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.

261 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

May 25th, 2011
4:14 pm

Bettman Swallows

ThrasherFan

May 25th, 2011
4:25 pm

I posted this over at the NJ Devils on what sums up what happened here. Your thoughts appreciated.

Being in Atlanta, I will give you my best take on what happened here.

First year attendance, I think, set records. Hockey is and has NOT been covered in the local sports radio station market. Not even the flagship station for the product, 680 The Fan, hypes the team. The radio signal for the actual games cuts out at 6 pm everywhere outside of the city limmits, ie: where all paying hockey fans are. Thrasher games aren’t even televised for the entire season.

Dany Heatley. He killed his own teammate in a car crash in 03-04. The NHL lockout in 04-05 stopped any momentum the young team was gaining. Savard was shipped to Boston, we get Hossa and ship Heatley to Ottowa… Heatley goes bonkers.

During our existence, Carolina and Tampa Bay BOTH win Stanley Cups – Atlanta can’t make the playoffs, partly because of the tough competition within the division. Tampa Bay could yet again make another Finals this year.

We finally make the playoffs, get swept away by the Rangers – who in all honesty the Thrashers had owned for many years in the regular season. Building was packed, energy was high – we fall flat on our face and again, all momentum killed.

Coaching – of the 5 coaches we had, only 1 had previous coaching experience at the highest level of the NHL. Bob Hartley was fired 6 games into the 07-08 season and replaced by DON WADDELL for the entire season. A coach he was not and we finish 14th place after making the playoffs the year before. Next year we hire an AHL coach in John Anderson and miss the playoffs for two more years.

Hossa leaves and goes to 3 Stanley Cups finals in a row with 3 different teams. Kovy leaves to the Devils the next year. We are back at square one.

Throughout this entire process, our owners spend less money each year or near league minimum. We still don’t have good radio or TV coverage or media coverage in general. Fans are apathetic at this point. Season ticket holders are told to “shut up” and “Deal with it” when asking questions of owners to their FACE. Discount tickets abound and STH feel duped.

The long and short of it is that our owners have run this team into the ground. Don Waddell is 7 years past his expiration date. We had Chris Chellios on our team last year at age 87! There is only so much a fan can take year in and year out…

Bring back Knobler

May 25th, 2011
4:30 pm

all that needs to happen is an official announcement that isn’t happening or pending though the announcement could happen depending on new developments.

gotcha.

Ugh

May 25th, 2011
4:31 pm

ATLBobb

May 25th, 2011
4:34 pm

“ThrasherFan” I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head…

OHL

May 25th, 2011
4:35 pm

Mr. Vivlamore,

I think you might look into something else that has been reported up here. You may have heard that there is going to be a ticket drive in Winnipeg once the announcement is made? Well, if that is true, and it does seem to be true, then it only makes sense to have the announcement on a Monday. That way you get 5 full business days to sell tickets. If you do it any later, or at the worst on a Friday, you have the layover from the weekend where very little happens.

Last Monday was a holiday. So it may be that it’s delayed to next Monday for that reason. No one knows the facts but that sounds like it makes a lot of sense.

Trista

May 25th, 2011
4:35 pm

Thrasherfan, I have no problem with the majority of your comments; however, I think you crossed the line saying Heatley killed Snyder. You don’t think he would do anything to take back what happened? You could have said the team lost Snyder… you did not have to go and say he killed him. It was unintentional and the crash killed Snyder, not Heatley.

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 25th, 2011
4:37 pm

Read this article and replace “Screen on the Green” with “Atlanta Thrashers.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/sponsors-come-forward-for-957354.html

FrustratedThrasherFan

May 25th, 2011
4:39 pm

ThrasherFan-Great Summary! ASG not only demoralized us they demoralized the players.

ATL TOM

May 25th, 2011
4:40 pm

Telfo

May 25th, 2011
4:42 pm

you mean nothing new besides the fact that ASG has 20 million reasons to not bargain “in good faith” with local interested parties???

http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40467-Source-Thrashers-sale-to-True-North-Sports-and-Entertainment-complete-decision-on-announcement-looms.html

“And it appears to have favored the Atlanta Spirit and owner Bruce Levenson, who will reportedly receive $20 million of the $60 million relocation fee that is included in the purchase price.”

thrasherfan

May 25th, 2011
4:43 pm

With just the final details to wrap up, all that really needs to be done is the official announcement that an agreement of sale is in place. I’m told, this late in the day, that it won’t happen Wednesday.

