It was reported earlier today that Randy Frankel, a minority shareholder for the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays, was considering buying into the Arizona Coyotes. Sportsnet’s John Shannon believed that Frankel could be a potential partner for the ’Yotes current majority owner, Andrew Barroway, as some part of larger shakeup. However, an article released later in the day by Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan reveals that there are much bigger dealings afoot.
Morgan reports that the minority owners in Arizona have extended an offer to Barroway to buy out their shares of the organization. Barroway allegedly has until June 6th to raise the capital for a takeover and become sole owner of the Coyotes or at least leader of a new ownership group. As Shannon noted, Frankel is in the mix as a potential financial backer of the sale, as is his fellow Rays minority shareholder Tim Mullen. Morgan adds that, if Barroway chooses not to take advantage of the option, the minority owners will then be given the opportunity to buy out Barroway’s majority stake. It is also possible that neither sale occurs.
It is no surprise that the Coyotes are an organization in flux, as they have had highly-publicized issues for years with the state of Arizona. After the city of Glendale, their current home, recently terminated the team’s long-term arena lease, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear that the “Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed. The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.” Bettman has been poignant in his remarks about how arena relations have gone for the Coyotes in Arizona, and has reached out to state leadership directly to discuss alternative options. So far, his efforts have been futile. A plan to construct an arena complex with Arizona State University in Tempe fell through, a privately-funded offer to build a new arena on an Indian reservation outside of Scottsdale has failed to gain steam, and most recently the team had been exploring the option of building a new home alongside the MLB’s Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa. As always, there have been continuing rumors about relocation outside of Arizona as well, most of it geared toward a move up the west coast to Portland, Oregon or Seattle, Washington.
One thing is certain: finding a new home would be the core objective of any new majority ownership group for the Coyotes. Their relationship with the city of Glendale is ruined and the team ranks last in the Western Conference in attendance. An organization that is loaded with skilled, young talent has a bright future ahead of them, but can only maximize that success in a new location. This is a story that won’t be going away any time soon.