Barroway is looking to sell part of the team despite becoming the majority owner of the club in Dec. 2014 and the sole owner in June 2017 after he reportedly bought out the rest of his ownership partners’ 49 per cent share of the team.
Now it would appear Barroway would like to go back to being just a majority owner, controlling only 51 per cent of the organization.
And according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon the reason why Barroway wants do such a deal is obvious.
“It’s a cash grab,” Shannon said on Prime Time Sports Tuesday evening.
The financial woes the Coyotes have faced since the club moved from Winnipeg have been well documented, and despite all evidence saying otherwise, Shannon believes trying to make the Phoenix/Glendale market work for hockey has now become a personal mission of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s.
“Gary is really very much still in the mode of trying to find a way to make it work in Phoenix,” said Shannon.
“I think It’s legacy more than anything. … It’s now part of Gary’s DNA to protect this market with this club.”
Despite Bettman’s best wishes however, Shannon points out that the desire for NHL ownership has increased a great deal more since even five years ago, and that, for Barroway and the Coyotes, there are a lot more possibilities out there for them if they’re looking to sell.
“There was a time when there were no options for this club the Hamilton situation was as close as it would get, but that was a long time ago. There was no appetite for Houston, there was no appetite in Seattle – you needed to find an arena and an owner in Seattle.
“Now, you’ve got an arena that’s being renovated and you’ve got an active owner. So I think there are now options to own a National Hockey League team elsewhere, and I think things may change.”
The Seattle situation is interesting to take note as the city has already formally filed for NHL expansion with the new team facing an expansion fee in the range of $650 million, a price that’s obviously more expensive than the $500 million valuation Barroway has for 49 per cent of Coyotes, but instantly comes with full team control.
The Vegas Golden Knights paid an expansion fee of $500 million to enter the NHL so, according to Shannon, the high valuation Barroway is placing on the minority share he’s trying to sell is more a product of the league justifying the expansion fee for Vegas and the one for Seattle.
“I think the more important thing here is somebody is telling Barroway to put a numerical figure on a club so that it makes every other sale look fine. So it makes the Vegas sale look fine, makes the Seattle deal look fine it justifies the Carolina number and I think the elevated price that this guy wants for this team is a little out of line what it really is worth.”
“Sitting there on Gary’s desk is a yellow legal pad on the right-hand side where he has a list of potential owners all that time. That list is a little longer these days, because there’s an appetite to own clubs, and at the same time there are arenas, so I don’t think this is really going to change things immediately.”