I know there are other reports out there, but my sources close to the negotiations say no announcement is pending. It is still possible an announcement could come this week.

wtf???

R. Stroz

May 25th, 2011
4:46 pm

Telfo – Bettman Swallows

da' boomer

May 25th, 2011
4:46 pm

OHL

May 25th, 2011
4:47 pm

ThrasherFan,

What kind of records could you have possibly set? I would love to see some sources for this information. Someone else on these blogs claims you sold out every game your first season but that can’t be true. Your arena holds 18,545 for a Thashers game. Your average attendance for your first season was 17,206. Not only did you clearly not sell out every game, but what records could you have possibly set?

Also, why the 2,000 tickets/game drop from year 1 to year 2? These are people who were already at the games. Please don’t blame anything on the radio reception being bad. I am sure Atlanta is a very affluent city where homes have tv’s and cable.

Brendan

May 25th, 2011
4:47 pm

R.Stroz. He spits.

ATLfan

May 25th, 2011
4:57 pm

@ThrasherFan: post it everywhere… it’s not because of atlanta fans

canofpeas

May 25th, 2011
4:58 pm

@OHL.: we do have tv’s and cable. apparently you don’t have local websites. let ThrasherFan grieve in peace.

PoweRForgeD

May 25th, 2011
5:00 pm

uuGGH, Attendance numbers mean nothing in ATL, now many of those tickets were given away to try and put buts into seats. 13k avg you say, why is half that building emptyevery night. Reported numbers are a complete farce

ThrashersGal

May 25th, 2011
5:03 pm

@OHL go back to canada and get your own team. Stop trying to steal our team.

ATLfan

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

@PoweRForgeD – it’s because your eye balls were half frozen in manitoba

clark kent

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

Hey CViv, how about some information on the complete and utter disinterest by the city in keeping the franchise here and everything that comes with it (you know; jobs, money, tourism)? Or would that actually require investigative reporting and not a story handed to you by someone else?

BIG BUFF

May 25th, 2011
5:11 pm

MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY PUCK LIKE A PORN STAR.

glovesave29

May 25th, 2011
5:12 pm

OHL – Philips arena is a strange layout. One side of the arena is inaccessable unless you have a ticket to the suite / club level side. The first few years, if you had a suite – it also came with 2 club seats. Most of the time the fans stayed in the suite and the club level seating in the lower bowl went unused. Many people liked to be able to move back and forth between the suite and the club seats…but since you needed you suite ticket to get on to the elevator – you kept both tickets on you. That’s why it could never be COMPLETELY full.

sobaka

May 25th, 2011
5:14 pm

Some observations: OHL fan likes to think support in Atlanta was bad; it was, because the product is putrid. But the current Columbus support isn’t going to keep the Blue Jackets in central Ohio, lest you gloat. The ThrasherFan points to the 2004-2005 lock-out as one of the reasons for the downfall of the franchise. It is in fact the main reason why hockey interest has plummeted in so many of the newer American markets, e.g., Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, and Miami. As the commissioner knew when the last round of expansion franchises were granted in 1997, the sport would have to be “grown” in these new markets. Canadians took that as a direct threat to “their sport” being over-run by neophytes with only a tepid interest in the sport. While Canada went into withdrawal during the 2004-2005 lockout, the new-found American followers of the sport were infuriated by the audacity of the sport to shut down just after it had taken root in these markets. Americans had other sports options besides hockey, Canadians didn’t or won’t, as can be seen by the flight of the Grizzlies and Expos, and the plunging attendance of the Blue Jays.

Americans’ turn-off became the opportunity for Canadians to lay claim to control of ice hockey again, and their media have incessantly ridiculed attempts to grow hockey in the Sunbelt, despite its current success in Carolina, Nashville, and San Jose, and its past success in Dallas and Denver. Without a doubt, had those cities had a hockey team with the performance record of the Thrashers, they would be in the position that Atlanta is in now. And I doubt that any Canadian city, save Toronto or Montreal, would have supported such a franchise. Furthermore, no one is going to emotionally invest in a sport that has a track record of threatening to pull out of town in a few years because attendance isn’t good enough. Baseball, football, and basketball paid their dues to get the support that they get in America; however, the NHL believes that by merely throwing a product with the NHL label on it, fans should flock in droves. It works in Toronto, why not elsewhere is the thinking.

