Archive for May, 2011

Updated: Another suitor for the Thrashers?

In response to a television report that once again named a filmmaker as an interested party in purchasing the Thrashers, team president Don Waddell issued the following statement on Friday afternoon. It indicates that another party this week expressed an interest in the Thrashers to keep the team in Atlanta.

Here is the statement:

“Along with all other groups who have expressed an interest in pursuing an ownership opportunity, which has happened as recently as earlier this week, we have said continuously that ‘until an agreement is signed and approved by the board of governors, it’s never too late but they will have to move very quickly and decisively.  Ownership still is committed to selling at a greatly reduced price to anyone committed to Atlanta.’  ”

The potential suitor stepped forward Thursday and would be considered in the preliminary stages of interest. The introduction of the possible suitor to the Spirit may have come from a season-ticket holder. A great deal of work …

Continue reading Updated: Another suitor for the Thrashers? »

It will be a quiet holiday weekend on Thrashers front

Just a quick post before the Memorial Day weekend officially begins. I can tell you that nothing will be resolved on the Thrashers ownership front until at least Tuesday.

I know that’s little news, but the deal continues to be worked on and the holiday weekend will slow the process.  I wanted to you have the up-to-date information.

I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend. Remember what we celebrate and who we honor on Monday.

Continue reading It will be a quiet holiday weekend on Thrashers front »

Anson Carter withdrew interest in Spirit

The following is a statement released by Anson Carter about media reports that circulated Wednesday of his interest in buying the Thrashers.

“ANSON CARTER AND ATLANTA SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT WITHDREW INTEREST IN ACQUIRING THE ATLANTA SPIRIT GROUP ASSETS IN EARLY 2011

ATLANTA – (May 26, 2011) – Anson Carter, Principal of Atlanta Sports and Entertainment (ASE), withdrew interest in acquiring the assets of the Atlanta Spirit Group in early 2011. ASE was formed in 2008 with the intent of building a multi-media sports and entertainment company based in Atlanta, with the goal of acquiring the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips Arena as the centerpiece of the company. Preliminary discussions were held in early 2010 with the Raine Group, representatives for the Atlanta Spirit Group and as a result ASE decided not to proceed.  However, ASE is now focusing their interest on other markets.”

As you can see, Mr. Carter withdrew his interest well before the Atlanta Spirit publicly stated it’s …

Continue reading Anson Carter withdrew interest in Spirit »

Thrashers deal may continue into next week

Negotiations on a sale agreement between the Atlanta Spirit and True North Sports and Entertainment that would result in the relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba continue to move slowly and now may not be completed until next week.

Two people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because the sensitivity of the talks told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday progress continues to be made. “All parties are moving slowly,” said one on the people familiar with the situation.

A sales agreement has not been completed with details described as “consent, owner approval, proof of financial information, etc.” still to be worked through.

“There are complex issues that take time to work through,” the AJC was told.

In typical sales involving a professional sports franchise, a Consent Agreement is negotiated between the league and the negotiating parties. It contains language on the relationship between the league and team and the rules for …

Continue reading Thrashers deal may continue into next week »

Update: Thrashers sale not done, still details

After a full day of reporting, there is little new on the sale and relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg.

According to multiple sources, the deal between the Atlanta Spirit and True North Sports and Entertainment has not been completed. There are still details to work out. I have also been told by multiple sources that it is “unlikely” a deal will be agreed upon in time for an announcement Thursday.

Of the minor details that still need to be worked out, the sale price is not one of them. The terms remain $170 million with the Atlanta Spirit getting $110 million and the NHL getting $60 million as a relocation fee.

Once the final details are finalized, all that really needs to be done is the official announcement that an agreement of sale has been reached.

I will provide updates if there are any new developments.

Continue reading Update: Thrashers sale not done, still details »

Mason: Ownership not 100 percent behind Thrashers

Chris Mason feels for Thrashers fans. The goaltender – and the rest his teammates – are in the same place.

Limbo.

While the Atlanta Spirit and True North Sports and Entertainment continued negotiations Tuesday on a deal that would sell and relocate the Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba, fans and players wait for official word about the team’s future.

