Thin Ice, Thin Air: Coyotes Sale Nears Yet Another Dubious Deadline
Thursday 31 January seems to be a monumental date this month in the current business of sports. Not only will the Sacramento Kings be watching their fate possibly hinge on the results of a bankruptcy auction, the Phoenix Coyotes will be gazing far into the desert horizon, wondering if their interminable vigil of franchise stability will at long last be settled.
That's the day willing-but-wondering prospective purchaser Greg Jamison is supposed to show up at the Glendale city hall with oodles of moola and finally get the keys to Jobing.com Arena, complete with a winning hockey team of castoffs and overachievers that surely must be fueling his Quioxtic inspiration to slay a bankrupt windmill.
The former San José Sharks CEO has been chasing his tail for over a year in an effort to purchase a franchise that trucking magnate Jerry Moyes said was losing $30million a year when he put it into Chapter 11 and has since seen other prospective bidders come and go like sagebrush through a ghost town. By the time he appeared on the scene, an exasperated Glendale city council -- where the arena is situated -- reluctantly agreed to a sweetheart deal that Jamison jammed down their collective throats.
To facilitate a sale to him, the council agreed to pay Jamison a management fee of $15million a year for 20 years, whereby he would attract non-hockey events, maintain the facility, and administer the arena parking. It was a bargain that ultimately cost four of the seven council members their seats and trumpeted the arrival of a mayor who is firmly against the arrangement. However, they're bound by the agreement, at least until the end of the day on Thursday 31 January.
So, how's Jamison doing? If anyone knows, they're not telling. That includes the NHL officials, who remain non-committal. If its their due diligence on the deal that's causing the information blackout, those guys should be running the State Department. If its not, all Seattle might need to get a hockey team for its approved new arena project is an owner and a convoy of moving vans. Rumor has it the former can be arranged. Former Seahawk owner/wannabe carpetbagger Ken Behring can refer them to a fleet of the latter. Ironically, so can Jerry Moyes.
It's hard to imagine any other group stepping up to save the Coyotes if the pending management deal goes away. No doubt, Greg Jamison is burning volumes of midnight oil this week to meet this week's deadline. Those wishing for the Coyotes' continued existence in Phoenix can only hope there will be enough of it to keep their candle in the window alight.