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 ’sense of urgency’ to find a buyer/investor for the Thrashers in February. The AJC investigated Mr. Carter as a potential investor/buyer months ago. It should also be reiterated that talks between Mr. Carter and the Atlanta Spirit never moved past the preliminary stage. According to several people familiar situation, Mr. Carter’s interest never moved past the level of his group supplying it’s financial ability to complete such a purchase.

149 comments Add your comment

David

May 26th, 2011
1:24 pm

But they’ve been trying to find potential buyers for longer then just when they stated a sense of urgency. I like how we never heard about this potential buyer at the time, though. I would bet that fan support for this buyer would have been large if it had gone public.

J(Z)

May 26th, 2011
1:29 pm

ANSON!!!!! Unwithdraw!!!!!!! Please!!!!!

Hockey Biltong

May 26th, 2011
1:32 pm

ASG will hose Atlanta big time…..

Random Thoughts

May 26th, 2011
1:34 pm

I smell a rat

Random Thoughts

May 26th, 2011
1:40 pm

Who is this rain group?
What is there motivation.?
Are they on Atls side?
What cut do they get with winnepeg buying.
Why would a ny company care about atl?(see time Warner )

flerd_trandle

May 26th, 2011
1:40 pm

“For those who want to question the AJC’s “investigation” of the issue, keep watching the television news.”

A little defensive, C-Viv?

BIG BUFF

May 26th, 2011
1:40 pm

Why would you call yourself Atlanta Sports and Entertainment then not own any Atlanta sports or entertainment?

Adam

May 26th, 2011
1:41 pm

C-Viv, with all due respect, since when are you the arbiter of what is newsworthy? How come we didn’t see any article back then along the lines of “Anson Carter-led group expresses interest in acquiring Hawks, Thrashers, arena”? If you knew that fact back then, why not investigate it and report on it? That’s clearly newsworthy.

Regardless of your decision, there’s never been a clear explanation how ASG could have legally discussed selling any part of their holdings until clear title was established in the Maryland litigation. Why is this fact being ignored in your reporting?

Old Time Hockey

May 26th, 2011
1:57 pm

Adam, you don’t need clear title to talk, only to sign.

B. Thepeg

May 26th, 2011
1:58 pm

Curse those handsome TV reporters and their inquiries that led to someone issuing a press release.

clark kent

May 26th, 2011
1:59 pm

Awww, that’s a good little lapdog.

Let us know if you need any new info to “report” CViv, since you seem to be getting all your ideas from blog comments.

[...] Journal Constitution:  Anson Carter withdrew interest in Spirit in January.  Doesn’t sound like the conversation got very serious between the ASG & Carter’s [...]

ATL Observer

May 26th, 2011
2:03 pm

Who’s the “source” on in the “TV news” story that claimed lack of due diligence? I think the “TV news” needs to confront them with Carter’s statement on the matter.

Either due diligence was never an issue (and thus source was lying) or interest was withdrawn to observation of lack of due diligence.

Either way, SOMEBODY’s flim-flamming someone.

Keep Hockey in Atlanta

May 26th, 2011
2:06 pm

Vivlapeg does seem a bit defensive. I bet he has a nice comfy job waiting for him up in the great white north. Tell Sana and Mrs.Clause we all said hello as you wont be too far from them………./

Whitaker

May 26th, 2011
2:08 pm

Let’s compare for a second the news we here in Atlanta are getting from out local sport writers to the Canadian Press.

Here BLOGS of at least 2 day old news and rumors with NO new FACTS and HUGE omission of facts if it reflect poorly on the Cluster F’ers known as the Atlanta Spirit Group. Being told “well I did not think it was news.” The AJC has been a joke when it comes to covering Hockey, always has and sadly always will be.

Canadian Press – Making/reporting the news. Looking into the impact of the team on the region and other sports (CFL). Sending reporters down here to report what they see and hear (more like what they do not hear).

It is a damn shame that most of us are getting new about OUR team from another country’s newspapers, once we excuse the propaganda that is in them.

There is always 2 sides to every story, and to this Anson Carter Story, the question remains WHY? Why did they withdraw? Should that not have been in this little blog? Oh wait the answer might be a poor reflection on the AJC Saviors known as the ASG. Seriously, are you on their payroll Chris? How much of the $110 million do you get to try to break our spirits?

You want to report sport in Canada? Go, Leave, but know you might have to do some work, not just report 2nd hand news.

