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SBD/January 27, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
The NHL is "refuting a report out of Toronto that says the city of Glendale, Ariz., has failed in its initial attempt to raise $100 million in bonds to keep the NHL's Coyotes in Phoenix," according to the WINNIPEG SUN. Sportsnet Radio Fan 590 yesterday cited a source as saying that Glendale's public bond offering "has failed, forcing the city to try a potentially more difficult private bond offering in order to generate the money promised" to prospective Coyotes Owner Matthew Hulsizer. But NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly yesterday in an e-mail said the report is "not accurate." Meanwhile, Winnipeg's True North Sports & Entertainment is "refuting a report that suggests it is trying to influence the deal by steering it into court" (WINNIPEG SUN, 1/27). In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks cited a source as saying that he is "confident Glendale will soon sell the bonds and be able to finalize the Hulsizer deal," though the source acknowledged that a "possible lawsuit from Goldwater Institute over Glendale payments to Hulsizer could trip up bond sales." The source: "Winnipeg is gunning to get this moved out of Arizona and up there quickly. They have hired consultants who are behind the scenes trying to quietly promote a suit by the Goldwater Institute." But True North Dir of Corporate Communications & Hockey Operations Scott Brown said that his group "has not had any contact with the Goldwater Institute about the Coyotes." Brown: "I can tell you that no one from True North Sports & Entertainment has ever had any contact with anyone from the Goldwater Institute at any time" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/26).
WAITING GAME: FS ARIZONA's Craig Morgan wrote while Coyotes officials "insist it's just a matter of time before Matthew Hulsizer completes the purchase of the team, a recent report by the Arizona Republic crystallized the question on everyone's lips: What's taking so long?" When the Glendale City Council and the NHL "both gave Hulsizer their stamp of approval by mid-December, we were told the sale would happen in a few weeks," but "as the All-Star break dawns, we're still waiting." Morgan: "We're told now that the only thing holding up the sale is the city of Glendale, which must sell at least $100 million in bonds and transfer the money to Hulsizer." But an NHL source said that the city "could be waiting for the bond rate to improve before making the move." Morgan: "When will the league tire of running and financing the team? When will it grow weary of Glendale's dragging feet? When will [NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman] step in and say enough is enough?" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 1/26).
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: An ARIZONA REPUBLIC editorial stated, "We know very little about what kind of team owner Hulsizer might be, other than the fact that he is a rich young man who understands and loves the game of hockey. He has said the right things, which include promises to keep the team's impressive coach and general manager, to develop a sound marketing campaign, and to spend what it takes to put a consistently competitive Coyotes team on the ice in Glendale." The editorial added, "We have no way of knowing if Matthew Hulsizer is the next Mike Ilitch. We only know the ingredients are there. A love of the game ... a commitment to player development ... and a long-term lease" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/25).
In San Jose, Scott Herhold notes San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery Tuesday on KGO-AM "went public with a plea" to MLB Giants Managing General Partner Bill Neukom for him not to "block the A's path to San Jose." McEnery's argument "turns on the notion that there is something 'unseemly' ... about the Giants' opposition to an A's stadium in San Jose," which is within the Giants' supposed territorial rights. McEnery, who "grew up as a Giants fan," said, "What strikes me is the selfish attitude of the Giants toward their fans in San Jose. We've been loyal to them, and it's not like we're going to desert them" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/27).
SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT: In California, Bill Plunkett reports Angels Owner Arte Moreno "doesn't want to hear that his team mishandled this offseason -- at least not yet." Moreno said yesterday, "If we win -- if we get to the playoffs and get a shot at it (a championship) -- then we managed (the off-season) right. If we're sitting home in October again, then we didn't get it done." Plunkett notes Moreno "joked about being called 'cheap' for not signing" LF Carl Crawford or 3B Adrian Beltre, but then being "criticized as being foolhardy with the team's finances for acquiring" CF Vernon Wells. Moreno "called the acquisition of Wells 'an investment' he was more comfortable with making because of the length of the commitment, Wells' age when the contract expires and the Angels' ability to mitigate the cost by trading approximately" $11M in salary from this year's payroll. Meanwhile, Moreno admitted that season-ticket renewals are "down 'a few thousand' and revenue projections for 2011 are lagging 'five or six percent' behind last year" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/27).
PUBLIC RELATIONS 101: In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd notes the Orioles' "announcement that they're raising ticket prices this season ... isn't a big hit with fans." The team has had 13 straight losing seasons, and Cowherd writes, "It's amazing how tone-deaf the Orioles are when it comes to fan relations. ... If you're a marketing person for the O's, you probably wanted to hide your face." Another thing that "didn't help generate buzz" was that the Orioles "didn't hold a [single news] conference to introduce their new players," including P Kevin Gregg, 1B Derrek Lee and 3B Mark Reynolds (Baltimore SUN, 1/27).
MEET THE NEW MET: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Brian Costa notes the Mets yesterday introduced SS Chin-lung Hu, whom they acquired in a Dec. 27 trade with the Dodgers, at a news conference at Citi Field. Hu is the "first Taiwanese player in team history," and at the press conference Chinese journalists "outnumbered reporters from mainstream American news outlets." N.Y. City Council member Peter Koo, "a Chinese immigrant," and New York Assembly member Grace Meng, who represents Flushing, also attended the press conference. Costa notes "all the attention prompted" Mets GM Sandy Alderson to "stress repeatedly while standing at the podium that the trade was made for baseball reasons" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27).
In Detroit, Tom Walsh writes time is "running out" on the latest 30-day exclusive negotiating period for the sale of the Pistons, and "still there is no deal." There was "speculation early this month" that Platinum Equity Chair & CEO Tom Gores "might be able to complete a purchase from Pistons owner Karen Davidson in a matter of days." But "no formal bid has been made," and "no financial information has been exchanged." Gores' reps "have been in metro Detroit during the past two weeks, doing so-called due diligence," while Gores "has been in New York City this week, meeting with" NBA officials. Meanwhile, a "whiff of interest in the Pistons has surfaced from" Chicago-based Blue Media, LLC President Eric Lefkofsky (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/27).
COURT REPORT: In California, Vik Jolly reported a Jewish hockey player drafted by the Ducks "who was assigned to play in a minor league sued the NHL team for religious discrimination and failure to prevent harassment in a complaint filed in Orange County Superior Court on Tuesday." Jason Bailey was drafted in '05 and "signed a three-year contract with the Ducks" around '08. He was "assigned to play" with the ECHL Bakersfield Condors. The complaint alleges that Condors coach Marty Raymond "degraded Bailey's faith and frequently commented about Jews as ones who 'only care about money and who's who.'" The complaint claims that assistant coach Mark Pederson "also harassed Bailey" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 1/26).
Hardaway mansion features private basketball
court decorated with Heat logo
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY: In Atlanta, Doug Roberson reports the MLS Columbus Crew, Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution "will participate in the Atlanta MLS Challenge at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium on March 9, 11 and 13." The event marks the "first time MLS teams will train in Atlanta," which is the "most-populous metro area to never have a MLS team." Each team will play two exhibition games. MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said that the league "will be monitoring the Challenge, but because it's a series of exhibition games, it wouldn't be a significant factor in the league's hopes for one day placing a team in the city" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/27).