NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stands next to the Stanley Cup trophy in Times Square on April 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
There are still a couple hoops to jump through but today, finally, the Phoenix Coyotes may have a new owner. According to multiple reports Gary Bettman is set to announce that the NHL has agreed to the terms of a sale with a group led by former Sharks CEO Greg Jamison before today's Conference Semifinal game 5. Jamison was instrumental in turning the Sharks into a fixture in the community and developing a solid support base in a non-traditional market. While the Coyotes have had several suitors attempt to try and buy the team over the last couple of years, Jamison may be uniquely suited to turn this franchise into a real, professionally run business here in the desert.
While the NHL is ready and comfortable selling to the Jamison group, there still needs to be a new lease deal done with the City of Glendale. right now the matter has not been put on the City Council agenda for the week, and it doesn't look like it will be addresses until next week at this point. Last night via twitter Councilwoman Joyce Clark even asked that supporters not come to the meeting this week as it wouldn't be helpful, but to wait until the Coyotes are actually on the agenda. Once announced, the group would want this part done as soon as possible so the City Council could call a special meeting next week if necessary to get this resolved.
The biggest remaining issue is how much of a fee Glendale will pay to have the group manage the arena for them. at the moment the figure looks to be about 17 million which is similar to what is done in other areas. Some outside the situation have bemoaned the city paying anything but as they own the arena that's how the business end of it works and what other municipalities that have built arenas have had to do. 4 of the 7 council members seem to be on board with this though so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
There is also talk of the Goldwater Institute having something to say, but if the deal is simply the City paying the management fee there isn't much for them to argue about. The only reason they got involved in the previous deal with Matthew Hulsizer was that they felt the city backing the bonds to pay for the purchase was a violation of the gift clause along the structure of the parking fees and how that money was distributed. In this deal it appears that there is only the management fee which should be easy to document how other cities pay for those services on their own buildings.
Another thing that will likely help this whole process is that Jamison and his group apparently plan to buy the arena and the surrounding Westgate complex. This will certainly make generating parking revenue for the team easier, relieve the City of the building debt (and therefore the management fees) as well as a nice retail investment for the ownership group.
So while I'm excited for this announcement, there's just a little more work left to do. I'll keep the explosive GIF party, massive list of "F--- You"s, thank yous, and general revelry on ice for now. But hopefully only for another week or so.