Chris Vivlamore

May 26th, 2011
2:10 pm

One more time folks: It has been my policy throughout this process not to name potential investors/buyers until they enter serious negotiations. If I wrote about every person who claimed to have an interest but couldn’t prove it (enter any name you want) or didn’t take the next step it would be ridiculous. When a exclusivity agreement was signed on the Hawks and arena, the AJC told you who it was. It’s that simple.

Adam: It is my job to determine what is newsworthy. That’s why I’m a reporter. I could fill edition after edition with rumor and false reports. Again, I will leave that to others.

Vivlapeg: Time for you to get a new hobby. Bye now.

Buy Chris V a one way ticket to Winnipeg

May 26th, 2011
2:11 pm

And Chris jumps right to the defense of ASG again… seriously, how much are they paying you?

Toni

May 26th, 2011
2:11 pm

Have to agree with Adam here. If you knew the information, why didn’t you report it? We should have known this before now.

It is your job to tell us the news. You’re not supposed to ignore it and go “lol, we knew about this months ago” once someone else digs it up then try to be cute and make digs at them with comments like: “For those who want to question the AJC’s “investigation” of the issue, keep watching the television news.” That’s just juvenile.

Keep Hockey in Atlanta

May 26th, 2011
2:13 pm

Vivlapeg does seem a bit defensive. I bet he has a nice comfy job waiting for him up in the great white north. Tell Santa and Mrs.Clause we all said hello as you wont be too far from them………./

*Fixed, there needs to be a delete option when making comments

Atlanta Shortsighted $ Grab, LLC

May 26th, 2011
2:13 pm

So why was it okay for the New York Post to report that Raine Group, LLC had been hired by ASG back in June of 2010, but it’s no big deal that the AJC failed to mention a group was talking to ASG last year, but now it’s okay for you to tell us that talks never moved past the preliminary stages?? Huh? Shouldn’t we have at least known that something was going on? Instead, most folks brushed off the NY Post and called them liars.

FromThePeg

May 26th, 2011
2:17 pm

1) Hockey is not popular in ATL. 200 people (0.04% of ATL pop) showed up to a save the thrashers rally. 35,000 (4.7%) showed up to a save the Jets rally in 1996. Math makes it pretty obvious.
2) On top of hockey not being popular, hockey ownership articles take it to a greater level of boredom. No one would have read a small blurb about Anson Carter considering purchasing the Thrashers. Especially only at a “preliminary discussion” level.

The fact is this wouldn’t even be an issue if ASG wasn’t losing $150,000 since 2005. Maybe fans should go to the games.

ATL Observer

May 26th, 2011
2:25 pm

@FromThePeg, you don’t live here so you’re in no position to talk about what a local newspaper should or should not be covering.

Let’s say, hypothetically, we have a Starbucks in ATL with five people as franchisees. They decide they’re going to sell their equipment/etc. to another franchisee in Winnipeg. There’s more coffee customers there. Does that make the squabbling between the local franchisees and the potential loss of jobs suddenly NOT local news because Winnipeg has more coffee drinkers? No, it doesn’t.

Hey I just saw a Winnipeg story about the city wanting to get out of the golf business! It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the economics or journalism ethics practiced in the city of Atlanta, but I’ll comment on it anyway, since that’s how I roll!

StickerShoke

May 26th, 2011
2:29 pm

Some of you guys are complete nutjobs. You SPECIFICALLY ask Viv to look into the Carter story, he does, and you rip him. There are articles written 2-3 times a day by this guy, yet you bash him for it. Then, complain that nobody is writting anything!

Here is a suggestion, this comment section seems to allow alot of words, so why don’t you grouchy pricks write an article? Fill in ALL the info you have on what has and hasn’t gone on in the past year+, AND state your sources!!

Just a bunch of bitter, angry (rightfully so) posters attacking anyone and anybody who writes or doesn’t write something they want to hear. Has ANYONE contacted the ASG? Calls? Emails? Canadian media this…Chris Viv that…. Give it a rest.

You ASKED for some “digging”, and it was dug. Now you ask why nothing was said earlier, and it is explained to you why. Gawd, your worse then kids..

Joe Friday

May 26th, 2011
2:32 pm

The question is, why did he withdraw? Carter’s tweet leads one to believe that he withdrew because the Spirit was not bargaining in good faith and no intention of keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, THAT’s a huge story, Chris, no?

BigMomma

May 26th, 2011
2:32 pm

“It should also be reiterated that talks between Mr. Carter and the Atlanta Spirit never moved past the preliminary stage. According to several people familiar situation, Mr. Carter’s interest never moved past the level of his group supplying it’s financial ability to complete such a purchase.”

