Header image alt text

Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"


Anthony LeBlanc

Ever since the NHL principals and Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group (RSE) principals descended upon Glendale on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 new speculation blossoms. On May 30, 2013 Forbes online posted an article by Mike Ozanian entitled Phoenix Coyotes $170 million sale to be partially funded by NHL. Here’s the link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2013/05/30/phoenix-coyotes-170-million-sale-to-be-partially-funded-by-nhl/. The article appears to be factually correct and correlates with the information learned several days ago about the Renaissance deal. Thank God, at least it’s not a hatchet job from the Arizona Republic (or as it is fondly called in some circles, the Arizona Repulsive).


Gary Bettman

Breaking it down RSE gets a $120M loan (or 70% of the purchase price of $170M) from Fortress Investment group. Unconfirmed sources say the interest rate is 9% but I have no information on the length of the loan.  It gets another loan from the NHL of $80M (50% but no info on rate or length of time) and RSE puts in $45M (26% equity investment). Sources indicate that George Gosbee’s participation is $10M with minor investors contributing approximately $4M – $5M each to cover the $35M balance. But those figures total $250M you say…more than the purchase price of $170M. What’s the extra $80M for? To cover losses incurred over several years. Oh, and by the way, RSE doesn’t have to start paying the NHL for five years and they have been assured by the NHL that their revenue sharing will be “healthy.” This is a very, very sweet deal for RSE.

The best analogy I can come up with is this. You buy a $1700 refrigerator. You put $1200 of it on your credit card and you kick in $450 cash. Oh, and by the way, the company you are buying the fridge from doesn’t require payment for 5 years (of course, the interest is piling up) AND it will rebate you $800 that you can use for repairs, etc.

Now, you have three cousins, Darin (Pastor), Greg (Jamison) and Matt (Hulsizer) but the dealer will only offer his spectacular deal to one of the four of you. Darin is willing to pay $500 in cash; Greg is willing to put up $550 in cash and Matt is willing to pay $600 in cash. You would think that one of your three cousins was a lock to get the refrigerator deal but that’s not the case. Perhaps you and the dealer have an “understanding” and you end up with the deal. Go figure.


NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman


NHL Deputy Commissioner
Bill Daly

On May 24 media sources announced that the NHL has chosen a bride-to-be owner of the Phoenix Coyotes – Renaissance Sports and Entertainment led by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc. It was also widely reported that Commissioner Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Daly along with Gosbee/LeBlanc will do a “walk around” with the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday morning, May 28th. The term “walk around” is a slang expression. It means that meeting all seven of the council at one time would violate the Open Meeting Law unless they were making a presentation at a public council workshop or meeting. To avoid violation of the Open Meeting Law these gentlemen will meet in groups of no more than 3 councilmembers (4 councilmembers would trigger a violation).

Craig Morgan is accurate in his May 24th article for Fox Sports Arizona entitled Sources: Gosbee/LeBlanc group has agreement to purchase Coyotes when he says, “ Bettman, Daly and RSE will meet with Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and then will hold two separate meetings, each to be attended by three councilmembers.” Here is the link: http://www.foxsportsarizona.com/nhl/phoenix-coyotes/story/Sources-GosbeeLeBlanc-group-has-agreemen?blockID=905273&feedID=3702 .

Paul Giblin’s piece for the Arizona Republic of May 24th entitled NHL may lay out Coyotes ownership deal Tuesday, mayor says reports the same saying, “Bettman, Daly and RSE will meet with Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and then will hold two separate meetings, each to be attended by three councilmembers.” Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20130524nhl-expected-lay-out-coyotes-ownership-deal-tuesday-mayor-says.html .

So far, so good. They both report the very same fact. From here on in, read carefully, very carefully. Morgan, in his article says, “If RSE is not able to reach an agreement with Glendale, sources (my bold) have said that John Kaites’ group is still a possibility to purchase the team, as would be Greg Jamison’s group if it could gather the necessary investors. But multiple sources (my bold) have said that the NHL is no longer interested in dealing with Darin Pastor, whose bid was recently rejected by the league.” These sources with no attribution are dealing in speculation. Could be fact. Could be fiction.  Giblin, in his article, says, “Sherwood said he believes (my bold) any potential owners will want to be paid substantially more than $6 million a year, which is the figure that’s been earmarked in numerous proposed city budgets for the arena management fee.” One person’s belief, especially in this instance, is not fact when there are 6 other councilmembers who may, or may not share that belief.


George Gosbee


Anthony LeBlanc

What have we learned that we did not already know?  Bettman, Daly, Gosbee and LeBlanc will meet the Glendale city council on Tuesday, May 28th. It appears that RSE will become the NHL’s choice as owner. That is an assumption until the NHL makes a formal announcement. Public release of the facts of the deal are essential. Questions need answers, such as:  Is there an opt-out or relocation clause? What is the time period for either? What is the ratio of equity to debt? Councilmember Sherwood stated publicly that we will hear the deal parameters at the council workshop on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

There is another fact that is being ignored and perhaps it will be ignored permanently as the city has the discretion to ignore all or part of the Beacon RFP– and that is the Beacon Sports/City of Glendale RFP requirements on page 5:

Minimum Requirements/Qualifications for Managers.

