SBD/February 21, 2011/Franchises

No Dramatic Ending: Filmmaker Rollins' Group Not Expected To Bid For Thrashers

NHL official says no buyers are currently in line to purchase Thrashers
An investment group led by L.A.-based Lightning Pictures CEO and Atlanta native Stephen Rollins "has not made an offer to purchase the Thrashers and is unlikely to do so," according to sources cited by Chris Vivlamore of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Rollins said that he "represents a group interested in purchasing the majority interest in an NHL franchise, a claim first made in May 2010 in a press release," but there has been "no movement in regard to the Thrashers." An NHL official indicated that there are "no buyers currently in line to purchase the franchise," and two sources said that Rollins' group "is not considered a viable candidate" (, 2/18). In Atlanta, David Markiewicz cited sports business execs as saying that it is "not hard to understand" why the Thrashers have not yet "found either investors or a buyer for the club despite ongoing efforts." The franchise "has been a perennial money loser in a market that's remained mostly uninterested in the product and the sport." Atlanta Spirit, which owns the team, has been "trying to sell the team for six years, according to a recent lawsuit, and is losing about $20 million yearly." The execs said that "prospects of a financial turnaround" are "outweighed by the likelihood that multi-million dollar losses will continue" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/20).
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