But WHY did they withdraw? Was there something in the books that made them change their minds? Or was it lack of interest and willingness to deal on the part of AS, LLC? THESE are the questions that I want to know the answers to. I don’t think the owners had any interest in selling to anyone other than True North and that this has been in the works for quite some time. The announcement in Feb. was just their way to try to justify their pre-planned actions to fans, media, and world in general. True North has deep pockets and strong motivations so AS, LLC could milk the deal for as much money as possible. Pretty much everyone else would balk either at the asking price or (more likely) the relocation fee. AS, LLC is not being honest in this. I wish you would get to the bottom of these questions, Chris. Sorry, in my opinion, all we’ve gotten is press releases so far.

Atlanta Shortsighted $ Grab, LLC

May 26th, 2011
2:32 pm

“But WHY did they withdraw? Was there something in the books that made them change their minds? Or was it lack of interest and willingness to deal on the part of AS, LLC?”

Good questions. It’s not like Carter’s group pulled out WITHOUT even furnishing its own financial viability. Who’s to say the offer wasn’t $350M in cash with debt assumed? That offer would seem reasonable, no?

rob

May 26th, 2011
2:33 pm

RIP Atlanta Thrashers…….you will be missed. I hope Bettman and the ASG go to H…..E……DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS!!!!!!
Winnepeg better support this team better than we did, but I am sure with a rich ownership in love with hockey they will BECAUSE THE TEAM WILL BE COMPETITIVE THEN, especially since we gave them a good start with some quality building blocks. Damn I’m mad because the playoffs are just around the corner for this team!!!! All the crappy games I have been to and cheered loudly anyways are for naught, and I won’t even be able to celebrate the good things ahead for them because they will be in Winnepeg! WT..!

BigMomma2

May 26th, 2011
2:35 pm

Blah…..blah….blah……blah…………blah……….waaah!!

PB

May 26th, 2011
2:35 pm

Chris – thanks for this information. I have seen references to Anson Carter’s interest (always picturing Anson Carter the player, but I am sure it is a different guy!), but wondered how it may actually be relevant or whether there is anything possible from him as a franchise saviour. Sounds like it is a longshot at best.

One question about this guy – you say the goal was to acquire all three – Hawks, Thrashers and Arena – as the cornerstone of his business, ASE. If he dropped his pursuit of the Atlanta franchises to go out of town, it seems like that indicates there was a serious reason – a poison pill – behind that. Do you think it was the separation of the Thrashers from the Hawks/Arena deals, or was it more serious than that? I guess I am clinging to hope for him to re-appear on the scene now that the Hawks/Arena are no longer under an exclusive negotiating arrangement and therefore forced to be separate from the Thrashers to an extent.

Second question, just a curiosity for me – Why do you post two tweets with links to the same story? The headline is always slightly different, and the link is too, but the story is the same. I am sure there is a simple reason but I wonder every time – can you solve this one for me? Need to sleep at night…

And lastly, to the posters – can we relax a little bit with the viciousness? I have been getting my news from CViv for a long time, and appreciate it. I understand you all might want different slants on stories or whatever, but it is so tiring to read through the personal attacks to get to actual blog posts that say something intelligent. We are all bummed about the team right now, but let’s ease up on our fellow fans and Thrasher followers. Get a punching bag in your garage or something, but please stop wasting my time skipping your posts with all your conspiracy theories and bitching about the information we receive. Thanks.

Chris

May 26th, 2011
2:39 pm

The only good about the Thrashers leaving is Vivlpeg will most likely go with them. The ajc is on its last leg anyway. If its not ncaa its not worth writing about.

Whitaker

May 26th, 2011
2:40 pm

FromThePeg – the number has been reported anywhere between 200 – 600 people. If you go by how many people were there at one time then the 200 – 300 number is correct, but over all with people coming and going it is closer to 500- 600.

You want to compare the 35,000 that showed up to save the Jets. Great. Now let me see that event had the support of the owners, the team, I believe you even met in the arena, and I beleive the media helped to promote it. Am I close? OK, good. Now here the team doesn’t know if they are coming or going, so they cannot show too much support expect for the few that have. Since the ASG own the arena we could not meet within it, the media here is a joke.

I am sorry my fellow fans but the location sucked, if you were not part of the Nasty Nest or had never tail gated fbefore a game it was very hard to find. This hurt the common fan in their abilty to attend the event.

Maybe we should do another in the Park, a place everyone knows.

Getthepuckouttahere

May 26th, 2011
2:40 pm

From the Peg…As much as I admire your passion to set the record straight, you are telling people here the obvious, but as you see these folks are in such denial that this franchise is out of here and nothing will ever change it that they’ll come up with the most outlandish ideas. My favorite was last night…some dope stated that this could work for both Winnipeg and Atlanta, how you ask? He/she suggested that the team split its season, half here and half in the Peg. I know, you’re rolling on the floor LYAO, so was I last night. Obviously this dope doesn’t know much about the realignment that will undoubtedly take place (it’s only all over the net if you look).

