SBD/February 1, 2013/Franchises

Coyotes Purchase Falls Through As Jamison Misses Glendale's Lease Deadline

Though the deadline has passed, Jamison "has not thrown in the towel"
Prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison "failed to purchase" the team on Thursday, but he and "other suitors will continue efforts" to buy the franchise in the coming weeks, according to sources cited by Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Jamison in a statement said, "Our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone." Thursday was the "last day Jamison could have purchased the team from the NHL to meet a clause in a lucrative contract with Glendale to manage Jobing.com Arena." It is "doubtful city officials will offer the same terms." Coyotes G Mike Smith said, "I’ve only been a part of it for the last year or so, but for guys that it’s been four years now, obviously it’s a frustrating time. It’s something we can’t really solve, otherwise we’d buy the team if we could." Glendale City Council member Gary Sherwood said that he "understood Jamison and NHL officials discussed several options to assemble an ownership group during just the past two weeks." Giblin reports during that time, a "major new investor emerged, but the new investor demanded a controlling interest, which Jamison was reluctant to cede." Jamison instead tried to "press on with a larger collection of smaller investors, but the group failed to jell before the city’s deadline" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/1).

ONTO THE NEXT: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks wrote new Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and new city council members are "not likely to craft yet another Coyotes deal that helps facilitate a sale via arena management payments and letting the Coyotes charge for parking on city-owned spaces next to Jobing.com Arena." There could be groups that "step forward to keep the team in Glendale, or long-term in the Phoenix market at a new arena in downtown Phoenix or perhaps in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/30). FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com's Craig Morgan cited sources as saying that PEAK6 Investments co-Founder & CEO Matthew Hulsizer "has sought to re-enter the Coyotes ownership mix recently, but it's unclear in what capacity" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 1/31). The PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL's Sunnucks reported many Coyotes and Glendale officials "are in the dark regarding the Jamison bid." A source said, "Many have been 100 percent duped." Boston Pizza Owner Jim Treliving's name also has "popped up as a Coyotes suitor" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/31).

STRANDED IN THE DESERT? The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes the "uncertainty" with the Coyotes will "continue with still no end in sight." With both the NHL and the city of Glendale "intractable on their terms, there is little chance a new buyer will surface, as the team has been for sale for more than three years with no one willing to step in unless" Glendale pays $15-20M (all figures U.S.) per year in arena-management fees. Once again it looks as if this "could be the team’s final season in Glendale, with a possible move to either Seattle or Quebec City on the horizon." Ice Edge Holdings CEO Anthony LeBlanc, whose company is working with Jamison on the purchase, said that "no buyer can make the Coyotes sale work given the team’s annual losses unless it receives the same kind of lease Jamison negotiated." LeBlanc said Jamison "has not thrown in the towel." A source said that the NHL in the meantime "has an agreement with Glendale" to manage Jobing.com Arena for $1M per month for the rest of the season. Another source said that Hulsizer is "hoping to buy an NHL team in partnership" with former Lightning co-Owner Oren Koules. But other sources said that there is "no substantial new group on the scene" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/1).
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