Ken Campbell of THN.com writes an interesting, lengthy blog today detailing the current financial situation of the Dallas Stars and opines that the process is starting to resemble that of the Phoenix Coyotes.
This is the same Ken Campbell of THN.com that erroneously reported on July 16th that the sale of the Dallas Stars to Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher was very nearly completed and started some premature (cautious) celebration on our part until it was debunked by media that we...ahem...trust locally.
So take it with a grain of salt.
The first interesting thing you will see is that the league supposedly fronted the Stars $8 million in revenue sharing and television money to help them "pay the bills." There is no mention of when this happened or what prompted it. It's entirely possible that our current understanding (that the team has enough money to operate normally this season) already included this $8 million and that it was fronted to the team long before the season began. In that case the details of the puzzle become a little clearer but the big picture isn't changing.
(We've heard this about the Stars asking for monies to be received later "up front" and that claim was denied. Either way it doesn't sound like a huge deal.)
This THN blog (and one other) cite Saturday night's game against the Blues as an example of spiraling attendance without mentioning that 50,000 DFW citizens went to the Rangers home playoff game instead (or were watching it at home on their televisions). Let's see how this upcoming six game home stand goes before judging too harshly, shall we?
There are a few interesting tid-bits here and there mentioned. Much discussion after the jump...
Says Mr. Campbell:
And since there is essentially no owner – aside from the Monarch Investment Group and Galatioto Sports Partners, the two groups charged with ushering the sale of the Stars – the franchise has had to have its budget approved by the league and must receive league approval for all transactions.
Perhaps I am behind on the times but this is the first time I have seen someone outright say that the league must approve all transactions for the Dallas Stars. Just the other night I was listening to Dan McDowell on the Stars post-game show say in passing that "the league is running the team" and I thought "No they're not." You could make the argument that the money received up front was money they were going to get eventually anyway, so the league is not subsidizing the team, but if they're insisting on approval for all transactions then that certainly puts things in a different light.
Even so, that doesn't change anything. The team is operating with a $45 million payroll. The payroll checks are going to get written. The Stars are going to figure out their penalty killing problems and you can watch the games on TV and talk about them here at DefendingBigD. The sale will continue to drag on while the lenders can still afford to run the franchise and we will wait patiently for someone to come save this thing.
Similarities to the Coyotes sale? Maybe, but it's not that bad yet. The only similarity to the Coyotes we want to talk about is the possibility of making the playoffs while this is all going on like they did last year. We like that one.
He does go on to make a good point...
When Gallacher was in the running for the team, sources told THN.com the final price would have been about $225 million and that price tag continues to be moving downward, perhaps as low as south of $200 million. The NHL has a vested interest in keeping franchise values high, which is why the initial asking price of the Stars was more than $300 million, but there is a built-in problem with that kind of thinking.
When prices of franchises are artificially inflated, as they were with the Stars, it tends to turn off the good potential owners, simply because good businessmen don’t overpay for anything. Bad businessmen do – and the league need to look no further than the Len Barrie/Oren Koules debacle in Tampa Bay for proof of that.
The people in charge of the sale don't care about the quality of ownership and business savvy coming in. They only care about the almighty dollar, and why shouldn't they? They're businessmen. It's what they do. I don't begrudge them that.
It's just unfortunate that the fans and the players (and long term fate and direction of an entire franchise) get caught in the middle, because he's right: If they do find someone to way overpay for this thing, chances are they're not going to be the sharpest pencil in the box.
Letting Gallacher buy it for what appears to be a more appropriate "value" would have better for we, the fans, in the long run it would seem.
I am going to go back to concerning myself with the special teams faceoff percentage and bringing the shot total down now.