Judge Rejects Jim Balsillie’s Offer for the Pheonix Coyotes, Reaffirms Single Entity Status in Franchise Location Decisions

Judge Redfield Baum has rejected Jim Balsillie’s offer to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. The NHL was adamantly against Balsillie’s offer because of his desire to abandon the Phoenix market and move the Coyotes up to Hamilton, Ontario. Not only would that put an NHL team in a smaller media market, but it would also move a team within 60 miles, more or less, of two existing NHL franchises, the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Judge Redfield T. Baum rejected outright Balsillie’s offer to purchase the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, which the NHL had vehemently opposed. The judge upheld the league’s right to decide who owns its teams and where they play.

As noted above, it’s not a complete victory for the NHL because its offer was also rejected. But Judge Baum did affirm that the NHL can be treated as a single-entity when it comes to franchise locations. That’s a huge victory for the NHL. I’m not sure the same can be said of the average hockey fan.

Cross-posted at Market Power