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SBD/March 8, 2011/FranchisesPrint All
A source said that the City of Glendale "has decided not to take any legal action against the Goldwater Institute for now," but prospective Coyotes buyer Matthew Hulsizer said that "other NHL teams are beckoning and he cannot wait much longer to complete his purchase," according to David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. A potential legal spat between Glendale and the Goldwater Institute is "delaying the sale of municipal bonds that would back Hulsizer's purchase of the team from the NHL." Hulsizer said he has "been approached by other teams," though he is not pursuing that interest "right now because we love Arizona." But while the NHL "has not put a squeeze on the sale by imposing a deadline," Hulsizer said that he "needs to have the municipal bonds on the market soon." Hulsizer: "I don't think I have the patience to last months. Weeks, yes, months no." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly acknowledged that there is a "date where a decision will be needed in order to draw up a schedule for next season with Winnipeg in it and to handle other logistics." But he added, "It's not one we have established, or quite frankly, that we are particularly focused on right now" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/8). A source said that "discussions aimed at getting the bonds sold and a lease agreement finalized" with Hulsizer "continued Monday and so the city held off on filing the suit" (ESPN.com, 3/7). Sources "believe the final dye has been cast and that it is only a matter of days before the lease agreement with ... Hulsizer falls apart and the league formally announces it will move the team to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season" (ESPN.com, 3/7).
NOT BACKING DOWN: Goldwater CEO Darcy Olsen said that the watchdog group is "not interested in shuffling off the stage to allow Glendale to participate in a sale" of the Coyotes to Hulsizer. Olsen: "Let me be clear: the Goldwater Institute will not stop this investigation" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 3/8). In Phoenix, Laurie Roberts writes, "What is going on is that Glendale is desperate to avoid becoming the proud owner of an eight-year-old white elephant -- one the city (taxpayers) borrowed $180 million to build. Glendale's leaders predict the economy will take a $500 million hit over next 25 years if the Coyotes skate to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The problem is, that's not a valid reason to hand over $197 million to the team" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/8). Daly wrote in an e-mail yesterday, "I don't anticipate a lawsuit brought by Glendale (to the extent one is filed) will ultimately have any impact on how the franchise issue plays out." YAHOO SPORTS' Nicholas Cotsonika noted if the Coyotes leave Arizona, the NHL "would lose the 12th-largest TV market in the United States at a time when it is working on a new deal for American television." But Daly wrote that the Coyotes' potential move "would not have 'any impact on our ongoing television negotiations' and the topic had not even been raised in discussion" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/7). Meanwhile, the CBC's Elliotte Friedman noted the NHL has done "several detailed analyses" of the Winnipeg market. Sources said that the league "estimates revenues of approximately" $70M per season, which would be the "lowest among Canadian teams" (CBC.ca, 3/7).
1-800-Flowers.com Founder & Chair James McCann is a "lead investor in a group seeking to buy a piece" of the Mets, according to sources cited by Lattman & Cowan of the N.Y. TIMES. McCann's group includes asset-management company SkyBridge Managing Partner Anthony Scaramucci, among others. The sources indicated that the group has submitted an application to MLB "to see the Mets' books, and is awaiting approval in a week or so." For now, it is "not seeking a controlling stake in the team and is positioning itself as a friendly investor." 1-800-Flowers has "for years sponsored the Kiss Cam promotion at Mets games," while fans of the team also have "received promotional discounts to buy flowers through the company." Lattman & Cowan note with his company showing a net loss of $4.2M for the fiscal year that ended June '10 on revenue of $668M, it is "unclear how much McCann might be willing to contribute to a potential bid by his investment group" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/8). Meanwhile, Glaceau co-Founder Mike Repole reiterated yesterday that he "won’t consider bidding for a stake in the New York Mets unless the team’s owners change the terms of the sale." Repole said that he "isn’t interested in investing in the Major League Baseball club if he has no say in its operations." He added, "Twenty-five percent and no real voting power, no real control; it’s cheaper to buy front-row tickets. If the deal changes, they know where to find me" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/8).
The 76ers "have transformed into an entertaining and winning basketball team that would typically get support from the locals," but that "isn't happening" yet, according to John Smallwood of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The 76ers at 32-30 are two games above .500 for the "first time in almost 2 years" and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. But they rank 27th in the NBA in home attendance, drawing an average of 13,952 at Wells Fargo Center. If that pace continues, it "would be the lowest for a season" since 11,935 in '95-96. The team's 68.7% average home capacity also is "by far the lowest in the league." The announced attendance for Sunday's game against the Warriors was 11,294, and only 13,509 attended last Tuesday's game against the Mavericks -- "one of the top teams in the NBA." Smallwood notes one "argument for the attendance woes is that the Sixers don't have a superstar player." For "various reasons," F Andre Iguodala "never convinced the Philly public he was that level of player." The 76ers' "lack of 'superstar appeal' was enhanced when big-ticket free-agent signee Elton Brand failed to produce at All-Star levels during his first two seasons and when rookie Evan Turner, the No.2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, did not hit the NBA running." In addition, the 76ers are the "only NBA franchise that competes with six Division I basketball programs within a 30-mile radius," and a "lot of basketball fans prefer the college game to the professional." The 76ers "understand how they got into this predicament and know it's up to them to create a new energy around the franchise." 76ers Senior VP/Business Operations Lara Price: "We actually do feel like people are starting to take notice, because our television ratings are up. They are paying attention and we're starting to pick up some in the building" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/8).
FORBES.com's Mike Ozanian reported Red Wings and Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch is "back in the game" to buy the Pistons after the exclusive negotiating period for Platinum Equity Chair & CEO Tom Gores to buy the team "ended last week with no deal." The deal with Gores was "being pegged at" $420M, but sources said that Gores "has increasingly become concerned with the team's evaporating revenue and the disarray that has engulfed the Pistons." Sources added that Ilitch is "looking to grab the team and the Palace of Auburn Hills for right around" Forbes' $360M valuation of the team (FORBES.com, 3/7).
TURNING POINT? In San Jose, Tim Kawakami wrote last weekend "seemed like a threshold jump-the-marine-animal moment" for Warriors co-Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber's "stewardship" of the team. Lacob, as a result of his comments about bloggers, "ceased being the refreshing new guy and turned into someone Warriors fans can and will hold fully accountable for his words, deeds, implications and immediate on-court success or failure." That is a "good thing for Lacob, if he's up to this." But it is a "bad thing if he's going to use" Warriors President Robert Rowell and former Owner Chris Cohan "as excuse-making models, and so far, there are weird signs that he already has sort of been doing this" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 3/7). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Freeman wrote "like all owners, Lacob is going to make mistakes," and fans "should be prepared for it." Owning an NBA team is a "tough business, and there are growing pains even for those who find success relatively quickly." Freeman: "Lacob is finding that out right now, and fans need to adjust their expectations for his tenure accordingly. He's not perfect, because no one is. We can only hope that he's better than most" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/7).
FASHION POLICE: YAHOO SPORTS' Kelly Dwyer noted the Hornets "for the second year in a row" are "paying tribute to their city's Mardi Gras tradition by rolling out Mardi Gras-style uniforms." The "tri-toned unis reflect the green, purple and yellow elements that you see in all manner of Mardi Gras decorations." But Dwyer wrote the jerseys are "some of the ugliest things we've ever seen." Dwyer: "One color on the front of a jersey, clashing with another on the back? It just doesn't work" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/7).