Bettman wants to make Thrashers’ sale hurt for Spirit

ockey fans celebrate at Portage and Main in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, after a report in The Globe and Mail newspaper that an NHL hockey team might move to Winnipeg, Thursday, May 19, 2011. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and True North Sports and Entertainment denied a deal has been reached to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to True North, which would relocate it to Winnipeg. (AP photo)

Hockey fans in Winnipeg aren't waiting for the official announcement: They were already celebrating the Thrashers' expected arrival on Thursday night. (AP photo)

Somebody who I trust — because he has been telling me that the Thrashers probably are going to wind up moving to Winnipeg for almost two years now — offered something else recently.

While it’s almost certainly too late to stop the train to Manitoba, Gary Bettman’s disdain for Bruce Levenson and the Atlanta Spirit is so great that wants to make it hurt financially for the Spirit.

I know. The last thing you really want to do right now is choose sides between Bettman and Levenson. Can they run into each other head first?

But if you’re looking for one microscopic scintilla of a possibility that the Thrashers’ move gets momentarily derailed, here it is: Bettman may be playing hardball. He not only wants the $60 million relocation fee that the NHL is mandating from True North Sports and Entertainment, he may want a share of the $110 million reportedly going to the Spirit for the purchase price.

Again, the possibility of this financial tug-of-wear stopping the Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg remains a long shot. (The Globe and Mail has reported it’s a done deal, although all parties are denying it.) But it’s worth noting that all franchise purchases — and certainly relocations — must be approved by NHL’s Board of Governors.

In short, Bettman has the hammer here.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has posted a blog outlining the exact thing I just addressed. But he takes it one step further, writing that not only is Bettman seeking a share of the Spirit’s possible $110 million, but Levenson is countering by seeking a share of the NHL’s would-be $60 million.

From Campbell’s blog:

What still has to be determined, according to a source, is how much of that purchase price goes to the Atlanta Spirit, a group that is hardly dealing from a position of strength when it comes to selling the team. …

Apparently, [Levenson] wants a bigger piece of the purchase price and is trying to get a portion of that $60 million from the NHL. It’s believed the league, meanwhile, not only wants the $60 million relocation fee, but a portion of the $110 million purchase price. In fact, there’s a possibility that the Atlanta Spirit might end up with only $80 million to $100 million of the purchase price. It should be noted that the relocation fee for the Thrashers seems to have come out of nowhere. There was no relocation fee when the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, when the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado in 1995, when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996 and when the Hartford Whalers relocated to Raleigh, N.C., in 1997.

And the NHL is completely in the driver’s seat on this one.  … In reality, Levenson is faced with the prospect of taking what the NHL lets the Atlanta Spirit have or absorbing crushing losses for at least one more season.

Thrashers fans: Your best hope is that neither side backs down and this goes on so long that it will be too late to move the team this year. But don’t count on it.

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier: Will Muschamp comes back to Georgia — as a Gator

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend meat Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

249 comments Add your comment

Aaron

May 20th, 2011
10:21 am

Cut their nose to spite their face.

Now not only are we gonna lose the Thrashers, the team that owns the Hawks will suffer financially and hurt the Hawks.

Goodbye Crawford and Smith.

Aaron

May 20th, 2011
10:22 am

Said team, meant group.

Rick Sund

May 20th, 2011
10:24 am

But Winterpeg has so much UPSIDE!!

Atlanta Spirit is the anti-christ

May 20th, 2011
10:27 am

Aaron I hate to tell you this but the Hawks have been held back by these guys already.

B. Thenet

May 20th, 2011
10:29 am

This is all about the NHL trying to recoup money from their Phoenix boondoggle. Gary could care less about “punishing” ASG, he needs hard cash to keep the Board of Governors happy.

It is like having to choose between rooting for Stalin or Hitler for us. Team is going to get murdered either way.

GaVaHokie

May 20th, 2011
10:35 am

Is there no window of opportunity for a Local bidder to step in now and make an offer that see’s ASG profit more than from relocation?

It would seem ASG stands to gain more by just accepting a $110 million offer locally.

What else is new?