The Thrashers situation resembles the North Stars situation in 1993 in the Twin Cities, and that of the Browns and Oilers in Cleveland and Houston in 1995, respectively. The NHL knows that soon the fans will crave the sport again, and this time the city and its fans will come to the league offering an awful lot more than they are now. Knowing human nature, the fans eventually will do what it takes to get the sport back in town. Just look at the following and support of the Wild in the Twin Cities, and the new Browns and Texans in Cleveland and Houston, respectively. Everybody knows that the atmosphere regarding hockey support is too poisonous in Atlanta right now to let a team stay there. Time heals wounds and attitudes will change. While the prospect of losing the Thrashers is very painful now, realize that this isn’t death; the league will come back again, as it clearly needs to show that it can survive in a market as prominent as Atlanta.

NHL Ready

May 25th, 2011
5:16 pm

Well said Thrasherfan I echo your words. I hate to lose the team the NHL turned their back on us as well as the City of Atlanta.

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 25th, 2011
5:20 pm

@BIG BUFF: it’s amazing what the corporations and Mayor believe is worth saving. 20-year-old movies in the park trump a pro hockey team, thousands of jobs, and boatloads of tax revenue?

Wow, just wow!

Atlanta Shortsighted $ Grab, LLC

May 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

Check the 11Alive website for more information on how we screwed you out of a hockey team by totally ignoring Anson Carter’s $350M bid.

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

“Had it not been for Atlanta’s strong corporate and philanthropic and civic partners, we would not be here to make this announcement today,” Mayor Kasim Reed said.

Too bad he’s not referring to the Thrashers.

sobaka

May 25th, 2011
5:24 pm

Why is it that Canadians feel some compelled to justify excuses as to why hockey failed in Winnipeg and Quebec City, while totally discrediting the reasons provided for the failure of the Thrashers to gain an adequate following? Would you Canadians have supported a franchise as inept as the Thrashers? Oh wait, you do, it’s called the Maple Loafs. Next time Canadian carpetbaggers come south of the 49th parallel trying to market the ice game, please see to it that you do so honestly. We have standards, which might sound strange to you.

I see where the Canadian media is bashing us in Columbus for not backing the Blue Jackets; excuse me, but why should we, when the coach states after every loss (and that is often) that the team “is not competing” ? We are not fair-weather fans, but we are discriminating consumers. Boy won’t the NHL be great with franchises in Churchill, Yellowknife, Red Dear, Saskatoon, and Flinn Flon? I can just see the marquee on Madison Square Garden announcing the arrival of those “must see” teams coming to play the Rangers. Almost as compelling as the Red Sox-Yankees or the Patriots-Jets.

I.C. Wiener

May 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

LOL @ Denver being in the Sun Belt!!

Thrashers27

May 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

Mr. Vivlamore,

Who are your “sources”? I hate to bust your chops, but that’s journalism 101, man. Not good form to state facts without substantiating them. Any of us faithful fans following the situation could go on all day about what “sources” say without even trying to dig for info on the situation. If you have no new info, then you have no new info. Feel confident in saying that and keep digging and waiting for something new.

If you can’t substantiate, you gotta hold that info until you can confirm, otherwise you’re just part of the rumour mill.

Steve-o

May 25th, 2011
5:37 pm

LOL @ Denver being in the Sun Belt!!
——————–
Well, Sobaka made some excellent points, even if that description doesn’t fit Denver. Anyway, Denver is very sunny & warm in the summer!

I would disagree, though, about the NHL coming back to Atlanta some day. Ain’t gonna happen after two failed franchises. It’s a shame that City Hall provided no support and made no attempt to keep the Thrashers here — because once the Thrashers are gone, I believe the NHL is done for good in Atlanta. It’s also a shame that the AJC has been so passive in its coverage. This paper should have taken the city to task for its apathetic response to this situation. There should have been front page articles, etc.

ThrasherFan

May 25th, 2011
5:39 pm

Trista,

I take your point to heart but I also believe in personal accountability. Heatedly chose to drive his car, as he was at the wheel, in the manner he did. What happened past that point is on him. His actions led to the death of a person, therefore, he did kill him. Of course he would take it back if he could, my point was more about a turning point in the franchise.

