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McKenzie: Balsillie has to sell himself

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05-25-2007, 01:22 PM
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Joe T Choker
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McKenzie: Balsillie has to sell himself

Bob McKenzie

5/24/2007 7:12:30 PM

Being an owner in the NHL is like being a member of an exclusive club. You not only need to learn the secret handshake but you must promise to abide by the league's rules.

And the golden rule is that the league, not individual owners, has final say on where franchises are located or re-located.

Now that Jim Balsillie has agreed to purchase the Nashville Predators for $220 million, he has roughly six weeks or less to convince the NHL that he is not Al Davis. Six weeks, by the way, is the usual time frame for the NHL to approve a new owner.

Regardless of who owns the Predators, they are likely to be on the move at some point.

We believe Balsillie would like to move them to southern Ontario, probably in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, close enough to the heavily populated golden horseshoe but just outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs' territorial rights.



But we also believe the league is not generally in favor of adding a team in southern Ontario.

So the critical question, maybe the only question anyone should be asking right now, is whether Jim Balsillie is satisfied to be an NHL owner or whether he must be the owner of an NHL team in southern Ontario.

If it's the former, there are 220 million reasons why the NHL will happily approve his purchase.

But if it's the latter, and Balsillie can't convince the NHL to change its mind about moving into southern Ontario, then Balsillie's bid to purchase Nashville won't get approved by the league.

Because as much as the NHL wants to see the predators sold for $220 million to a passionate hockey-loving billionaire, the league doesn't want an Al Davis.

I don't know why I decided to post this as a separate thread, but I thought it deserved its own thread

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05-25-2007, 01:38 PM
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cantskate
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Balsillie didn't get to billionaire status by being a chump. He wants to own a team, but he doesn't want to go broke doing it. An owner WILL go broke keeping the Preds in Nashville. The Preds have been a great team and exciting to watch for the past few years, but face facts, they can't generate enough fan and corporate support. A team in Kitchner would sell out every game from the first one on. If you were an owner, what would you do?

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05-25-2007, 01:49 PM
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Bobby Lou
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It's no secret Balsillie is over-paying pretty signifigantly for the franchise, the only assumption I can draw from this is he is trying to buy the right to move his product. If he just wanted a franchise he could have already had the Penguins, but the no-movement clause was what killed that deal. If this deal goes through it's because he's paid enough to own the right to move Nashville. The guy is just going to keep making offers until the NHL accepts one, and lets him move a team.

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05-25-2007, 01:51 PM
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I'm a fan from Connecticut who was born and raised as a fan of the Whalers. I hate to say it, but this situation reminds me a lot of how we lost the Whale. The NHL likes to say that they will block the move of franchises, but they did nothing to stop our team from moving at all. If they think that Nashville won't work (and given the figures that Leipold released they may be of that mindset) then you guys are inevitably going to get screwed. We had a "Save the Whale" campaign that generated hundreds of new season tickets and packed the building for many of our games during the final season. It wasn't enough for us, but you guys have that 14,000 tickets sold clause in your lease to your favor. Start up a grassroots campaign. Write to newspapers, television stations, and any other media outlet you can that if people don't support the team now then it's just going to have been a colossal waste of money for ALL taxpayers, not just hockey fans. Money talks, and some casual hockey fans can certainly be convinced to come to a game or two or ten if they feel it's for a good cause. Don't go down quietly, and try your hardest to make it work. Trust me, it's much easier to keep the team you have than to try to get a new one.

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05-25-2007, 02:16 PM
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TravisUlrich
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Forgive me if I don't understand how the NHL bureaucracy works, but let's say that the NHL approves the sale. What can they do to stop Jim from unilaterally move the team to a more profitable market?

Also, can anyone explain the Al Davis reference?

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05-25-2007, 02:28 PM
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preddevil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Lou View Post
It's no secret Balsillie is over-paying pretty signifigantly for the franchise, the only assumption I can draw from this is he is trying to buy the right to move his product. If he just wanted a franchise he could have already had the Penguins, but the no-movement clause was what killed that deal. If this deal goes through it's because he's paid enough to own the right to move Nashville. The guy is just going to keep making offers until the NHL accepts one, and lets him move a team.
During his press conference, Leipold stated that there was a second buyer interested in the team. He implied that the second buyer drove up the price.

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05-25-2007, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvgeniMarklar View Post
Forgive me if I don't understand how the NHL bureaucracy works, but let's say that the NHL approves the sale. What can they do to stop Jim from unilaterally move the team to a more profitable market?

Also, can anyone explain the Al Davis reference?
the owner of the Raiders Sued the NFL to have the right to move the then Oakland Raiders to L.A.

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05-25-2007, 02:34 PM
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Joe T Choker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preddevil View Post
During his press conference, Leipold stated that there was a second buyer interested in the team. He implied that the second buyer drove up the price.
I can guarandamntee you that it was Philip Anschutz who was then gonna sell it to the new Sprint Center tenant


Last edited by Joe T Choker: 05-25-2007 at 02:39 PM.
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05-25-2007, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Fire Trotz View Post
I can guarandamntee you that it was Philip Anschultz who was then gonna sell it to the new Kansas City Arena tenant
Just to correct you It's Anschutz, As a Pens fan I am well versed in Anschutz & Tim Leiweke

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05-25-2007, 02:45 PM
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coolguy21415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisUlrich View Post
Forgive me if I don't understand how the NHL bureaucracy works, but let's say that the NHL approves the sale. What can they do to stop Jim from unilaterally move the team to a more profitable market?

Also, can anyone explain the Al Davis reference?
The relocation of teams is actually under the purvue of the NHL board of governors, and it's technically not up to the owner himself.

That being said, the only thing really stopping a move is to block the purchase in the first place, because if Balsillie comes up with a reasonable strategy and marketing campaign for another location the NHL BOG likely wouldn't really be able to say to him "No, you must continue losing money in Nashville or find an American relocation site".

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