NHL Expected To Vote Next Week On Meruelo's Purchase Of Coyotes
Entrepreneur Alex Meruelo is reportedly close to purchasing a majority share of the Coyotes and a vote on the sale is "expected to be on the agenda" at the NHL BOG meeting on June 19 in Las Vegas, according to Craig Morgan of THE ATHLETIC. If approved, the sale would "transfer a substantial majority stake in the team to Meruelo," with current Owner Andrew Barroway "retaining a small minority share." It is "unclear" how the Coyotes' "desire for a new arena fits into the ongoing talks." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the team "must have a new arena to survive in Arizona." Gila River Arena’s Glendale location is "not ideal because the vast majority of Coyotes season ticket holders and premium season ticket holders live on the east side of town." But sources said that for the "foreseeable future, Meruelo’s focus would be on making the team successful in Arizona." If the sale is completed, it is "believed that Meruelo, who is Cuban-American, would become the only majority Latino owner currently in the NHL." His ownership "could open up possibilities in a Latino market that has gone largely untapped by the NHL" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/10). In Arizona, Richard Morin in a front-page piece writes it is "well-documented" that Barroway has been "seeking creative ownership solutions over the past several months." He became the team's majority owner in '15 and bought out his partners in '17 to become the sole owner (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/11).
HIGH STAKES: Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Managing Dir Chris Grove said that a transaction between the Coyotes and Meruelo, who owns the resort and casino SLS Las Vegas, "could be an important step for sports wagering and for Las Vegas." He added, "Meruelo’s acquisition of the Coyotes would represent simply another step toward a fuller comingling of professional sports and gambling." In Las Vegas, Richard Velotta notes it "hasn’t been uncommon for cross ownership in gaming and professional sports." In most cases, casino owners who hold ownership interests in pro teams "take games involving their teams off the betting board in their sportsbooks" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/11).