theories.
     
  2. Mantha Poodoo

    Mantha Poodoo Playoff Beard

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    Different situations in the ownership and arena situations.

    The Yotes went to bankruptcy, leaving them in a position where the NHL could buy them out of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the city with the arena is (arguably foolishly) willing to hand out $25m a year to help keep them there while an owner is found (or not).

    Meanwhile, the Thrashers aren't in bankruptcy, the owners own the arena with another team, no local owner has shown up.. more or less ASG has the NHL by the balls in the situation, and I'm not sure there's really anything the NHL could do to block a sale there. The NHL could buy the team, of course, but then there's the question of where they play. If the current owners and/or prospective buyers of the Hawks/Atlanta arena aren't willing to lease out to the Thrashers, then...

    fwiw, the NHL also has a lot more invested 'image' wise with Phoenix at this point, what with Balsillie and everything else that's happened, and while I think it's much, much less relevant than the above, never discount the egos of men in positions of wealth and power.
     
  3. Panteras

    Panteras perennial loser

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    things aren't always so black & white, perhaps the "moral hazard" comes to mind, comparing it to the financial melt-down, how the gov. bailed out Bear Stearns and then decided to not bail out Lehman Bros. lol and then it really really backfired
     
  4. BigBadBread

    BigBadBread Shi Shi Shawww

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    Cause the city has no influence in the Thrashers. Atlanta has multiple pro teams, Glendale has 1, the Coyotes. And the fact that Atlanta city council said there was no chance that community funds would be used to help a hockey team.

    Who was going to pay all the teams bills next year?
     
  5. LickTheEnvelope

    LickTheEnvelope 7th Overall is my jam

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    I thought part of the issue with Glendale deciding to bale out the Coyotes for another season was fear the local businesses all around jobbing.com would lose huge business and potentially sue the city of Glendale.
     
  6. ponder

    ponder Registered User

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    Before the Yotes went bankrupt though, weren't they basically in the same position as the Thrashers - losing money in a questionable market, with offers from potential buyers who wanted to move the team to Canada? The NHL blocked these deals, let the team go bankrupt, then bought it, which is essentially what would likely happen if they did the same with Atlanta (prevent a sale to non-local owners)? But for some reason they're letting Atlanta go easily, but would not do the same in Phoenix?

    I could easily be wrong, I haven't been following this as closely as others, just curious.
     
  7. Motown Beatdown

    Motown Beatdown Need a slump buster

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    Actually they have the Cardinals too.
     
  8. Duke749

    Duke749 Formerly "BigTuna49"

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    The owners that dug their own grave.
     
  9. Situations are very different.
     
  10. Mantha Poodoo

    Mantha Poodoo Playoff Beard

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    Not exactly, no. A lot of it comes down to having a place to play. The owners of the Thrashers also own the Hawks basketball team and the arena. They want to sell the Hawks and arena as a separate package from the Thrashers, and the NHL can't do a damned thing about that. So then they sell the Thrashers separately, and sure, maybe there's a local guy willing to shovel dough or maybe the NHL is willing to fight for them like Phoenix and make the investment.

    Where do the Thrashers play? They have to work out a lease with the new owner of the arena, which given how poor of a draw the Thrashers have been, is unlikely unless they absolutely bend the tenant over. And then there's the problem of the CoG shoveling over millions in municipal funding to help the NHL keep the team there (otherwise they'd be selling, not wanting to eat $25m in losses a year). Atlanta (way bigger potatoes than Glendale with a lot less to lose) has no intentions of forking over municipal money.

    The NHL isn't fighting for Atlanta because there isn't really anything they can do to fight for Atlanta.
     
  11. btn

    btn Gone Hollywood

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    The NHL owns a team and does not want to have to pay for running it. By getting a relocation fee from selling off Atlanta they get money to run the Yotes and even pay back some of the BOG for the purchase of the Yotes.

    Atlanta is just the wrong team, at the wrong time, in a bad economy.
     
  12. WalterSobchak

    WalterSobchak Blues Trololol

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    I would think alignment-wise the fewer NHL teams moving from the west to the east the better.

    Just a small factor.
     
  13. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    - The owner of the arena wants them out

    - The owner of the arena owns the team

    - The owner of the team has had the team up for sale for years.

    It's not like this is happening over night. I recall some saying as long as a year ago feeling that Atlanta was in more trouble than Phoenix. ASG wanted to sell, no one would buy.
     
  14. obsenssive*

    obsenssive* Guest

    how did the NHL have its 4th straight year of increased revenue then?
     
  15. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    I don't totally buy this line of thinking. Why would the relocation fee go for the Coyotes and not split up amongst all of the teams?
     
  16. Kencaid

    Kencaid Registered User

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    Strong Canadian dollar backed by a strong Canadian economy and some very good hockey south of the border.
     