May 20th, 2011
10:37 am

Millionaires fight eaech other while the regular folks get screwed.

George P Burdell

May 20th, 2011
10:38 am

If nobody wants the team in Atlanta- it needs to move. If Bettman kills the ASG then it will kill the Hawks and hopefully they will be forced to sell the Hawks- which it looks like is in the works.

The ASG makes the Smith’s (former owner of the Falcons) look like geniuses.

hip czech

May 20th, 2011
10:38 am

Absolutely stinks that the Thrashers are being sacrificed to keep hockey in Phoenix.

What exactly does the word ‘covenant’ mean to you Mr. Bettman?

steven

May 20th, 2011
10:41 am

anyone know where these “Spirit” guys live. Why aren’t they being held accountable for destroying hockey in Atlanta forever. Haven’t heard a peep from them, but I guess thats just par for the course.

steve

May 20th, 2011
10:42 am

Thrash fans, sympathetic Winnipegger here. Losing teams sucks, as we both know all too well. But don’t be mad at us, be mad at Gary Bettman and Glendale city council.

The league’s ridiculous insistence on keeping a team in the desert (and Glendale happily signing the cheque) at any apparent cost has them turning a blind eye towards this purchase…. and likely pushing it, to snake some float/recovery money for the Coyotes in the way of a this unheard of “relocation fee”.

Blondie

May 20th, 2011
10:43 am

Jeff, can you please do what no one else seems to be doing in the media and actually post the attendence numbers averages for the Thrashers and then compare them to “traditional” hockey teams who have gone through ups and downs (i.e. the Blackhawks)? I’ve seen them and none of it supports ASG’s smear campaign about lack of hockey fans in Atlanta. When the Blackhawks sucked – their fans didn’t show up either. It’s true of any NHL team. Then, compare our numbers against Winnipeg’s attendence when they had the Jets… then, tell me that this all isn’t about what I’m calling a $60 million “bounty” on the heads of the Thrashers -to pay back the NHL owners.

Not to mention, there has NEVER been a relocation fee when teams were moved in the past. Not for Phoenix, not for Dallas, nor anyone else.

I’m sick of the lies from ASG and the NHL. Bettman is just as much a scumbag as Levenson. I realize that the NHL is a business – but don’t lie to me and say you care about the fans and are doing everything you can to support them. Just own it -you’re here for money, not integrity of the game.

Hockey Hauler

May 20th, 2011
10:45 am

Where do I apply to have my company haul the junk to Winnepeg? We’re done for…Bettman screwed Atlanta.
BUT HERE’S THE WORST CRIMINAL IN ATLANTA HISTORY — DON WADDELL!!!!
FORGET ALL OF THE AWFUL BRAVES TEAMS IN THE 70′S AND 80′S. FORGET ALL OF RANKIN SMITHS’ STUPID & CHEAP MOVES WITH THE FALCONS. FORGET THAT THE HAWKS COULD NOT SIGN DAVID THOMPSON AND MARVIN WEBSTER IN THE 70′S AND THAT THEY WERE AWFUL….FORGET THAT THE FLAMES HAD THE POTENTIAL TO STAY HERE IF THE OWNER HADN’T WANTED MONEY FOR OTHER PROJECTS…THE FLAMES WERE FOR REAL FROM THE FIRST TIME THEY EVER DROPPED THE PUCK!!!
FORGET EVERYTHING ELSE, EXCEPT: DON WADDELL IS THE WORST EGG SUC%!*# DOG IN THE HISTORY OF ATLANTA SPORTS. HE AND THE THOSE IDIOT ATLANTA STUPID GOOFS WERE HAVE RUINED A SPORT THAT MANY OF US LOVE. WADDELL COULDN’T GET HIS BUTT OUT OF A WET PAPER BAG IF HE HAD A KNIFE TO CUT HIMSELF OUT……..HE HAS BASICALLY FOUND A WAY TO GET HIMSELF OUT OF ATLANTA AND LEAVE HOCKEY FANS IN THE DUST!
IF DEAR OLD THRASH CAN HAVE ONE LAST RIDE ON THE ZAMBONIE — HE SHOULD RUN OVER WADDELL AND LEAVE HIM IN THE DUST.
DONNIE, ENJOY YOUR BONUS/FINDERS FEE FOR COMING THROUGH WITH NEW OWNERSHIP OF THE THRASH/JETS — YOU ARE THE BIGGEST JERK IN THE HISTORY OF ATLANTA SPORTS!!!
THE FIRST THING WINNIPEG WILL DO IS FIRE YOUR SORRY BUTT — THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST THING ASG DID — BUT WE KNOW HOW THAT TURNED OUT, RIGHT?

