I, just as many did, listened to the Darrin Pastor interview on Roc and Manuch, NBC Sports Radio, 1060AM on April 4, 2013. I wish him well but as a tried and true skeptic, the jury is still out. Let’s take a closer look at some take-aways from that interview.
Six months of due diligence
Pastor claimed that he has done six months of due diligence. That due diligence should have included finding out what the City of Glendale’s expectations are. This is the start of April and going back six months puts him in October, 2012. I was a councilmember until January 15, 2013, and I never heard of him until his press release of several days ago. He certainly wasn’t talking to anyone in the city. That place is like a sieve. If he had talked to anyone, it would have become common knowledge around City Hall.
Why does any deal take so long?
This must be naiveté on Pastor’s part although he is a very intelligent businessman. It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that statement from him. Surely he’s done hundreds of deals using legal counsel and should know that lawyers tend to make everything take twice as long. He also claimed that he is using lawyers with municipal experience. So it certainly shouldn’t be a surprise to realize that working with a municipality is slow and cumbersome. It isn’t as if any one prospective deal took the entire four years that the Coyotes have been ownerless. Over those four years there has been a succession of bridesmaids but never the bride. We are all painfully familiar with the list . None of them took longer than 12-18 months before biting the dust.
Glendale is where the team is going to stay
We have heard that from every prospective buyer of the team. The question should be, not is the team going to stay in Glendale?… but how long will you keep the team in Glendale? There should be a ten year or better commitment before an opt-out clause is executed. That indicates a commitment to build the team and build a solid fan base. If the opt-out clause is five years or less, whoever buys the team will take the money and run…somewhere else. Better yet, would be to get an assessment from each of these would-be buyers of his estimate of how much time he feels is necessary to turn the team around and become profitable. Realistically, no prospective owner wants to commit “sports suicide” and pour money down a rat hole. Each one of them (you would think) has developed a strategy to turn the team around and become profitable.
Return on investment
Mr. Pastor uses “banker-ese” terms. He labels the team as an “undervalued asset.” This gentleman (and his family) didn’t become successful because of pixie dust. He is a very astute businessman. If he is successful in purchasing the team using capital from family investments, there will most definitely be an expectation of profitability down the road. Again, the question becomes how long is that road?
Where is Beacon Sports?
Mr. Pastor said directly, “Beacon Sports is not involved.” His statement should be of concern and can be interpreted several different ways. Is Beacon not involved because Pastor has no interest in managing the arena and simply wants to pay rent as a tenant? Why isn’t Beacon involved as the city hired the company to vet and to negotiate with any prospective arena manager?
Got his homework today
Mr. Pastor said that he received paperwork from the NHL today and would begin working on it immediately. Good for him. If that is the case, don’t expect any quick resolution. Plan to wait a month or two. He also said he had met with and talked to Mike Nealy but that he was talking to and dealing directly with Bill Daly. I expect Mr. Daly is talking to a lot of prospective owners these days.
Mr. Pastor looks good on paper and is saying the things we all want to hear these days. Shades of Matt Hulsizer. Hulsizer went very public and was obviously an avid hockey fan but his deal went south when the Goldwater Institute questioned the city’s sale of $100M worth of bonds whose proceeds would be paid to Hulsizer. The devil is in the details…of the deal.
Mr. Pastor meets Mr. Weires
Mr. Pastor in his meeting with Mayor Weiers today characterized at least twice, the mayor as “refreshing.” Glad they enjoyed meeting with one another. If Pastor really was politically savvy or had received advice from his municipally-wise lawyers, he would have introduced himself to all of the councilmembers, remembering that Mr. Weiers is just one vote of seven.
I wish all of the prospective buyers well and would like nothing more than for someone to succeed with a long term commitment. Call me jaded. I have been “around the block” quite a few times on this issue and have seen prospective owners come and go. To date there’s been a lot of public posturing, first by LeBlanc/Gosbee, now Pastor. It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing.