SBD/August 1, 2013/Franchises

Prospective Coyotes Buyers Insist Financing On Track, Deal Ready For Deadline

RSE refuted reports that its Coyotes financing isn't completely in order
Renaissance Sports & Entertainment officials insist that the group's bid to purchase the Coyotes "is still on track and will happen before Monday’s deadline," according to Mike Sunnucks of the PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources earlier this week said that the group "was still finalizing financing and other parts of the deal." The sources added that "some financing may have not been totally lined up, or needed to be replaced." That remark "solicited a strong denial" from RSE exec Daryl Jones. Others sources "also insist the sale is on track toward completion" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/31). Meanwhile, in Portland, Kerry Eggers notes the Trail Blazers this summer, "after years of turning their backs to the NHL ... got involved with negotiations for a potential move" of the Coyotes to Portland. Blazers Owner Paul Allen reportedly "was prepared to offer" $200M for the Coyotes. While another group was interested in moving the team to Seattle, the lack of an NHL-quality arena there "might have persuaded the league to pick Portland first had the Coyotes relocated." Both Portland and Seattle "are on the NHL’s short list." Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan said Allen “never made an offer” for the Coyotes. But he added that an "extensive market analysis convinced Allen the NHL in Portland would be a positive move." McGowan: "I never got the sense that Paul wasn’t interested in the NHL. ... Our analysis led us to believe that potentially a team could work here. We were in the mix when it related to Portland as a potential option, but it didnt work out, so it becomes moot" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 8/1).

EXPANSION NOW AN OPTION? Seattle-based KJR-FM host Mitch Levy wrote, "I'm hearing that the NHL Commish is encouraging the board of governors to make an expansion team available to Seattle" (TWITTER.com, 7/30). CBSSPORTS.com's Brian Stubits noted Levy "went on to say" that a franchise would cost $275M to acquire and "if that became a reality, it would begin operations" in '14-15. But that would "all be based on an ownership group coming forward and the plans for a new arena continuing down the path of becoming reality." KeyArena "likely would serve as the home of a team until an arena came to be" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/31).
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