We've been speculating for some time, and it looks like it's getting close to official: The new owner of the Dallas Stars will almost certainly be Tom Gaglardi.
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News is reporting this evening that the two remaining interested groups, Chuck Greenberg and Doug Miller, have both dropped out of the running and have opted not to submit bids.
``We will not bid,'' said Greenberg, the Dallas area sports entrepreneur who helped Nolan Ryan and the current Rangers ownership group buy the team in bankruptcy court last summer.
``I'm taking a pass,'' said Miller, the local petroleum executive who has long funded youth hockey and is the owner of the CHL's Allen Americans. [Dallas Morning News]
It was reported earlier in the week that Mark Cuban, Billy Quinn and Christoper T. Charlton had already informed lenders that they would not be making bids either. This leaves only the Stalking Horse bid in Mr. Gaglardi standing alone at the top.
The deadline to submit bids was thought to be either today or Monday (it official fell on Saturday but the court does not operate then). The timeline written in the court documents would, pending an accepted bid, entail another 30 day wait before a proposed auction the Monday of the week of Thanksgiving, November 21st. We thought we'd have something to "be thankful for" that week and rejoice in the certainty of new ownership. Now it appears as though there will be no waiting.
Tom Gaglardi may still have to wait, however. It's unclear if the court will waive the waiting period and proceed to confirming the sale immediately. They could hold to the schedule regardless of the absence of competing bids.
Disappointed but not bidding on Stars. New long term TV deal was key to turnaround plan. Got very close but could not get agreement.
More after the jump...
This moment should be purely jubilant but I would be remiss not to observe the larger picture as painted by the quotes Mr. Heika obtained from the two would be bidders.
Miller told Mike Heika...
"With the attendance what it is and potential lost revenue that the arena shares with the NBA with the (potential) lockout, that's just too big of a hole to dig out of," Miller said. ``We had all sorts of plans to fill the building at reduced prices, sell a ton of concessions and reduce that loss to maybe $10 million, but it's just not possible this year. Our hope was the turnaround might be a year or two, but when you look at where they are right now, it seems much longer than that." [DMN]
That is a pretty grim assessment, if true. They estimate the losses for the team at $30-35 million this season with the attendance the way that it is (7,000~ per game). That is a hefty, hefty, burden for any owner to shoulder, new or otherwise.
Apparently the projected losses for this year and possibly the next few were just too large a deterrent for Miller, owner of the Allen Americans. Greenberg expressed similar concerns, saying they just couldn't see how it would work long term without certain things in place. For him it's a television deal. The Stars current deal with Fox Sports expires at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
``There are three legs to the stool, and that's a passionate fan base, a healthy league, and a secure local media contract,'' Greenberg said. ``With only two legs on the stool right now, that just couldn't work. We needed the long-term security of the media contract to be able to move the team forward.'' [DMN]
If you recall, the Texas Rangers announced a new TV deal with Fox just weeks after the Nolan/Ryan Greenberg group took control of the team, so this is not a new way of looking at things for him that is specific only to the Stars. Television revenue is king in sports right now. Dallas still has a few season to turn things around before they absolutely must negotiate a new deal. That will be an interesting story line moving forward with the Gaglardi ownership era getting underway.
(The timing of the Rangers TV deal could have been purely coincidental for all I know. The guess is merely that it wasn't)
For now these issues, like the attendance, are what they are. It's time to start looking forward to positive change and that begins with Mr. Gaglardi taking full control of the team, coming to Dallas, and making his voice, his plan and his ideas heard. He has been silently waiting in the wings (necessarily so, as he says. No one wants to upset the delicate court situation) for a long time now. Stars fans will be eager to see and hear from him often now that this process will soon be concluded.
It might be another month, or it might be in the coming weeks, but Tom Gaglardi looks like the new owner of the Dallas Stars in all likelihood. Let us all join together in giving him a warm welcome.