Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 29, 2013


Host: Ted Simons

Phoenix Coyotes update


  • A group looking to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and keep the team in Glendale has until the end of January to close the deal. Mike Sunnucks, with the Phoenix Business Journal, gives an update on the deal.
Guests:
  • Mike Sunnucks - Phoenix Business Journal
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: coyotes, phoenix, glendale, update, deal, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. A group looking to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and keep the team in Glendale has until the end of the month to close the deal. Here with an update is Mike Sunnucks. The purchase of the team has to be announced this week, doesn't it?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah, Graham Jameson's investment group's deal runs out January 31st. After that the deal is kind of void, I guess, and I don't think the City has an appetite to do another deal. There is a new Mayor, Jerry Weiers, and they have gone through this probably seven times, the city. I think this is it. He's got to do it by Thursday.

Ted Simons: Again, not necessarily the NHL with the deadline, it's the City of Glendale. You mentioned it sounds like they are not in any mood to extend any deadlines.

Mike Sunnucks: They have done different deals and worked on this for a while. Jameson has been pursuing the team since 2011. He has the blessing of the NHL and there are people out there that are optimistic he will be able to get it done tomorrow or Thursday. But the city is not going kick the can anymore. If he can't do it, he's got the blessing of the NHL, probably gotten help there in trying to find people to invest. He's passed the hat around here and in Canada. He's gone after all kinds of different investors. If he can't get it done, I don't know who can.

Ted Simons: Is this a possible scenario: If he can't keep the team in Glendale, he could get it done to find a new home somewhere else? He could still be the owner of the whatever-they-are Coyotes, just not in Phoenix?

Mike Sunnucks: Yeah, that is a possibility after the Glendale deadline is done and then he could possibly look at Seattle or Quebec City. It's more likely there's ownership groups in those cities trying to get a deal done, if Jameson doesn't. The thing with Jameson's deal, he's needed that $300 million on 20 years from the Glendale City to get this done, to be able to get the financing. It's always kind of hinged on that. If he can't get it done with Glendale, somebody else will come in and buy it from another market.

Ted Simons: There is some prevailing wisdom that if you have the people ready to buy and you are ready to buy, you should have purchased something by now. Why is this taking so long?

Mike Sunnucks: That's been the question throughout this process. You'd think if he had the money, which people say he does, it would have been done. There's due diligence, people have come in and out of the deal. There are a lot of different partners, those checking the financing. There's been speculation how much say and decision-making the investors will get in the deal, versus Jameson, a team executive. I'm sure he will be part owner, but maybe not the majority owner. Obviously the NHL had the lockout and they were dealing with that. So maybe at the league level they wanted to get the lockout out of the way, have the new CBA in place so people looking to finance kind of knew the parameters. There are some logical reasons as to why it would take so long.

Ted Simons: Quickly again, we're talking $300 million over 20 years, the deal with Glendale. $15 million a year guaranteed for, what, operating the arena and parking and basically being the team owner.

Mike Sunnucks: He gets to run the arena. That kind of fits into some of the deal. People say it's a little high, but certainly helps him to get the deal done. He'll get the revenue from parking and other revenue from concerts and special events.

Ted Simons: If Thursday comes and goes or the announcement Thursday is, I tried, I just couldn't do it, how long before that team could be adios?

Mike Sunnucks: I think they would probably play out the season and see how things go. You saw this in Atlanta, who moved to Winnipeg a couple seasons ago. They kind of played out the string, looked for a last-second lone ranger to come in and buy. But the NHL was working on a deal with the folks in Winnipeg to do that. If Jameson doesn't buy the team, you'll probably see the NHL starting to work privately with folks in Seattle or Quebec City most likely and try forge a deal there. I don't think anybody else is going to step forward.

Ted Simons: What about Indian reservations here in town? What about a group that could say, let's try to retrofit the America West Arena, or whatever they are calling it these days, there is a possibility the team could stay in the Valley, just not Glendale?

Mike Sunnucks: There's talk about that, obviously Glendale would fight that. They have put a lot on the line for this. They have spent a lot of public money and really gone to bat for this. The preference obviously is to stay in Glendale. There is talk that maybe he would build an arena on the Salt River or downtown. That's less likely. The money put forward seems to be the linchpin keeping him here. I don't know if other deals in this market can match that. If the financing can't work in Glendale, can it work in other places without that $300 million?

Ted Simons: You're saying there are relatively good indications that they will get the deal done.

Mike Sunnucks: People are saying he's got the money, they are going to do it. The flip side, why hasn't the deal gotten done. Him and the league continue to try to get a deal done. I think it could happen.

Ted Simons: Okay. It has to happen, it can't be one of these wishy-washy sort of -- I'm just waiting on this one last investor -- you got it or you don't.

Mike Sunnucks: I think that's where the City is at, especially the new mayor, and the new council. He's had since November when they passed this. People thought maybe before the end of the year, before the new council took office January 15th. Now we're at the latest deadline.

Ted Simons: We'll see what happens, Mike.

Mike Sunnucks: Thanks a lot.

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