Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Phoenix Coyotes debacle / fiasco / clusterf*ck

I normally stay away from sports on SWATE but the Coyotes bankruptcy / thwarted bankruptcy and potential sale to Research In Motion co-owner Jim Balsillie requires comment. A quick overview in case you haven't read the news today....
The Canadian billionaire has made an offer of $212.5-million (U.S.) for the Phoenix Coyotes with the intention of moving the team to Southern Ontario.

As was the case when he attempted to purchase the club in Nashville, Balsillie's attempting to drum up public support in Canada, and has launched a website ( to solicit email addresses and postal codes of supporters.

The NHL is disputing the validity of the bankruptcy filing and have removed Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes from all positions of authority to act for or on behalf of the clubs.

For more information and commentary check out James Mirtle's blog, From the Rink.

One thing is for certain, this is going to get ugly and should make for great theatre. The SWATE take on how this will all unfold:

The league is going to have to take over and run the team next season while the bankruptcy / sale winds its ways through the courts (which could take years). Assuming the Coyotes lose another $35 million (US) next season who is on the hook for that money? I think it would have to be the other owners, and they'll love that. I don't think you can pin it on Moyes after you’ve blocked his attempt to put the team into bankruptcy protection.

I think the outcome will be that Balsillie is blocked from acquiring the team, which will then be sold for $100m to Jerry Reinsdorf (owner of MLB's Chicago White Sox who was considering a bid) – Reinsdorf gets the team at a discount for promising to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix.

The creditors will get screwed, especially Moyes who will launch a mega-bucks ($100+ million) lawsuit against the league because he and all the other creditors would have been paid in full if the team was sold to Balsillie. Balsillie will also sue the league for blocking his ownership aspirations without good reason.

The NHLPA will launch a lawsuit against the league arguing that the commissioner's office has conspired to keep total league revenues down to protect the small market teams against a rising salary floor. Reinsdorf will then move the team to KC in 2 years. It will fail there in 4 years and will be given back to Moyes as part of the lawsuit settlement, provided he operates the team in Vegas. Where it will fail in 3 years….

The team will then play on a massive floating yacht out in the Atlantic ocean as the International Voyageurs. This will be the first step towards creating an European division and will see the Voyageurs’ play all their preseason games against top European teams such as Modo and Davos. This too will fail and the team will next play on a seasonally constructed outdoor ice rink on a gigantic iceberg. Despite the iceberg being from the North Pole the team will be called the Iceberg Penguins. The Pittsburg Penguins will then sue claiming copyright infringement. The Maple Leafs announce they are raising ticket prices.

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