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Ice Edge Has Said It Plans To Keep Coyotes
In Glendale, But Play Five Games In Canada
WILL DEAL GET DONE? ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun wrote while some NHL governors are “relieved there’s finally a buyer, others are skeptical that the Ice Edge group has the financial wherewithal to pull this off.” One governor said, “Unless I am presented with evidence to show me the contrary in terms of their finances, I’m probably going to vote against it.” However, another governor said, “This is great news; this is a blessing. I mean, what’s the alternative, the league continuing to run the team? These Ice Edge guys have said and done all the right things so far. I’m OK with them.” Jones said, “Our financing is the least of our worries. We feel like we have more than enough money to do it.” LeBrun noted Ice Edge “plans to reach out to Wayne Gretzky as early as this weekend to see whether” the former Coyotes Managing Partner and coach “wants to be part of their ownership group or managing structure once/if the purchase of the team is completed” (ESPN.com, 12/13).
VICTORY FOR BETTMAN: In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote if the deal gets done, it “would mean vindication” for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who “always vowed to keep the team in Phoenix and fought a pitched battle in bankruptcy court against” RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s attempt to move the team to Hamilton. Cox: “Even if sold, the Coyotes won’t be making money any time soon. Maybe not ever. But they’ll still be in Arizona, which is what Bettman fought for all along” (TORONTO STAR, 12/12). YAHOO SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski wrote the NHL “has now spent time and treasure for the better part of 2009 propping up the team and extending its stay in the desert.” If “conditions don’t improve under Ice Edge, it’s hard to envision the league doing it again” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/12).
Hicks Once Again Has Three Groups To Choose
From In Deciding Who Ultimately Buys Rangers
STILL FAR FROM A DEAL? In Dallas, Evan Grant noted while the "supposed deadline for identifying a winning bidder remains" tomorrow, sources said that they do not believe "a winner will be announced then." Hicks is "trying to find a way to hold on to control of the team and the more time he buys himself, the more ability he has to scramble and find investors to back him." Also, once a bidder is "selected to then negotiate exclusively and directly" with Hicks to try and complete a deal, there is "still a huge sticking point: the real estate" around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Grant: "In particular, I'm talking about the 12,000 parking spots in lots around the park. Those lots are becoming more and more lucrative with the opening of Cowboys Stadium." Grant noted the Rangers are "charging anywhere from $20 to $60 spots in those lots for events at" Cowboys Stadium, making it a "very profitable segment of the operation and one that any new owner is going to want to control" (DALLASNEWS.com, 12/11).
TIME FOR A RESOLUTION: In Ft. Worth, Jennifer Floyd Engel wrote by "failing to execute a sale in a timely fashion," Hicks has "hamstrung his very talented president and GM from making moves capable of really catapulting a team on the verge." Ryan: "It is frustrating. It's because we have dealt with this so long and there is still no resolution to it. ... We are kind of in a position that, until we get a resolution here and get the defined ownership group that is going to be here, can we really start doing some other things?" But Engel wrote Ryan and GM Jon Daniels have "put on a clinic in turning chicken spit into chicken salad." Daniels: "We have really taken the approach of 'It is what it is.' We talked about the ownership situation at the beginning of the meetings, and it wasn't really a topic of conversation after the opening meeting." Meanwhile, Engel wrote among the bidders Greenberg "is the smartest," as he "got Ryan on board." Engel added if the bidding was "about what is best for the Rangers, MLB would have given them the wrap-it-up finger twirl a long time ago." Engel: "It has the right. It has paid a few bills. Certainly everybody at The Ballpark has grown weary of the uncertainty, and fans deserve better going into what could be a watershed year for this franchise" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/12).
Capitals Offering Tickets Through OptionIt
For Five Regular-Season Games, Playoffs
Could Predators Leave
Nashville Next Year?
In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt is "threatening legal action" after Jeff Fuller, the driver with whom Frank alleges his estranged wife Jamie had an affair, last week met "with a Taiwanese legislator interested in strengthening ties with the Dodgers." Fuller presented Justin Chou with a Dodgers jacket and baseball signed by manager Joe Torre, and Chou in turn invited Jamie McCourt to visit Taiwan. Chou said that he was "unaware that neither Fuller nor Jamie McCourt currently work" for the team. Dodgers VP/PR & Broadcasting Josh Rawitch said that Fuller's visit "was not on behalf of the club," which is in discussions to play exhibition games in Taiwan in March. Frank McCourt's attorney Marshall Grossman said that he is "reserving the right to take 'whatever legal steps are necessary' to prevent Fuller and Jamie McCourt from presenting themselves as representatives of the Dodgers" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).
Rays' Overextended Budget Heading Into
This Year Could Mean Reductions In '11
SAME OLD STORY? In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik noted the Pirates yesterday "shockingly non-tendered Matt Capps, who was scheduled to fill the important role of closer," which offers more evidence that "profit trumps everything in the Pirates organization and any kind of financial risk must be assiduously avoided." Not only is the team now "left without a closer, it received nothing in return." The decision "was a shocker, but when it comes to finances, really, no one should be surprised by anything the Pirates do" (POST-GAZETTE.com, 12/13). Also in Pittsburgh, Ron Cook writes, "It is incomprehensible how the Pirates can give away one of their few commodities without getting anything in return" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 12/14).
MOTOWN BLUES: In Detroit, Jerry Green wrote baseball has become the "saddest of all our sports," because the game "no longer is a sport of competition." The Tigers are "victims of the ruling realism of the era." It is "just too expensive in today's baseball to be able to win." The club last week traded CF Curtis Granderson and P Edwin Jackson, and "despite their denials and copouts, the Tigers can no longer afford to compete with the elite clubs" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/12).
Heisley's Local Minority-Share Partners
Fail To Meet His Capital Call Again
MONEY MATTERS: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban has confirmed a CBSSports.com report that his "operating revenues have taken a hit." Cuban said that it is "because of lower ticket prices." Cuban: "We give out a lot of group rates. And we dropped prices on a lot of tickets. Long-term, it's better to have a full house. Of course, it's costing me money. But I'd like to have less money than no money. It's just part of the economy right now. Plus, we've lowered ticket prices the last four years" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/13). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Paul Coro noted the report also showed that the Suns had the league's "fourth-biggest drop in gate receipts" (23.8%) from last season. But the Suns had "played only six home games when the documents were released." Suns President & CEO Rick Welts: "That (gate-receipt drop) really has to do more with where we've been than where we are. We're expecting it to improve over the balance of the season" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/12).
NEVER TOO LATE TO APOLOGIZE: In L.A., Helene Elliott reported Ducks Owner Henry Samueli "got a near-apology Friday from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, who had suspended Samueli from June 2008 until last month." Samueli was cleared last week of criminal charges in a case involving the backdating of stock options at Broadcom Corp. Bettman in a statement said, "In retrospect, it is regrettable and unfortunate that the circumstances at that time caused the Samuelis and the Anaheim Ducks to endure any suspension." Samueli responded in a statement, "I very much appreciate Commissioner Bettman's comments and I fully understand and respect his difficult decision last summer" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).