MY TRUCKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR HAULILNG HOCKEY GEAR…..THEY ARE ALSO AVAILABLE TO LOAD, HAUL, DELIVERY REAL STINKING OLD FASHIONED SOUTHERN CHICKEEN OR BULL “HOCKEY” AND DUMP TRUCK LOADS ON DONNIE WADS YARD IF SOMEONE WILL GIVE ME HIS ADDRESS!!!!!
BYE THRASHERS, I WILL TRULY MISS THIS TEAM!!

Mr Hockey

May 20th, 2011
10:49 am

Without a major TV deal in place,a great deal of a team’s revenue comes from ticket sales. At a 72% occupancy,the Thrashers just don’t cut it. What does Winnipeg offer? Sold out houses for the only game in town. Looks like Atlanta deserves to be 2 time losers.

Dusty Rhodes - The American Dream!

May 20th, 2011
10:50 am

AS the great Dusty Rhodes used to say about Ric Flair, “An Egg Sucking Dog is an Egg Sucking Dog even if he isn’t in the hen house.”
Don Waddell, ASG, Garry Bettman — All of you can go suck an egg!

By the way, What will the teams name be in Winnepeg? Jets? Haven’t they been there and done that before?

pegger

May 20th, 2011
10:52 am

@blondie.
very true, blackhawks attendance did tank when they have poor ownership and only improved with them finally getting TV coverage locally.

as for the Jets, you can’t compare those number from the early 90’s. but they did bring in about 13K a year. the new team in Winnipeg will be soldout for many years.

the issue about relocation fee is also true. it does appear the nhl is paying off their loss in phoenix by this deal.

sorry about having to have the Thrashers move, Atlanta is far more classy in this whole ordeal than Phoenix, but it doesn’t change the bad news. don’t know what to say – we lost them 16 years ago and it was like the heart of the city being ripped out and never healing.

Jeremy

May 20th, 2011
10:52 am

Nothing has ever gone right. Ted Turner loses control of teams in mergers. The team gets absorbed by a group of incompetent owners that viewed them as an afterthought for buying th Hawks/Philips. The face of the franchise gets in a wreck, gets a homocide charge and demands a trade (and gets it). We lose a season and momentum in a lockout. The player he is traded for (Hossa) gets traded. Kovalchuk gets traded. Payrolls gets slashed. Owners keep suing each other and wasting money. Payrolls keep getting slashed. Owners lie in the press about commitment and desire to sell – and we have to learn the truth in court documents. A certain percentage of fans get understandably frustrated and stop coming. Owners, like the scum they are, blame the fans – even though it is completely their own fault.

Still, through all this, there are a lot of people here that care deeply about hockey that deserved a better day to eventually come, and we’re not going to get it. This sucks so bad.

PMC

May 20th, 2011
10:53 am

Could we please have a 3-4 year prolonged lawsuit after the sale that eventually ends up in the worthless scum that is the ASG suing ANOTHER law firm?

It will be a grand day when the wrecking ball gets taken to Phillips Arena.

[...] Journal Constitution:  Bettman wants to make Thrashers’ sale hurt for Spirit.  GB gets to put the screws to Atlanta [...]

Shmoo

May 20th, 2011
10:57 am

As a Winnipegger, if this really is happening, please know the majority of us here feel very bad for you true hockey fans. Ignore the folks who say stupid things, this is not indicative of who we are. Winnipeg will go ape over the return of the NHL, but at the same time understand the difficult situation it must be. We have been there. you can always come and say hi, we love you American types

T.J.

