Having Mark Cuban among the NHL's 30 owners would be good for business; both for the Dallas Stars and, of course, for the hockey media. Whether he's discussing impending free agents or slamming the officiating, there'd be nary a dull moment.
Usually when Cuban's name is brought up in conjunction with the still-for-sale Stars, it's in a "has been rumored to be interested" or in a wish-list capacity. But the last few days have seen an uptick in tangible news about the Dallas Mavericks owner and the city's NHL team.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes Tuesday morning that Dallas oilman Douglas Miller could be "a stalking horse" to establish a price tag for the franchise in advance of a Cuban purchase attempt. From THN:
In any event, Miller's offer is believed to be for about $110 million cash, but it would likely be publicly announced as somewhere in the $225 million range. That's because in addition to the purchase price, Miller would assume about $20 million in existing debt, most of which is owed to the NHL for the advancement of television and revenue sharing money to help keep the Stars afloat. Also built into the purchase price would be four years of losses estimated at about $25 million per year ...
Whether Miller's offer is accepted remains to be seen, but there is growing speculation that despite not publicly declaring interest in the Stars, Cuban is waiting in the background to make an offer that will be slightly better than the one received for the team and could ultimately end up owning both the Stars and the Mavericks.
What's in it for Cuban? Should Dallas fans be excited about this prospect? Do you want Mark Cuban in the NHL?
Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw came out and said that the Dallas Stars "need Cuban" in a Sunday column (registration required), explaining what's in it for the NBA owner:
As currently constructed the Stars and Mavericks have to agree on basically every deal that passes through American Airlines Center, whether it's advertising, sponsors or platinum seat prices. The Stars and Mavericks are two very different enterprises run by people who see things in different ways. Likewise, there are businesses that want to invest in one and not the other.
Put both teams under the Cuban umbrella, and an enormous layer of complication disappears for everyone. In addition, Cuban gains control of the AAC for both teams.
If he wants to do everything to give the Mavericks "favored team" status at a cost to the Stars, well, he can do that. But I wouldn't be overly worried from the Stars' standpoint given that he owns them, too, in this scenario.
Cowlishaw notes that Cuban considers the NHL's business model broken. It's an opinion that's not exclusive to hockey.
Q. You own the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise, and you've been involved in the bidding for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and MLB's Chicago Cubs, as well an investor in the nascent UFL. Are you just the typical free-spending billionaire sports fanatic or do you see a value proposition in owning sports franchises?
Right now most sports franchises that try to win are vanity assets. They aren't great businesses. There are structural problems in every major sports league that have to change for them to become good businesses.
Is there finally smoke here between the Stars and Mark Cuban? Miller's not talking about his alleged bid, according to the Dallas Observer.
From Defending Big D, which has had great coverage of the Stars' ownership dilemma over the last year, a bit on Miller:
Miller is the owner of the Allen Americans and is a local, very wealthy businessman who is known as a very big Dallas Stars and hockey fan. If you would ask me, Miller would be the ideal candidate to purchase the Stars as he knows more than anyone exactly what it was like nearly a decade ago when the team was at its height of popularity in Dallas and what it would take to get there once more. He knows how to sell hockey in Texas and he knows how to build a winner; the Allen Americans have consistently been the best in the CHL the two years of their existence. ...
And DBD on Cuban:
Two weeks ago it was revealed that there are as many as six interested buyers and that Mark Cuban could be one of them. It's unknown whether he's working with Miller or not, although it's very likely the two could form an ownership group where Cuban would hold a significant stake in the team while Miller would be the de facto owner and run the organization. Cuban has stated in the past that he does not know hockey and if he were to consider purchasing the club it would have to be part of an ownership group.
Perhaps this is the first step in that process.
Is this a good idea for the Stars? A Dallas Morning News online poll finds 75 percent of respondents in favor of Cuban buying the team and another 14.5 percent feeling OK about it. That's a landslide.
As we've said before: We're not sure what a Mark Cuban ownership would mean for the Dallas Stars.
But we know that adding this kind of personality and forward-thinking business mind to the NHL can only be a good thing, especially when it comes to digital media. And, also, for whatever savings account into which the NHL deposits its collected fines. Because you know there will be a few more dollars on the pile.