Even now, in the 11th hour with the writing on the wall these people will not just acceept the facts, IT’S ALL OVER AND THE CRYING HAS BEEN NON-STOP. The solution to this happening has long since passed, and as you said and I’ve echoed a hundred times…they wouldn’t be moving if people bought tickets and supported this team, but no, they wanted a Stanley Cup from this 9 year old franchise, what a joke. Lose $20 million in a playoff season then they have the nerve to sit here and blame management, meanwhile the owners are expected to bleed green each year for this group of self absorbed fans who won’t for a minute assume an ounce of responsibility for losing their SECOND FRANCHISE! They don’t deserve a hockey team, and they sure should never be considered to be fans of the game.

Adam

May 26th, 2011
2:44 pm

C-Viv, I did the whole journalist/reporter thing here in Atlanta (with a major outlet) back during the Olympics before going to law school. I know full well what newsworthiness means, and it’s not subjective to the reporter, especially in the internet age where print space is not an issue. For you to compare Anson Carter to any random schlub who expresses some feigned interest in the ASG properties is, to steal from the Commissioner, “interesting.”

Carter is a former NHL player who played for many years, and who clearly had the occasion during his tenure in the league to cultivate contacts and get to know potential investors who might be interested in acquiring an NHL franchise. His interest in Atlanta specifically goes back for several years, and he’s never kept it confidential. He’s been publicly tweeting his interest ever since the creation of his company. If he had done enough legwork to put a group together that had the financial werewithal to make a $350 million opening bid, that’s clearly newsworthy by any objective measure. I cannot believe you would not think so. What’s more, if the bid was dismissed out of hand by ASG, any reporter worth his salt would have been asking more questions to find out exactly why.

ATL Observer

May 26th, 2011
2:45 pm

I should point out that I’m not trying to call out C-Viv specifically. If the AJC did their proper job reporting this, then there’s an anonymous source out there claiming lack of due diligence irresponsibly. At that point, if I were C-Viv, I’d actually be MEANER about this and call that “television network” out on the carpet (rather than just calling them a “television network” :-p).

Chris Vivlamore

May 26th, 2011
2:46 pm

One last thing in the interest of full disclosure. I changed my policy on not naming potential investors/buyers after writing several times about a filmmaker who was interested in buying the team a while back.

Getthepuckouttahere

May 26th, 2011
2:46 pm

@PB…I’ve been reading CViv since I moved here and when ver he’s had an interview with ownership he’s asked popcorn questions and gotten popcorn answers. The only reason I see he’d be so cordial to owners is his fear of losing his press pass. I hope he has no ambitions of going to a northern market, he’d never survive. Ron Borges he’s not.

Getthepuckouttahere

May 26th, 2011
2:46 pm

@PB…I’ve been reading CViv since I moved here and when ver he’s had an interview with ownership he’s asked popcorn questions and gotten popcorn answers. The only reason I see he’d be so cordial to owners is his fear of losing his press pass. I hope he has no ambitions of going to a northern market, he’d never survive. Ron Borges he’s not.

Jason

May 26th, 2011
2:49 pm

I don’t think it’s a reporter’s job to decide what’s news. I think it’s more important that all the information be presented and then the public decide if it’s newsworthy or not.

But then, I’m not a former editor who was demoted.

G52PIM

May 26th, 2011
2:55 pm

So now Atlanta fans want to hang the reporter. He’s just reporting news, not making it up. If you don’t like him reporting the facts that NOBODY wants to own this team and keep it local, don’t read the articles.

Its funny who people are pinning thier hopes on……

Phoenix is pinning thier hopes on someone who will not pay a dime of his own money for the team and want subsidy after subsidy…. and Atlanta is pinning its hopes on a picture of a shoe.

Maybe neither place should have a team?

Chris Vivlamore

May 26th, 2011
2:57 pm

Adam: I can see now why you went on to law school. Perhaps a good choice. Would you like me to write an article on the person who has sent me 50 emails that he has 500 billion dollars and wants to buy the Thrashers? Just because it’s the internet age, doesn’t mean journalistic ethics changes any. I’m sorry, but where in Mr. Carter’s statement did he say he made such a bid. Does that happen in “preliminary” talks? You want to law school, you tell me.I know what he said in his tweet. Perhaps that’s why he is clarifying his statement now.