May 20th, 2011
10:57 am

It really is the height of folly and embarrassment that the entire situation has come down to this. Both the NHL and the ASG imbeciles should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for absolutely ruining what should today be one of the prime Southern markets in the league. What a total disgrace.

Rich T

May 20th, 2011
10:58 am

I’m a hardcore Thrashers fan and would love to fight to the death to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. However, there is not a damn thing I can do about it, and it’s inevitable they’re gone. Thus, go ahead and get the hell out of town now and stop dragging this out into a long goodbye.

FASG!

R. Stroz

May 20th, 2011
10:58 am

Schultz – Spill all the beans, including, but limited to, the real reason Kovy wouldn’t re-sign with the Thrashers. The owners and Waddell have known for years that they wanted to jettison (pun intended) the Thrashers despite telling the fanbase otherwise.

Bob McKenzie

May 20th, 2011
10:58 am

Here’s some breaking news… the Thrashers have officially released their new fight song, linked below. Beauty, eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BFPt001PYU&playnext=1&list=PLD84F644DE9D43FFA

Cornbread

May 20th, 2011
10:59 am

Dick Ebersol suddenly resigned yesterday, exactly one month after the NHL’s $2 Billion American TV contract is announced and the day it’s leaked that the NHL is moving from the 8th largest American TV market to a small Canadian town no one has heard of, can locate on a map, or will tune in to watch play. A coincidence or another casualty in this sordid mess? Either way, so much for Versus becoming a major sports network rival to ESPN.

ATL Observer

May 20th, 2011
11:00 am

As an 18-year resident of Atlanta, transplanted from the north, here are some impartial observations about the Thrashers situation. And yes, my sympathies to Thrashers’ fans…it’s never good to lose a team.
1) Harder to fill hockey seats in a town where a large proportion of the long-term hockey fans grew up rooting for their home teams and still want to root for them (Pens, Rangers, Flyers, etc…).
2) Harder to fill hockey seats when the arena is downtown and the vast majority of the fanbase lives 30-60 north in the burbs.
3) Even harder yet to fill hockey seats when there is, in many ways, a more family/budget-friendly hockey option available in the burbs (Gwinnett Gladiators — yes it’s ECHL hockey, but if you’re looking for a family entertainment option and value, this wins hands-down for many people).
4) NHL Center Ice package…this facilitates point #1 above. You can follow your traditional team and don’t have to attend Atlanta games in order to see hockey.
5) On-ice product. 11 years, one post-season appearance, in which they were swept. Hard to generate fanbase (especially of the bandwagon variety) when your teams isn’t winning.

Wienerpeg Trolls

May 20th, 2011
11:01 am

Why do you think anyone would ever click on your stupid link?

Jeff Schultz

May 20th, 2011
11:02 am

Blondie . . . Here are the numbers through the 2009-10 season.

1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
League Average 16,195 16,311 16,359 16,549
Anaheim Mighty Ducks 16,908 15,804 14,461 13,512
Atlanta Thrashers —– —– 17,206 15,263
Boston Bruins 15,098 16,300 16,323 15,433
Buffalo Sabres 15,635 17,982 17,955 17,840
Calgary Flames 16,847 16,202 15,322 16,623
Carolina Hurricanes 9,086 8,188 12,401 13,346
Chicago Blackhawks 18,356 17,330 16,274 14,997
Colorado Avalanche 16,060 16,061 18,010 18,007
Columbus Blue Jackets 17,457
Dallas Stars 16,449 16,893 17,001 17,001
Detroit Red Wings 19,983 19,983 19,983 19,995
Edmonton Oilers 16,245 16,251 15,802 15,612
Florida Panthers 14,696 18,500 15,982 14,679
Los Angeles Kings 13,019 12,794 16,519 15,813
Minnesota Wild —– —— —— 18,328
Montreal Canadiens 20,772 20,741 20,206 20,105
Nashville Predators —– 16,202 16,600 15,824
New Jersey Devils 17,321 16,695 15,206 15,642
New York Islanders 12,025 11,258 9,748 11,332
New York Rangers 18,200 18,200 18,200 18,200
Ottawa Senators 16,751 17,219 17,509 17,793
Philadelphia Flyers 19,519 19,612 19,141 19,576
Phoenix Coyotes 15,405 15,548 14,991 14,224
Pittsburgh Penguins 15,069 14,825 15,444 16,336
St. Louis Blues 18,415 18,247 18,591 19,518
San Jose Sharks 17,101 17,149 17,291 17,468
Tampa Bay Lightning 13,868 11,511 13,600 14,907
Toronto Maple Leafs 15,710 16,765 19,158 19,255
Vancouver Canucks 16,986 15,803 14,642 17,017
Washington Capitals 15,275 17,281 14,480 15,534

