“Who were the money men?”
That’s been the refrain whenever Greg Jamison has spoken about his ownership bid for the Phoenix Coyotes, and whenever the NHL has publicly backed his efforts. Commitment is great. Enthusiasm is great. Navigating the murky local political waters in Glendale is great.
But did Jamison actually have the funding to close this deal, ahead of a Jan. 31 deadline for the current lease agreement?
No, he didn’t, according to multiple reports. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona cites multiple sources is reporting that Jamison has been “unable to assemble the money and investors” to close the deal, and that his bid to buy the Coyotes could be over when the deadline passes.
Scott Burnside also reports the bid doesn’t have the funding, and that a new group of investors is moving in to salvage the deal:
The new ownership group, which, according to sources, has arranged for financing that would allow for the purchase of the team from the league at a reported price of $170 million, is hoping to discuss parameters for a new lease agreement in the next few days, perhaps as early as Thursday.
The league has established no deadlines in relation to selling the team, although it's clear a lease agreement between potential buyers and the city is integral to keeping the team in Arizona.
"It's still a work in progress, and we'll see how the week plays out," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN.com on Wednesday morning. If this new group and the city cannot come to an agreement on a lease agreement it likely would be the final act in the long drama that has been the Coyotes' ownership sage.
And what a drama.
This saga stretches back to May 2009, when owner Jerry Moyes placed the Coyotes into bankruptcy, allowing Research In Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie to purchase the team for $212.5 million and get around the approval of the NHL to make the sale.
A court battle raged through the summer and finally saw Balsillie drop out of the bidding for the team in September after the court rejected both his bid and that of the NHL to own the team. Two months later, the NHL purchased the Coyotes for $140 million at auction.
Then came a parade of potential buyers. Ice Edge Holdings, an investor group that sought to play some Coyotes games in Canada, couldn't close a deal. Matthew Hulsizer, a Chicago-based businessman, nearly had a deal but local politics in Glendale forced him to pull his bid. The NHL had Jerry Reinsdorf in the mix at several junctures, before Jamison stepped to the plate.
Now … another ownership group steps up.
Meanwhile, Seattle, Quebec City and the folks building an arena in Markham, Ont. watch intently.
Feeling for you, Coyotes fans. This stinks.