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Phoenix Coyotes sale falls through

Phoenix CoyotesGreg Jamison missed a midnight deadline to close on a Phoenix Coyotes sale, losing out on a lucrative arena-management deal and opening the sales process to other bidders.

Apparently Jamison wasn’t really close to a deal: he had been discussing a purchase with potential investors and wanted to retain majority control of the team without putting up majority money. That didn’t sit too well with one large, unidentified investor, who is now expected to make his own play for the team.

“We will not be able to complete our purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes today in time to meet our deadline with the city of Glendale,” Jamison said in a press release. “However, our journey to purchase the Coyotes will continue. We realize this will require additional conversations with the city of Glendale and the NHL. We still believe we can reach an agreement that satisfies everyone. We hope negotiations with the city proceed as smoothly as possible, as everyone involved wants the Coyotes to remain in Arizona.”

If they do, it will unlikely the team will operate with a $15 million annual payment by the city to manage the facility. The deadline to close on that deal with Glendale ended at midnight, and a new majority on the City Council has indicated they were highly unlikely to offer the same management deal the previous City Council did.

The failure of Jamison to put together an ownership group will also raise questions about the Coyotes’ long-term viability in Phoenix. The team has never made money — former owner Jerry Moyes says he lost $30 million annually — and the Coyotes are a distant fourth in the local pro-sports pecking order. Add to that the willingness of several cities to host NHL hockey (including Seattle, Markham, Quebec City and Oklahoma City), and you have a situation where the only potential buyer is one who will end up moving the team.

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