  17. rojac

    rojac Registered User Sponsor

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    Were there offers for the Coyotes from Canada before Balsillie's? Remember Balsillie's offer was after the bankruptcy with the idea that by buying the team out of bankruptcy, he might be able to use the bankruptcy' court's ability to ingore contracts to keep the NHL from stopping him from moving the team to Hamilton and possibly even prevent them from having to approve him as an owner. In other words, he was trying to force his way into the NHL club. The main reason the NHL bought Phoenix was to keep out someone they didn't want as an owner. Remember that the NHL was already annoyed at Balsillie for taking deposits for Hamilton Predator NHL season tickets without their permission.

    Also before the bankruptcy, the Coyotes had, I believe, a 30-year lease with the arena (owned by the City of Glendale) and the NHL policy is to not let teams with a valid lease relocate. It's also important to note that Glendale wants the Coyotes in their arena and are willing to again next year cover $25 million of their losses.

    Now compare that to Atlanta where I believe the lease is up and the arena is up for sale and who knows if the new owners event want to rent the arena to a hockey team given rumors that other events are more profitable on those 41 nights given up to hockey.

    So, in Atlanta, there is no lease currently in place and the NHL is not trying to protect their right to decide who can own teams and where they can be located. Also, unlike Balsillie, True North Sports and Entertainment have shown themselves to be willing to play by the rules. Also, I'm not sure you can overlook the fact that by putting their offer on the table to buy and move the Coyotes last year, TNSE helped put pressure on Glendale and they ended up making the deal with the NHL to cover $25 million in losses. It's possible that the NHL's reluctance to go as far to save the Thrashers is a thank you to TNSE for that help.
     
  18. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    I don't think they have ever had a lease, in the traditional sense of the word. They have always been owned jointly with the Atlanta Hawks and the Arena, first by Turner Sports/Time Warner and then Atlanta Spirit. They have not existed outside of that, ever, and so have not had those concerns.
     
  19. rojac

    rojac Registered User Sponsor

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    It's not so much that the money would go to the Coyotes but rather that it would, when split up among the 30 teams, help offset the money that the clubs are spending to keep the Yotes afloat.

    However the NHL would probably charge this relocation fee even if they weren't losing money on the Coyotes. The courts have said that leagues own the rights to unoccupied markets and have the right to charge such a fee when a franchise is moving to a location where it is likely to have a greater value.
     
  20. pepty

    pepty Let's win it all

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    The NHl didn t block deals and let the team go bankrupt,,Bettman was suppposed to have had a deal in place with Reinsdorf to keep the team in Phoenix when Moyes declared bankruptcy in a surprise move and seemed to have a deal in place with Balsilie to buy it out of bankruptcy and move it to Hamilton and do an end run around the league.
     
  21. Inkling

    Inkling Same Old Hockey

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    For a lot of people, the Atlanta situation has come out of the blue and they're left wondering why the NHL isn't doing anything to help them out. Well, I think the Atlanta fans and a lot of the media can tell you the situation has been percolating for many years so we don't know whether the NHL has really done little for them. Unlike Phoenix, it's just been very quiet. Perhaps the NHL has been scouring near and far for owners for years now, perhaps they have been working with ASG trying to show them that they could turn things around if they do things properly. It's really hard to say without knowing all the facts. Whatever they've done, it's been done in the background.
     
  22. rojac

    rojac Registered User Sponsor

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    I thought there usually still was a lease in situations like that but I could be wrong. There are sometimes benefits to making entities look more or less profitable than they really are and one business overcharging or undercharging a sister business is a way to do that.
     
  23. btn

    btn Gone Hollywood

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    The NHL has done nothing, I can assure you of that.

    The team has only been on the market since January.
     
  24. Tekneek

    Tekneek Registered User

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    Oh, I wouldn't doubt there is some of that. The "lease" is with the current owner of the club, not a city or other entity, so it would've never been the kind of thing that prevented the team from making moves.
     
  25. ThrasherMinion

    ThrasherMinion Just Chucky

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    It's a misrepresentation about no local interest to buy.....

    The Poison Pill is the Exclusive Negotiating Period with Jerry Moores for the Hawks and arena. It's doubtful that that sale will happen, but as long as it's exclusive, no one can negotiate for the other 2/3's, and....

    No one will negotiate to keep the team in Atlanta because it is unsure as to who will own the arena so there is no way to negotiate a lease. It would be economic uncertainty and possible eco-suicide to blindly buy the hockey team and keep it local.

    The ******** are only good at being crooks. Makes it look like no one wants the team and they get all puppy dog faced in the camera and say, "we tried."

    AND as far as the NHL and Bettman, he was very proud to have been a part of "fixing" the Tampa Bay owner situation and even in putting a new owner into the franchise. He found Hulsizer and has Reinsdorf on a waiting list. The man keeps saying, "it's an Atlanta thing" about Atlanta. He never ever intended to help. He has seen Atlanta as a money grab for 2 years.

    He should be embarrassed that one of the teams under his watch sent out renewal packages VIA EMAIL!!! Tell me how many teams did that this year. Renewal packages used to be colorful mailouts with perks attached. See Tampa Bay and their team jerseys with discount chips in the sleeves...
     

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