Jason: Perhaps you would like to see the story from Mr. 500 billion dollars as well?

Buy Chris V a one way ticket to Winnipeg

May 26th, 2011
3:01 pm

Chris – your policy is to name names when Atlanta Spirit tells you to. I doubt you spent any real time doing any real reporting other than what was spoon fed to you by ASG. Instead of doing phone interviews with the Winnipeg radio stations, why don’t you get out of your cubicle at the AJC offices and actually look into something for once.
For instance, several people have asked WHY Anson Carter withdrew his offer… have you picked up the phone and called him to ask? Or is that too much work for you?

Ray Ferraro's Bobble Head Doll

May 26th, 2011
3:04 pm

Why are you guys jumping all over Chris? Anson’s group didn’t have the money. This is all just wishful thinking. There is no savior. If someone made a legit offer, and ASG shot it down for whatever reason, don’t you think that would be a huge deal? It would be like the McDavid thing again. Everybody wanted to know who the Balkan was (because he might be the savior), and now that we know who he is…he doesn’t have the cash.

Reality

May 26th, 2011
3:07 pm

So it looks like we are on Stage 2 of Kübler-Ross model now…. ANGER

Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.

If you are keeping score, there are 5 stages of grief… Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

For those of you who have reached stage 5 now, congrats for moving on with your lives. The rest of you, hurry up and get to stage 5.

glovesave29

May 26th, 2011
3:14 pm

great, just great…amateur psychology now entering the blog…

Everyone progresses at their own rate. I for one have already made my deposit for tickets to the Glads. I want to see them avg. 10K+ next season…and the next….and the next – then we make a jump to the AHL and call them the Flames or the Knights. I have tired of all of this and actually say good riddance to the NHL. But if someone else is at another level – that’s cool…they will get there when good and ready.

Just Wondering

May 26th, 2011
3:16 pm

Chris,
What a lot of us feel is that there are many unresolved questions with Anson Carter removing his bid. If, as you say, you knew about this back then, then tell us why he withdrew. Is it because he saw it was just going to be too much for Carter, or is it that ASG was not interested in selling to anyone other than TNSE (as many of us feel it true – many feel that they have had an Agreement with TNSE for a while, and just postering for a local buyer)?

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 26th, 2011
3:17 pm

I expected the Gulch to be a bad location for the rally, and I suggested Centennial Park instead. I still don’t understand tailgating for any pro sport besides football. Location definitely hurt participation and no bystanders even noticed. If you’re gonna go, go all out!

Keep Hockey in Atlanta

May 26th, 2011
3:19 pm

If I were Carter i’d come back and offer the A$G the $350 million, tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine and to get the H E double hockey sticks out of town.

2mins

May 26th, 2011
3:20 pm

Just Wondering … “many feel that they have had an Agreement with TNSE for a while, and just postering for a local buyer”

While this may end up turning out to be true that ASG was going thru the motions as far as shopping for a local buyer, I can’t believe for one second that the NHL would go along with this and let ASG go thru the motions. I think the NHL has been looking for local ownership as well, BUT, anyone who was going to buy just the Thrashers was going to have to have a lease with ASG… and that is what I feel has killed any deal. Nobody wants to deal with ASG.

Adam

May 26th, 2011
3:20 pm

Wow, C-Viv, way to turn it personal against me (and to miss my point in the process). I never attacked your ethics or you personally. I only questioned where you’ve decided to draw your bright line in distinguishing between credible vs. non-credible interest in ASG’s assets. I think your example of comparing Steven Rollins’s interest to Anson Carter’s (much less that email troll David Robertson) is illustrative. Only one has an NHL pedigree, which is the factor makes it worth reporting.

Since you had to go there, I left reporting solely because it pays for crap, and I aspired to earn a more comfortable lifestyle. It certainly wasn’t because of a lack of talent. The job isn’t that hard, so let’s not kid ourselves.

ThrasherTim

May 26th, 2011
3:23 pm

Chris – I want to thank you for all your coverage of the Thrashers over the last year or two. I understand that the ajc is a journalistic endeavour and not just some blog. Some folks feel you should act like a tmz.com media outlet. I don’t recognize many of these posters’ handles so I know your core following appreciates what you have brought to the table.

The bottom line is that no one has made a legit offer to buy a franchise losing double-digits (at least) millions. Now if a new owner came in and supported the team with more Marketing and players, would attendance blossom? Possibly. But there are no guarantees. Someone would need to plan for millions in losses for years until developing a consistent winner…some kind of tradition for fans to count on.

Don’t pay attention to all the haters. They’re probably teenagers on summer break pounding away at the keyboard.