Coyotes Sale Is Progressing

Doom and gloom continue to follow the Phoenix Coyotes like a dark cloud on the ice and off. Their current slump on the ice isn’t debatable. The representation of the Coyotes sale being dead or dying are either premature wishful thinking or early preparation for life without the resident NHL team. For example, until Seattle has an arena (perhaps contingent on an NBA team transferring there) or the government of Quebec completes their $400M arena for Quebecor, the potential landing zones for the Coyotes are few and far between in the near term. Besides that, it appears that there is actually progress being made in Glendale toward resolving the problem they have with their arena and keeping their anchor tenant for the long term.

Coyotes Sale – City Making Progress

Competition is good for every business process, assuming a level playing field, the Coyotes fiasco is no exception. The “level playing field” is of course debatable in any transaction that involves political maneuvering, but if the cards are open on the table then the best deal for everybody is the one that will win.

Because nearly four years of Coyotes suitors negotiating directly with Glendale resulted in multiple failures, Council member Gary Sherwood has strongly recommended professional negotiators take over the task. It makes a lot of sense and, whether it’s a result of Mr. Sherwood’s insistence on hiring an outside firm or not, that’s exactly what is taking place in Glendale. As of today, the way for any potential Coyotes buyer and arena manager to deal with the city is through the city manager’s office. Unfortunately, the city manager’s office is in a state of complete disarray with the Acting City Manager (Horatio Skeete) being forced to take a demotion. An active search is on for a new city manager, but right now there is NO city manager in Glendale. Hard to negotiate with a ghost, right?

After this coming Tuesday’s city council meeting, that will all change.

Beacon Sports Management

The City of Glendale is hiring Beacon Sports Management to conduct further negotiations for six months with prospective Coyotes buyers regarding the management of the city owned arena. They will be paid $400.00 per hour for the services of Richard and Christopher Billings and Gerald Sheehan with a $25k retainer up front. They will be reimbursed, I heard there was a $100k cap on expenses but I don’t see it in the contract.

The contract, by the way, was executed on March FOURTH and has thus been in effect for some time. Perhaps our submission of a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents related to Beacon got this on the PUBLIC schedule? I don’t know. An article published on AOL on March 15th quoted the Glendale spokesperson Julie Frisoni denying that Beacon had been hired.

The deal should be officially announced at the March 26, 2013 meeting. While the agenda for that meeting has not yet (as of March 22 1pm AZ time) been published, it should be published (along with the aforementioned contract) in the next several hours and an agenda item for consideration by the council will be present. I assume it will be a public agenda item, but it may be one for a behind closed door executive session.
(UPDATE: The agenda has been released, click here, refer to agenda item 21)

The NHL is apparently on board with Beacon for this process.

A Request For Proposals (RFP) for management of the arena should be made public at the same meeting if not before. Once that is done, proposals will be officially considered for management of arena.

While some feel that the close ties Beacon has with the Reinsdorf family (click here or here) constitutes a clear conflict of interests and should eliminate them from consideration for the task at hand, there’s no doubt the company has the chops to get a deal done within a compressed timeframe. If they maintain the “level playing field”, it’s the best thing that ever happened toward resolving the problem caused by Jerry Moyes running the Coyotes into the ground and then declaring bankruptcy.

Multiple Bidders

The official appearance of Beacon on the scene MAY mean that the Kaites/Reinsdorf group will soon be seriously in the hunt for the Coyotes.

The Ice Edge guys have been, according to a person that works for Glendale, squiring around a “really rich guy” to help them with their funding for the Coyotes. I have no idea what their discussions have been, unofficially, with the city regarding terms for arena management. In the past, Ice Edge’s (and former Jamison partner) LeBlanc stated that the deal would have to be similar to what the Jamison group had negotiated. So they are probably looking for about $15M per year for some period of time.

The Bross group has not returned phone calls, but are apparently still working to put something together. When asked about the Bross group, a Glendale Councilmember was unaware of the name which, to me, means they have not yet approached the city with any proposal.

Greg Jamison is still very much interested in pursuing the Coyotes and is working toward that goal.

As stated, there may be others in the mix. All of these people are looking to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, although the length of time they wish to do so probably varies.

Stay tuned.