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2005-06
League Average 16,486 16,591 16,534 16,955
Anaheim Mighty Ducks 11,646 13,988 14,988 15,106
Atlanta Thrashers 13,368 13,476 15,121 15,550
Boston Bruins 15,404 15,029 15,133 16,211
Buffalo Sabres 16,765 13,776 15,290 16,910
Calgary Flames 15,719 16,239 16,580 19,289
Carolina Hurricanes 15,052 15,682 12,086 15,596
Chicago Blackhawks 15,569 14,795 13,253 13,318
Colorado Avalanche 18,007 18,007 18,007 18,007
Columbus Blue Jackets 18,136 17,744 17,369 16,796
Dallas Stars 18,527 18,532 18,355 17,829
Detroit Red Wings 20,058 20,058 20,065 20,079
Edmonton Oilers 16,593 16,658 17,678 16,832
Florida Panthers 16,084 15,428 15,936 16,014
Los Angeles Kings 16,314 17,570 17,883 17,840
Minnesota Wild 18,015 18,501 18,531 18,575
Montreal Canadiens 18,990 20,673 20,555 21,273
Nashville Predators 14,789 13,228 13,168 14,428
New Jersey Devils 15,926 14,859 15,060 14,230
New York Islanders 14,549 14,931 13,456 12,609
New York Rangers 18,039 18,148 18,081 18,142
Ottawa Senators 16,919 17,198 17,759 19,474
Philadelphia Flyers 19,569 19,325 19,375 19,653
Phoenix Coyotes 13,161 13,229 15,469 15,582
Pittsburgh Penguins 14,895 14,749 11,877 15,804
St. Louis Blues 18,485 18,570 18,560 14,213
San Jose Sharks 16,994 17,351 15,836 16,831
Tampa Bay Lightning 15,366 16,545 17,820 20,509
Toronto Maple Leafs 18,338 19,240 19,377 19,408
Vancouver Canucks 17,713 18,396 18,631 18,630
Washington Capitals 16,493 15,787 14,720 13,905

2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
League Average 16,486 17,309 17,475 17.072
Anaheim Ducks 16,363 17,193 16,990 15,168
Atlanta Thrashers 16,229 15,824 14,626 13,607
Boston Bruins 14,764 15,384 17,039 17,388
Buffalo Sabres 18,690 19,950 18,531 18,529
Calgary Flames 19,289 19,289 19,289 19,289
Carolina Hurricanes 17,386 16,663 16,572 15,240
Chicago Blackhawks 12,727 16,814 22,247 21,356
Colorado Avalanche 17,612 16,842 15,429 13,947
Columbus Blue Jackets 16,401 14,823 15,543 15,416
Dallas Stars 17,914 18,038 17,680 17,215
Detroit Red Wings 20,066 18,912 19,865 19,546
Edmonton Oilers 16,839 16,828 16,839 16,839
Florida Panthers 15,370 15,436 15,621 15,146
Los Angeles Kings 16,859 16,606 16,488 17,313
Minnesota Wild 18,470 18,568 18,568 18,415
Montreal Canadiens 21,273 21,273 21,273 21,273
Nashville Predators 15,259 14,910 15,010 14,979
New Jersey Devils 14,176 15,564 15,790 15,546
New York Islanders 12,886 13,640 13,773 12,735
New York Rangers 18,200 18,200 18,172 18,076
Ottawa Senators 19,372 19,821 18,949 18,269
Philadelphia Flyers 19,282 19,556 19,545 19,535
Phoenix Coyotes 14,988 14,820 14,875 11,989
Pittsburgh Penguins 16,424 17,076 16,975 17,078
St. Louis Blues 12,520 17,610 18,554 18,883
San Jose Sharks 17,422 17,411 17,488 17,558
Tampa Bay Lightning 19,876 18,692 16,497 15,497
Toronto Maple Leafs 19,487 19,434 19,312 19,260
Vancouver Canucks 18,630 18,630 18,630 18,810
Washington Capitals 13,929 15,472 18,097 18,277

