August 19, 2011
In 2002, Greg Jamison put together an 11-man group that purchased a money-losing NHL team. That franchise, the San Jose Sharks, thrived over the last decade and rated well on the most recent Forbes franchise rankings.
The Sharks lost $15 million the year Jamison's group purchased it from former owner George Gund.
In 2009-10, the Phoenix Coyotes lost $30 million and continued to bleed money last season.
Maybe Jamison's convinced he can work some magic with another NHL franchise. Maybe he sees something in Glendale that others do not. The bottom line is that Greg Jamison, former CEO of the Sharks, is in the running to purchase the Coyotes from the National Hockey League, according to Phoenix Business Journal:
Jamison is expected to work out a sales agreement with the National Hockey League, which owns the Coyotes, next week. That includes putting down earnest money giving his group exclusive negotiating rights with the league and city of Glendale, which owns Jobing.com Arena. A finalized deal requires approval by the NHL, a lease deal between the ownership group and Glendale and any necessary financing involved in the transaction.
Jamison stepped down as CEO and President of the Sharks last year. A Glendale spokeswoman confirmed to AZCentral.com that Jamison is one of two bidders for the Coyotes. From Lisa Halverstadt:
"As indicated in June, the City of Glendale has identified two qualified buyers for the Coyotes team and is looking forward to finalizing documents with qualified buyers," spokeswoman Julie Frisoni said in a Friday statement. "No bonds will be sold by the city as part of these proposed concepts."
Oh that's interesting, so … wait, no bonds?!
No endless wrangling in front of the Glendale City Council? Fewer reasons for conservative think tanks to protest the purchase or threaten litigation? An ownership group that actually wants to buy the team without simply signing its name to the taxpayers' check?
As with everything else in this Coyotes ownership mess, the devil's in the details (and, appropriately, finalizing the details has been hellish). For example, the report that Jamison has made a bid and that a deal could be done by next week have already been reported as "inaccurate" according to Scott Burnside of ESPN.
That said, a Jamison-backed ownership group would be an unexpected godsend for the NHL and the Coyotes. Here's someone with experience running an NHL franchise instead of being "new money" like Matthew Hulsizer, who may have been overwhelmed by the task at hand. Here's someone that maybe — just maybe — is buying this franchise in an effort to make it work in the market rather than simply keeping it warm for Quebec City's new arena.
So a glimmer of optimism for Glendale. But if the last few years have been any indication, soul-crushing reality check in 3 … 2 …