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Coyotes Relocation Fee Could Be Up to $195 Million

The Phoenix Coyotes and Jim Balsillie saga continues. Over the weekend two groups, the Barrett Sports Group and Sports Value Consulting, conducted separate studies to determine a potential relocation fee if Balsillie's bid to buy the financially troubled franchise is successful.

The two figures ranged from $101 million to $195 million. This is considerably higher than the figures of $11.2 million and $12.9 million returned by economics professor Andrew Zimbalist in a study conducted for Jim Balsillie. Balsillie's bid of $212.5 million is still the highest bid and is contingent on him being able to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.

The NHL recently put in a bid of $140 million to buy the team and said it will continue to refuse the possible relocation of the franchise because the NHL Board of Governors voted 26-0 against Balsillie's bid to become an NHL owner.

The NHL, in its filing, said that even $195 million would not begin to address the true damages done to the league by such a move.

"No relocation fee or indemnity payment [regardless of the amount] could compensate the NHL" if the court takes away the board of governors' ability to determine who owns a team and where it plays, the NHL said.

The fate of the team could be decided as soon as Thursday when the team will be sold at auction. This however, will not be the end. There are still several legal issues that would need to be resolved. The team still has several years left on it's lease with the city of Glendale in Arena, which was built specifically for the team back in 2003.

The Coyotes are being funded by the NHL during the ownership fight. Balsillie wants to move the team immediately if the purchase is successful but offered in court last week to start the season in Glendale, then move as quickly as possible. NHL officials have ridiculed that idea.

Balsillie also offered to play a season in Glendale if the league splits the losses.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL isn't interested in that idea.

The Phoenix Coyotes open training camp on Saturday with their first preseaon game on September 15th.

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