Ugh

May 20th, 2011
11:04 am

Cornbread. maybe you have never heard of us and cant find Winnipeg on a map, but beleive me, we exist, we are on the map and many people have heard of us. Maybe you should get a bit educated before generalizing on a place you admittedly know nothing of.

A New ATlanta Dream!!

May 20th, 2011
11:04 am

Do Unto Others What Others have done unto US/ATL!!

Let’s start courting the owners of the Hurricanes and see if they will move to ATLanta!!! They play in a pitiful part of the world — maybe their owners would like to come to ATlanta and bring a real contender to town where they could play hockey…….

ZZZZZZZZZZ……

Five years down the road the next hockey team in Atlanta? I’m just asking ——- AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH another nightmare!!!!

Oh, if WE don’t start supporting the ATlanta Dream, they will be the next ones to go….but does anyone really care about them? Seriously?

T.J.

May 20th, 2011
11:05 am

What a difference a deep ‘07 playoff run would’ve made…

Jeff Schultz

May 20th, 2011
11:05 am

R.Stroz — I wrote it at the time Kovalchuk negotiations were going on. He wanted a guarantee franchise was staying in Atlanta and couldn’t get it. That was a major factor many overlooked because it was easier to latch onto the “He’s just a selfish, money-grubbing athlete” theory.
Here’s a link to my column from Dec. 30, 2009 — which, by the way, Bruce Levenson went LIVID over. Not shocking.

http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2009/12/30/thrashers-uncertain-future-playing-a-role-in-kovalchuk-talks/

b

May 20th, 2011
11:05 am

2mins

May 20th, 2011
11:07 am

So why is Atlanta losing thier hockey team? So Phoenix can keep thiers…. bottom line.

$60M will go a long way to covering losses in Phoenix that the $25M the CoG is paying, doesn’t.

EA

May 20th, 2011
11:07 am

Stroz, we really did bash Kovy, but he knew all along this was coming. I heard he made comments off the record about not wanting to wake up a year later and find out he was moving to another place. I am fairly sure he said Winnipeg, but I don’t want to say for sure in case the Winnipeg fans get offended. They are a sensitive bunch. He remained silent for his own reasons. JS may know for sure if he made those comments. It doesn’t matter now. He saw the writing on the wall.
I have to say that it does give me comfort knowing that this is not going to be so easy for the ASG guys. I am upset that the NHL ever let this group own a franschise. We are all paying the price.

Jeff Schultz

May 20th, 2011
11:09 am

Sorry folks .. I fixed the link to Ken Campbell’s blog in The Hockey News.

PMC

May 20th, 2011
11:10 am

It’s not the attendance, It’s not the fans. It’s not anything the Atlanta market can control.

The people that own the team simply never wanted a hockey team. It came as a package deal. They have run this franchise like they wanted to sell it forever. The problem of course is that they own the building. So no one is going to buy into a team in a non traditional hockey market and be screwed by the lease too.

The Thrashers have been doomed since these guys bought the lot from Turner. It’s not about losses either. Every pro team has operating expenses. A very few teams make a profit in given years most of those teams have history. The Thrashers actually have operated in the black…. before the Spirit got here. They have done nothing but lie or be disingenous or fail to provide answers to all the questions.

Unless this team was unbelievably good inspite of the owners they were never going to stay here after the Spirit purchased the team. The lawsuit with Belkin is the only thing that kept them here this long.

Those outright lies about the Kovalchuck deal are basically confirmed by all of this.

