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Phoenix Coyotes sale coming down to the wire

Phoenix CoyotesThe much-debated Phoenix Coyotes sale is coming down to the wire, as Greg Jamison has until midnight to close on the purchase of the NHL franchise and a lucrative arena-management deal.

To say there’s a lot of drama and speculation surrounding the Phoenix Coyotes sale would be an understatement: no one is speaking on the record about what exactly is going on. You have some media outlets proclaiming it’s a done deal (indeed, more than one had the deal closing yesterday), while others, like ESPN, say the deal is trouble because Jamison is having a hard time attracting financing.

Which makes sense, because the Coyotes are a veritable money pit. Jerry Moyes says he lost $30 million annually on the Coyotes, and a proposed $15 million annual payment from Glendale to manage the arena won’t cover all the potential losses. In terms of competing in the marketplace, the Coyotes are a clear fourth (behind the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Suns), and it does seem absurd for the NHL to work so hard to keep hockey in the desert when there are plenty of viable markets — Markham, Seattle, Quebec City — that would welcome the Coyotes with open arms, in an environment where a team could actually make money.

In any case, the Phoenix Coyotes sale will make for some interesting drama. The Glendale city attorney says Jamison has until midnight to close on the city’s part of the deal; Mayor Jerry Weiers says he’ll be damned if he sits in City Hall until midnight waiting for Jamison to walk in. In theory, the city could extend the deadline for Jamison to close on a purchase of the team, but that doesn’t sound likely:

“If he doesn’t put the deal together, we won’t go down that road again with (Jamison),” Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers told a local radio station. “Obviously, if we can keep the Coyotes here under different circumstances and without that same deal it is certainly something I would like to push forward with.”

In any case, things will be clearer when the sun rises tomorrow.

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