Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, June 15, 2021

no hamilton league
So much for the Hamilton Coyotes. Bankruptcy court rejected Jim Balsillie’s attempt to buy the Phoenix NHL franchise and relocate it to southern Ontario:

[Judge Redfield T.] Baum shot down the claim by Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes and Balsillie that failure to allow the team, over the objection of the NHL, to move would violate antitrust law.

“This court can not find that antitrust law, as applicable nonbankruptcy law, permits the sale free and clear of the relocation rights of the NHL,” Baum wrote.

He added, “It is not an antitrust violation for professional sports leagues to have terms and conditions on relocations of its members.”

An antitrust claim requires a “bona fide dispute,” but there is none because Balsillie only sought the NHL’s permission to relocate the franchise after it was brought up in court, Baum wrote.

“This court is unconvinced that it should order that the NHL must decide the relocation application to meet the June 29 deadline,” the judge wrote.

Baum also rejected claims by Moyes and Balsillie that while assuming the contract the Coyotes have with the NHL, they can disregard the portion of the agreement that requires the games be played in Glendale.

The judge compared that claim to “a purchaser of a bankrupt franchise in a remote location asserting that it can be relocated far from its original agreed site to a highly valuable location, for example New York City’s Times Square …”

Basically, this gambit is dead, despite Balsillie’s posturing for further mediation. Frankly, I’d have been shocked had it gone the other way. The bankruptcy maneuver was an obvious attempt to circumvent league process and approval — and not just for hockey, but for the other three major-league sports as well (indeed, other team sports were primed to take advantage of what would have been a new precedent). No way was the court going to upend standard operating procedure for North American professional franchise sports, just so a BlackBerry billionaire can have a team in his backyard.

I think I pointed this out before, but it bears repeating: I don’t know why anyone would want to engage Balsillie in a National Hockey League team sale again. He’s had three chances to buy a franchise, and has not only flubbed them all, but did so in particularly hamhanded fashion. What does his inability to get into the NHL owners’ club say about his general acumen as a businessman — you’d have to think he’d be a disaster if he ever did become a team owner. Why bother dealing with him if it’s practically dead certain that he’ll never get through the approval process, thanks to his by-now transparent intent to relocate any team he’d buy to Ontario? It’s automatically time wasted.

As for the ‘Yotes, their arena situation not only locks them into the Phoenix-Glendale market, but also holds the longer-term key for their viability. Arena operations is a default condition for major-pro team sports success, and the Coyotes have that. Any new owner should be able to exploit that, and build a successful hockey show in the desert from there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/15/2009 11:01 PM
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz
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  1. STANLEY CUP 2009: RINK RATINGS BONANZA…

    Your National Hockey League is on a real roll right now: On the heels of a court victory affirming its control over franchise ownership and relocation vis-à-vis the Coyotes and Jim Balsillie, it got confirmation that the just-completed Stanley Cup pl….

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 06/16/2009 @ 11:44 AM

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