In order to have its response evaluated, a Manager (or if an affiliate, its parent company) must demonstrate at least one of the following requirements:

i. Is a nationally or regionally recognized facility management company which manages publicly or privately-owned public assembly and/or sports and entertainment facilities;

ii. During the past three years, has successfully managed at least one NHL or National Basketball Association (“NBA”)/all-purpose arenas with a seating capacity of at least 10,000 persons; or;

iii. The Manager must have current experience in operating such a facility on behalf of a public entity, such as the City of Glendale;

The Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group was organized only recently for the express purpose of attempting to purchase the Coyotes. They have no demonstrable experience as a fledgling group in managing any sports or entertainment facilities, much less an NHL or NBA all-purpose arena.

Coalition 1 photo

Glendale City Council
CM Alvarez absent

I applaud Bettman and Daly having finally made a decision in terms of ownership but what were they thinking? The NHL must be ready to use its muscle with a “take it or leave it” strategy. Do they seriously think a MAJORITY of this council will accept as an arena manager a newly formed group with no track record in managing an arena? And do they think a MAJORITY of this council will expend more than the $6M budgeted in the soon-to-be-approved city’s Fiscal Year 2013-14 Budget? Councilmember Sherwood says he has a plan but will it turn out to be an acceptable one? Not unless this council is suddenly willing to listen to the likes of Ken Jones, Arthur Thruston and Andrew/Darcy Marwick berating them for subsidizing a sports team during the Public Comment period at every council meeting –forever.



NHL Deputy
Bill Daly

Here is the verbatim transcript of an April 29, 2013 interview with Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly regarding Coyotes’ ownership from Sportsnet.com. I do not know the names of the two gentlemen that anchored the show on Hockey Central. I will refer to one as Anchor 1 (A1) and the other as Anchor 2 (A2). I refer to Bill Daly as BD. The link for the video is http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/bill-daly-on-hc-noon/ . It starts at about the 8 minute mark and the Phoenix Coyotes discussion lasts for about 3 minutes. My commentary follows the remarks made.

A1: “Couple of things we have to get to…Phoenix. Are you any closer?”

BD: “Yep. Look, it’s still a work in progress. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Um, but it’s still something that we’re diligent about trying to complete.”

A1: “Is it safe to say it’s not going to be a deal that’s ideal for you but it will be the best case scenario to keep the team in Phoenix?”

BD: “If we can get it done.”

A1: “It’s something…”

BD: “Again, we’re still trying to get it done and there’s a big, a big question mark still out there. We still have to deal with the City of Glendale.

This is an understatement. In the city council’s budget workshop of April 26, 2013 the figure that will be used in the approved Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget is $6M annually. There is still considerable doubt that this figure will be acceptable to any prospective buyer of the team.

A2: “This big notion that the team is essentially almost given to these people and they’re allowed to give it back in three years time. Is there any truth?”

BD: “Well, they’ll buy it.”

A2: “Yeah, they’ll buy it for peanuts.”

BD: “No. They don’t have the ability to give it back.”

The idea that the team would be given back has never surfaced. The question unasked is what is the NHL’s position on relocation of the team?

A2: “So, is this team going to be in excess of $150M, sold for?”

BD: “Yes.”

A2: “It will be sold for?”

BD: “Yes.”

A1: “Is there a guarantee that they play in Phoenix next year?”

BD: “Uh, no. There’s no guarantees.”

A2: “If this deal is done would they be in Phoenix?”

BD: “Yes. I mean, again, and I should clarify this. I mean, there’s no doubt that we’re dealing with Mr. Gosbee and Mr. LeBlanc and trying to work through and get to a deal with them but there are other interested people who continue, we’re working with at the same time as well. Nobody has exclusivity here. Um, but obviously we’re getting close to having to make some decisions and sign some documentation and you know, we’ve got to work on it. I was on a conference call again last night. It’s something we’re working on”.

The rumor that LeBlanc/Gosbee has a deal sewn up is just that, a rumor perpetuated by Mr. LeBlanc. Mr. Daly indicates that the NHL is talking to various groups and there is no exclusivity for anyone.

A1: “Are you ahead of where you were a few years ago when it looked like Phoenix was going to Winnipeg? I mean that was all but done. Are you ahead of that pace or about the same?”

BD: “I’m not sure how I answer that question. I mean, the, uh, I think, uh, we were very close to selling this team a couple of times and some unforeseen circumstances, uh, kept it from happening. Uh, that’s why I’m the first person who can’t give any guarantees on any result here. Um, you know and at some point in time, you beat your head against the wall enough times you have to try a different hole. You know I used to be a running back. I used to beat my head against the line a couple of time and then I had to try a different hole.”

That “different hole” that Mr. Daly is referring to appears to be consummating a sale with the NHL and then presenting it to Glendale, to accept or reject.

A1: “What happens first? The Olympics or Phoenix? Resolved?”

BD: “Um, well, the final resolution? Uh, I think we’ll in a position to make a recommendation to our Board before, on the Olympics, you know, before we have a closed transaction in Phoenix. That’s not to say there could be some announcements saying this is what we’re trying to get done in Phoenix before then.”

 It appears that the NHL still has a long way to go before any announcement of sale is made.

A2: “How much money has the League invested in Phoenix to this point? Like what would you have to sell that team for to break even? On what you’ve lost on this transaction?”

BD: “It’s a complicated question. I can probably take you through it and get to an answer.

A1: “The $25M a year from Glendale has helped.”

BD: “But I don’t intent to (referring to how much has been lost). Of course (in response to the $25M from Glendale).”

Glendale’s infusion of $25M annually for 2 years has virtually guaranteed that the NHL did not lose money in attempting to secure an owner.

Interview then moved on the Stanley Cup….