Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All quiet on the Phoenix Coyotes front

I continue to be fascinated by the struggle going on in Phoenix. People ask why does it really matter? Afterall this is a dying franchise in a struggling league. Well because a central question in this dispute is whether major sports leagues have the ability to control the sale of teams and where the franchises are located. Up to now they have had that control.

If Balsillie wins, it could set a precedent that impacts all sports leagues. His ability to buy and relocate the Coyotes out of bankruptcy could inspire other owners to file for bankruptcy protection in order to circumvent league rules and sell their teams to a buyer who might be willing to pay more if the franchise can be relocated. Just in the NHL, the Islander and Thrasher owners must be watching these developments closely. Both owners are considering relocation and/or selling their teams. And lets not forget the Sabres, Stars, and Canadiens are for sale. Nashville is on life support.

Therefore the Judge Baum has a big decision to make. A bankruptcy judge's first responsibility is to the creditors and $212.5 million will certainly address their needs. But will Baum create instability in major league sports where all teams are experiencing reduced revenue. Somehow I can't see a bankruptcy judge creating such a precedent. A hearing is set for June 22.

I still believe the NHL will make a deal with Moyes which will lead him to reject Balsillie's offer. It happened with Nashville so why not now?