The sooner these bastards go the way of Bobby Petrino the sooner we can begin cleansing the city of the stench of the spirit.

These guys might as well be the Ferrari that Heatley crashed in Buckhead.

jarvis

May 20th, 2011
11:13 am

I love the Manitoba Skorts.

jarvis

May 20th, 2011
11:14 am

Damn auto-correct….that’s JORTS.

hip czech

May 20th, 2011
11:17 am

Gee…look at all those 13,000 averages for ‘traditional market’ teams when they have a lousy product. Buffalo, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, LA, NYI (11,000!), St. Lous (12,520!) etc. etc.

One Year Down the Road

May 20th, 2011
11:18 am

In one year how many of us will really care that the Thrashers have left? Will we still be crying in our beer?
In one year will the Phoenix team still be stuck with 11,000 people at their games?
In one year will Gary Bettman be looking for a “new” city for the Coyotes to be relocating to?
Wouldn’t the people of Winnepeg rather have their ORIGINAL franchise team back with the roots, albeit since 1996 that they left, than a team that has NO history except losing and Don Waddell?

In one year…where will Phoenix be relocated? My guess, Hartford – will the Whalers be reborn, via Winnepeg, via Phoenix….whata headache!

One last thing, the NFL has gotten by quite nicely without Los Angeles having a team…the NHL will get by without the NUMBER 8 MARKET for TV…just ask Bettman as he looks in his wallet for extra bribe money!

Samurai

May 20th, 2011
11:18 am

How about a class action lawsuit for all season ticket holders that have already paid for tickets next year?!? Get some the the purchase money for interest on the seat payments? raise the price of the sale.

Responsible Journalist

May 20th, 2011
11:19 am

Mr. Schultz, very true about Kovalchuk and one of the factors as to ‘why’ elected to leave, was Byfuglien in the dark about a franchise move before signing long term, or was he oblivious or simply in favor of frozen tundra as opposed to hot-lanta?

Disgusted

May 20th, 2011
11:20 am

I am about fed up with all professional sports at this point. The NHL is just becoming a disgrace, and has been ever since the lockout. F all the owners. Do what Green Bay did and go public and let the fans own the team. There can be majority owners or controlling shareholders or whatever, but at least we’d all get a say in what happens to our teams before they get whisked away to another city and we have to watch &%(^$$*^%&*^$ millionaires bicker over what is probably chump change to them while they are robbing fans of their entertainment. Seriously, what a bunch of jerks. With all the bad things that happen to good people in this world, when oh when will it finally be their turn? F Bettman, F the ASG, F all those money-grubbing childish brats ruining the sport that they claim to love and support. F you, dudes. F you.

Tom Lysiak

May 20th, 2011
11:20 am

Well, you knew something else was going on with these “negotiations” that had been reported. The package price of $170 million, $110 million for the team and $60 million relocation fee to the league, was made public weeks ago. What the hell was there to negotiate over since that is precisely the terms announced last night?

Mr. The Sky Is Falling

May 20th, 2011
11:20 am

Jeff, great work. Please continue to skewer the SOB Group (otherwise known as the ASG). I hope these clowns never have a chance in dabbling in any type of sports management ever in Atlanta, again.

Brent

May 20th, 2011
11:21 am

If only Bettman resented Atlanta Spirit as much as the hockey fans in Atlanta do. I hope they both gut each other. And how about the Canadian fans stop dancing on our graves and show a little class? Everyone know that a Canadian isn’t anything more than an American who thinks he’s a European. Get bent, eh?

AGTFan53

May 20th, 2011
11:22 am

No love for ASG, but I think I’m done with the the NHL forever.

Let NONE in

May 20th, 2011
11:22 am

Here is what Levinson needs to do: Say “DEAL WITH IT…let the desperate Canadians pay for additional fees imposed on the deal. They are dumb enough to do it. I want $150M for this first rate franchise. DEAL WITH IT CANADIANS. That’s how I negotiate. SO SUE ME, JERKS”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EA

May 20th, 2011
11:23 am

As much as I liked Bradley’s article about the Atlanta fans, I have to ask why would it be o.k. to let these guys run our basketball team?