Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are the Blue Jackets up for sale?

This is not good. Not one bit.  From the blog of Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A New York Times story on sports ownership during the recession references both the Hawks and Thrashers as being among franchises that might be for sale. The paragraph in question reads:

Now that the economy seems to be on the mend, owners who held off selling during the downturn are seeking to unload their teams. According to sports bankers, the teams thought to be for sale include the Atlanta Hawks, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and the Detroit Pistons in the N.B.A; the [Dallas] Stars, the Atlanta Thrashers and potentially the Columbus Blue Jackets in the N.H.L.; and baseball’s Houston Astros.

E-mails this morning to various club officials seeking comment have not been immediately returned.
If it's true - and there's no confirmation yet, we can only hope that this is a posturing move by team officials to get the arena situation behind them.  Hopefully our community leadership appreciates that the Blue Jackets can't sit idly by while operating under one of the worst lease agreements in pro sports.

Get it done, guys...  Save the Arena District!  Save our Blue Jackets!

[UPDATE: I put a message into the Columbus Blue Jackets asking for a confirmation or denial of the rumor.  As soon as I hear anything (if they deign to respond to this lowly blogger), I'll pass the info along.

Also, PuckeyesMom makes a very valid point via Twitter:
@DarkBlueJacket I doubt the #CBJ are for sale, but even if they are, it doesn't equate relocation. Montreal just changed ownership in 2009.
Excellent addition to the conversation. A sale does not mean that the Jackets are pulling a Baltimore Colts and lining the moving trucks up in the middle of the night. It does, however, introduce an element of uncertainty that this team just does not need.]

1 comment:

  1. Several things with this:

    1. NYT writer used "potentially" in front of CBJ, and nowhere else -- strongly suggesting that it is pure speculation.

    2. Absolutely no evidence or indication that CBJ ownership or organization is behind this story, intentionally or otherwise. If they truly wanted to rattle that saber to spur on negotiations, they would do in directly and in the local community, not third hand through a Georgia blogger referencing a NYT passage.

    3. If no arena deal, and if losses continue to mount, and if Nationwide does not provide access to revenue, sure a sale could happen. Priest acknowledged that from the beginning of the arena saga.

    4. With the arena negotiations apparently entering a critical phase, it would be counterproductive for CBJ to even hint at this. If there was any legitimate source behind it, the word "potentially" would not have been used.

    5. Keep in mind that an arena deal could potentially involve transfer of the club to a public/private joint venture or have a new member with deeper pockets enter the ownership group. Those would qualify as "sales".

    Way too many solid business negotiations have been screwed up by unfounded rumors given greater dignity than they deserve in the media. I've been involved in several over the years, and trust me, nothing is more infuriating.

    If I were the CBJ, I would certainly not dignify this with comment, unless and until the volume reaches sufficient amplitude where they have no choice.



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