The Kansas City Star is reporting that New York Islanders owner Charles Wang is considering a possible relocation of the franchise to Kansas City. KC, as you may recall, has built the new Sprint Center, but as of yet does not have an anchor tenant. The Islanders owner has proposed a new development called the Lighthouse Project in Nassau County, home of the Islanders franchise, that will include a new arena, a luxury hotel, and a minor league ballpark among other amenities. The proposal hinges on Nassau County and Hempstead Township agreeing to a lease on 150 acres on Long Island to Wang and the Islanders, which I am certain will have favorable terms for the team. The Islanders currently play in aging Nassau Coliseum and have a lease through 2015, however, there is an out clause should the local authorities fail to make significant upgrades to the coliseum or provide an acceptable alternative to the team. According to Wang, "I'm not contemplating it, I'm not negotiating with anyone, but I am keeping my options open- and they should be open all the time."
In Phoenix, TV station KNPX is reporting that the City of Glendale is foregoing $4MM per year in rent from the cash strapped Coyotes and making other concessions that total approximately $15MM. Owner Jerry Moyes is currently negotiating the sale of the franchise with up to three potential buyers, all from outside the Phoenix area. It is rumored that the NHL is also assisting the Coyotes with the payment of operating expenses. One might guess that a new owner from outside the Phoenix area would be contemplating relocation of the franchise as a condition of the purchase. Details will no doubt emerge in the coming weeks.
These developments point out the value of the diverse ownership group in Nashville and the favorable lease that the hockey club has at the Sommet Center, not to mention the broad based corporate support that that club has gathered form the local business community. The addition of Brett Wilson as a new member of the ownership group adds sound financial backing to a solid local group. We all know what it was like to have a carpetbagger attempt to take our franchise. We now know what it is like to have a quality group of owners and a franchise on solid ground.