I'm surrounded by idiots

May 25th, 2011
5:41 pm

Basically ThrasherFan hit the nail on the head. Poor drafts, cheap and bad owners, poor GM. Poor choices on players that either didn’t reach potential or bolted for more money or a “fresh start”.

I will never go to the Hawks games as long as the ASG are the owners. They don’t deserve my time or my money. Hockey died in Atlanta because of many factors. Good night Canada….

Nile Uno

May 25th, 2011
5:50 pm

There got to be better ways to punish the ASG without hurting the Hawks, besides we Hawks fans have to keep dealing with their stupidity on all fronts and that not fair.

Big Daddy Dave

May 25th, 2011
5:51 pm

One thing regarding ThrashersFan’s assessment. Savard was not “shipped off”. He became a UFA and the Wad didn’t think he was worth the cash so he let him walk.

sobaka

May 25th, 2011
5:57 pm

Steve-o: I think that most owners are well aware as to what went on with the Thrashers, and if a responsible owner comes up with the cash to buy a new franchise in Atlanta, it will happen. The money will make them forget the failures in Atlanta, just as it did in Minnesota. Also, keep in mind that the current major league baseball team in Washington, DC is its third.

Actually, because of the incredibly bogus circumstances surrounding the reloaction of the Thrashers, I believe fans of the sport will rally together and show enough support for a new owner to put down the money. Strangely enough, this issue seems to have generated a lot of interest in pro hockey in Atlanta. The city and its fans have been constantly berated, and I think that they will bounce back to show that they can come through and support the NHL, given the chance to do so, which they clearly weren’t with this group of owners. I was raised in Cleveland, and having seen what Art Modell did to the Browns and Ted Stepien did to the Cavaliers, I tend to agree that in most cases bad management is to blame for franchise failure.

The lack of ownership interest in Atlanta is not due solely to the poor attendance; the deal to sell the Thrashers to a local group was skewed so that they would get no arena revenue. That was the poison pill, as even under the best circumstances, the team could not have made a profit.

BTW, why is it that owners of the Thrashers and Coyotes claim to lose $30 million annually, when they have such incredibly low pay-rolls, and use that as an excuse for selling to owners that will relocate teams, while owners of the Blue Jays and Mets claim to lose $70 million annually, and no threat of relocation is involved? As the famous politician said, “there are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

Big Wally

May 25th, 2011
5:57 pm

OHL is just a tool who wants to come on here and rub our faces in it. When he is not on this board he goes to Children hospitals to make fun of kids with cancer.

OHL

May 25th, 2011
6:03 pm

glovesave29,

Thanks for the explanation. But that still doesn’t quite make sense. I could see how not wanting to go back & forth would make the arena look empty, but the seat is still sold and counts in the NHL attendance figures whether the ticket holder sits in it or not, right? So if in year 1 you had 17,206 and people were running back & forth from the suites, yes the arena would look more full. But in year 2 you still had sold all those suites, the arena may look a little emptier but what about all the other fans that didn’t buy tickets at all and thus the drop in attendance to 15,262?

Whether the suite ticket holders were running back & forth only has to do with appearance. Their tickets still count as sold in Year 1 and Year 2. So something else happened that almost 2,000 people stopped showing up and since it was only the first year of the team’s existence I don’t think you can blame it on the GM, players, or Turner Broadcasting who owned the team back then.

OHL

May 25th, 2011
6:11 pm

Big Wally,

I am actually supporting expansion hockey much more today than I would 2 weeks ago. The problem is that the numbers just don’t support any arguments for the Atlanta market. So when I read some things on these boards, I am just pointing out what the truth of the matter is. Unfortunately for you that means that Columbus looks far better than Atlanta. That’s all. You actually do have some good fans down there, but the truth is still the truth.

ThrasherFan

May 25th, 2011
6:16 pm

@glovesave29

You are spot on in regards to the layout of Phillips. Camera side always looks empty and being in the arena itself and looking at that section is terrible.

On free tickets – I’m not joking when I say this, I once got a free ticket through a friend who worked at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Basically they gave a bunch of drunks free tickets and I literally sat with them the entire game. They had no idea what hockey was and were only there because it was their allowed “night out” with supervision. Insane.

@OHL

I don’t know where you are from but in the 99-01 timeframe there was a downturn in the US economy. That could explain why less ST were sold. I had ST at one point and then my wife lost her job and we struggled for years. Should I buy ST anyway and go into debt for an inferior product?