“Everybody is feeling different things,” Mason told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday. “Everybody is in limbo. I keep getting phone calls [about various news reports]. It’s unnerving. You don’t know what’s going on and you can only wait and see how it all plays out. … You’ve got guys sitting here not know what is going on.

“The people getting shafted are the fans. No matter how much they want to keep the team, they don’t have a say in it.”

Mason said despite lagging attendance, he felt support from Thrashers fans.

“I definitely felt the support,” Mason said. “At games and especially when we were out talking to …

Continue reading Mason: Ownership not 100 percent behind Thrashers »

Updated: Talks continue with TNSE; no announcement Tuesday

Negotiations between the Atlanta Spirit and True North Sports and Entertainment continued over the weekend as a deal to purchase and relocate the Thrashers to Winnipeg moved closer.

As of Monday, lawyers for Atlanta Spirit, True North and the NHL were still exchanging drafts and deal terms but a deal was not finalized. Monday was Queen Victoria Day in Canada, a bank holiday, which prevented the completion of some details.

The deal could be finalized later this week. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the AJC Monday, via e-mail, that “it’s safe to say there will be no announcement on Tuesday.”

Also, the last remaining hope of a buyer willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta appeared to have ended. The final prospective buyer, in negotiations with the Atlanta Spirit, with such an intention is no longer interested in pursuing a sale. According to a person familiar with the negotiations, the potential buyer is “probably, but not completely” out of the picture.

True North is …

Continue reading Updated: Talks continue with TNSE; no announcement Tuesday »

Fans have ideas on how to save the Thrashers

I get quite a few e-mails from Thrashers fans with their ideas on how to save the team from leaving Atlanta.

I thought I would share a couple of the correspondence I have received.

1. The five largest locally headquartered sponsors (Delta, Coke, Home Depot, Chik Fil A and UPS) step up and make a commitment to the fans and the team to add $4M to this year’s sponsorship each ($20M) to help the current ASG ownership absorb projected loses while they nail down a new local owner.  These same companies commit to the same level of sponsorship to new owners for five years while the new owners help build the brand.

In turn, the sponsor each get 100 upper bowl and 100 lower bowl season tickets to give to their employees, customers, clients, etc and some sort of added season ticket discount (5-10%) is given to employees of those companies if they buy season tickets.  The companies would also get great PR locally and I am sure nationally through sports media.  They could also …

Continue reading Fans have ideas on how to save the Thrashers »

Updated: Talks continue, fans still planning to attend Thrashers’ select-a-seat event

By Chris Vivlamore and Tim Tucker

It may be the 11th hour, but some Atlanta hockey fans are clinging to hope.

With the Atlanta Spirit ownership group deep into negotiations to sell the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which would move the franchise to Winnipeg, current and prospective season-ticket holders plan to attend a select-a-seat event here Saturday.

“Our select-a-seat event will take place as planned at Philips Arena,” Thrashers president Don Waddell said Friday.

Team officials and owners declined to comment on the negotiations with the Winnipeg group.

One person familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the fluid and sensitive situation, said no agreement had been reached as of Friday afternoon but that talks and progress continued. The person said complex issues were being hammered out and that it’s difficult to predict when a deal might be completed.

Talks also continued with a prospective buyer …

Continue reading Updated: Talks continue, fans still planning to attend Thrashers’ select-a-seat event »

Deal not done to sell and move Thrashers

While negotiations between the Atlanta Spirit and True North Sports and Entertainment continue, no deal has been reached to sell the Thrashers and relocate the team to Winnipeg.

Despite a published report Thursday night saying a deal was done and would be announced Tuesday, officials with the Thrashers, True North and the NHL said no such agreement has been reached.

Several Thrashers officials told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday that the report was unfounded. The Winnipeg Free Press reported that a high-ranking True North official denied the report.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking earlier in the day on NHL Live, said no deal has been made to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg– and criticized reports of a possible move. However, he did not rule out relocation unless someone steps forward to own the team here.

“We get reports, speculation, that the team’s gone. And there’s no deal,” Bettman said. “I can tell you that with certainty that there is no deal for this …

Continue reading Deal not done to sell and move Thrashers »