Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Balsillie business

As many as eight National Hockey League teams have been in discussions or made overtures to Jim Balsillie in recent months about a possible sale or minority partnership with the Canadian billionaire, sources say.
"The commissioner made it very clear he does not want Jim in the league under any circumstances. Period."
"Maybe Mr. Rodier would be better off confining his comments to subject matters as to which he might have some small level of knowledge; this subject isn't one of them."
I'm getting the feeling that, again, Balsillie's going to be one of the big stories of the off-season.

The Post story gets into the fact there are some real problems with the American economy which might lead to ownership groups getting out of hockey — but a lot of those situations will not be good fits for Balsillie. Several struggling franchises, like Phoenix, for example, have long-term arena leases that would be very difficult to break.

It's also likely the NHL would fight a team moving from an American market with a large population base like Phoenix, Miami or Atlanta.

The two teams with the most troubled ownership at the moment are Nashville and Tampa Bay, but new groups are just taking over there and won't be in a bind to sell immediately.
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8 Comments:

At 3:02 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

He has the passion and more importantly the money (unlike many of these NHL owners past and present) so why not make it happen in Southern Ontario? It is a ready made market (unlike KC) so why drag heels on this? Sadly I think its going to take a new commissioner to rectify some of these expansion/relocation matters.

 
At 3:38 PM, June 04, 2008, Anonymous John Richardson said...

Despite his claims of affection for the Canadian teams, Bettman would rather have an NHL franchise in Podunkville, Mississipi than a seventh team in Canada.

Gary Bettman's business model would get a failing grade in any undergraduate business course in any university in North America.

Bettman should have paid attention to Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks, Willie replied, "Because that's where the money is".

 
At 4:44 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger Mogen_david said...

A report in Canada's National Post says that the Stars are one of eight teams who have been in contact with Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who is trying to buy a team and move it to Hamilton, Ont.

So I called Tom Hicks to ask about it.

Hicks said there is no truth to the report, and that the team is not for sale. He said he has no idea how the Stars were linked to this.

http://starsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/06/hicks-says-team-not-for-sale.html

 
At 4:56 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

What bothers me about Ballsillie isn't that he wants another team in Canada. By all means, Canada should have another team, if only because right now that would have a positive economic benefit on the NHL.

What does bug me, though, is that he seems to care less about which team he snatches up, and how that may affect the NHL as a whole.

I don't care how you slice it; if he had gotten his hands on Pittsburgh and yanked them to Hamilton, I personally believe it would have had more of a detrimental effect on the league than a positive one. But all Ballsillie was concerned with was his having his own team, and nothing more.

It almost reminds me of Jerry Bruckheimer and the Lightning. Sure, it's been said that his interest in the Lightning is shallow; nothing but a plaything, really. But the same could be said of Ballsillie ... perhaps even moreso because he's an avid hockey fan.

Again, I'm not trying to disregard the appeal of another team in Canada. I just wish he'd give more consideration to the overall affect of the NHL landscape when sending out these 'feelers' for who is and is not for sale, if that makes any sense.

 
At 5:05 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

"It almost reminds me of Jerry Bruckheimer and the Lightning."

Ugh. I'm sorry. I meant to say Oren Koules. Hollywood directors and producers are lost on me, as I could really care less about whom is whom most of the time.

 
At 5:17 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger rickibear said...

I like hearing from a man who is so loved by the liverpool fans.

Michael: You spout nice prose but Gary's action or lack of action on the Phoenix and Colorado moves says that your point doesn't mean anything.

Gary let 2/8 (25%) of the Canadian teams go to the US what is wrong with letting up to 25% (6) of the current American teams locate in profitable hockey markets.

 
At 6:58 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

"You spout nice prose"?
"Your point doesn't mean anything"?

Wow. I don't know who pissed in your Cheerios, but apparently I did something to make you respond to me like a grade-A jerk despite the fact that I, in all actuality, would also like to see another team in Canada. But where I disagree is just yanking any old team, with little concern for how it affects the overall NHL landscape. And the Penguins, regardless of the fact it is in hindsight, are a prime example.

This isn't about Bettman. I was only speaking from my own perspective, and nothing more, with no consideration for how Bettman is involved in past or present activities.

Additionally, if Ballsillie cared about the overall health of the league, and not just fulfilling his childhood dream to own and run a hockey team, I would think his focus would be on specific teams; and Dallas, which actually is a sufficient, Southern team, is not one of them. Florida? Yes (despite their arena agreement all but keeping them under lock and key). Nashville? Yes (especially now with the Del Baggio debacle). Atlanta? Sure, despite my personal wish that it could have succeeded there. Phoenix? Hell, why not? Considering the move there was a total error, in my opinion, in the first place.

So don't get uppity with me; just because I don't outright and wholly support Ballsillie doesn't mean I don't agree that another team in Canada would work.

 
At 10:11 PM, June 04, 2008, Blogger rickibear said...

Michael: Gary Bettman! I respect your concern for the league and would feel bad for the true fans of the hockey communities that would lose teams.

But the man denied a 240M dollar sale. 600M in equitable value was lost to the league.

Plus a highly profitavble team in Southern Ontario. Allows for more money going to the needy teams in the south.

 

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