ThrasherFan

May 25th, 2011
6:21 pm

@BigDaddyDave

You are correct, Savard wasn’t “shipped out.” However, they felt he wasn’t worth the money. We know how that story goes with the Thrash. It’s basically the same thing.

Big Wally

May 25th, 2011
6:24 pm

OHL, the fact that you are on here to bash/question/challenge every comment you don’t like proves you are only here to rub Thrasher fans face in it. You must derive some sick, personal gratification in knowing we’re losing our team and you want to get more shots in us. If you want the truth, why don’t you look at some of the player’s comments? Chris Mason said ownership was never committed to winning here. Moose Hedberg who isn’t even with the team anymore said basically the same thing as did Chris Thorburn. I think they know more about the situation here than you do. Court documents verify that ASG was trying to get rid of the team basically from the start of their ownership. What new prospective owner would want to buy the team and keep them here when they would get the shaft in regards to arena revenue at Phillips? ASG has never invested in the team like they have with the Hawks. Is that not the truth?

11 Alive Confirms Carter Offer - ASG Did Nothing

May 25th, 2011
6:30 pm

The media now agrees with with our hypothesis related to Anson Carter’s group. According to 11 Ailve:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=152322681503800&id=188894621145432

“Last year, the Atlanta Spirit Group was approached by a group of investors led by former NHL player Anson Carter (@AnsonCarterLA), the source told 11Alive’s Matt Pearl (@MattPearlWXIA11) on the condition of anonymity. The group led by Carter made a preliminary, non-binding offered to buy the Atlanta Thrashers, The Atlanta Hawks and the rights to Philips Arena from Atlanta Spirit. The group intended to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta and had serious financial backing, Pearl’s source said. That offer was never put through due diligence by the Atlanta Spirit Group, the source told Pearl.”

Sherry Taylor

May 25th, 2011
6:31 pm

Chris Vivamore: Is there any truth to the story that Anson Carter and group had $350 million in hand and made a non-binding preliminary offer that was pretty much ignored in lieu of the TNSE deal? Isn’t this the same type thing that ‘bought’ the teams and arena in the first place? Ignore the rules, do it behind closed doors?

glovesave29

May 25th, 2011
6:31 pm

OHL – I gotta agree with Wally. I don’t know your intentions or reasoning for being here, but you are coming across as condescending and judgemental. You ask questions – and when you don’t get the answer you want, you just rephrase it or use certain parts of our answers our of context to make your point. We are losing our team. We are pissed. Common courtesy says to leave us be and let us vent our spleens.

Sherry Taylor

May 25th, 2011
6:33 pm

BTW, Dan Heatley did NOT kill Dan Snyder. It was an accident! yes, he was stupid, driving too fast with one beer too many, but he did not set out to kill Dan Snyder, so please don’t put that out there. I’m sure Heatley thinks about Dan Snyder every day and wishes he could take it all back. So, don’t be a boar, don’t say stuff like that.

OHL

May 25th, 2011
6:34 pm

ThrasherFan,

What was it the Bush tax cuts that just got renewed? Well when they first got implemented they would’ve sparked the economy right around the time Turner Broadcasting still owned the team and you guys were still just a growing expansion franchise. Instead you didn’t support the team owned by a big Atlanta based Fortune 500 company that was on the upturn.

The truth is (and this is for you Big Wally) you had multiple years of being owned by Turner Broadcasting and you didn’t come out to support your team when it was either in infancy or was starting to bring in young talent like Heatley and Kovalchuk. This is before ASG, before Heatley’s accident, before any of mgt’s moves, before anything you can complain about. You just didn’t support it from the beginning like Columbus did.

OHL

May 25th, 2011
6:37 pm

glovesave29,

It’s not that I don’t like the answers you give me, I just call bull when I see it. Yes, your arena may be shaped differently. But the tickets that are sold to suite owners in BOTH year 1 and year 2 had no impact on the drop in ticket sales between year 1 and year 2. I am sorry that you guys don’t like the fact that I am just providing factual rebuttals. But if you just want to vent, vent. But don’t make up stuff that is factually incorrect when you vent. If you just want to vent that you are losing a team, then fine. But don’t vent by saying “a Fortune 500 company is all we need” when you already had a Fortune 500 company. Is the economy going to be any better now than it was in 1999?

I’m sorry, but if you want to say hockey is great and you will miss it, I will support that. But I will not support some of the other things that are being put out here.