Balsillie to Hamilton: Want a team? Cough up $120m

So much for the hometown discount: Would-be Phoenix Coyotes owner Jim Balsillie announced that he’d seek $120 million in public funding for renovations to Copps Coliseum as part of any deal to move the Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger said he doesn’t consider the demand “out of line” and that he’s “cautiously” optimistic about cutting a deal with Balsillie — but then, since Balsillie would apparently be asking the province of Ontario and the Canadian federal government for the funds, it’s no skin off his nose. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may want to take back his endorsement of relocating the Coyotes, though.

Meanwhile, Coyotes head coach and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky threw his backing behind Jerry Reinsdorf’s $130 million bid to buy the team and keep it in Arizona — which is far less than Balsillie’s $212 million offer. Unless the bankruptcy court judge overseeing the Coyotes’ Chapter 11 filing is a big Gretzky fan, it looks like we’re headed for a major international antitrust case here.

One comment on “Balsillie to Hamilton: Want a team? Cough up $120m

  1. I honestly do not see Balsillie prevailing in this. The public financing aspect may be the issue that sinks the whole thing.
    Balsillie is asking the Provincial and Federal Goverments to give him $120m to fix up Copps Coliseum. If the Harper Administration and the Ontario Goverment would do that, how fast would the Blue Jays, Oilers and Flames start demanding the same treatment? Prime Minister Harper has a minority goverment. This single issue, and the outrage soon to follow, if those teams got help from the Federal Goverment, could force him from power on a no confidence vote (By getting the Bloc Quebecois to join with the Liberals and NDP in such a vote). It is simply not worth it for him, to take such a chance.
    Finally, I am not an attorney, but the judge has to weigh factors like will the Copps Coliseum public financing be in place (And that is a MAJOR question mark), before Balsillie is awarded the Coyotes. If it is not, then there is no guarantee he will even want the team, which will drive the value of the Coyotes even below what Reinsdorf is offering.
    Balsillie will not, nor should not get the Coyotes.