It came out yesterday on Twitter that Anson Carter’s group that is interested in purchasing the Thrashers, Hawks, and Philips Arena had an offer in for $350 million. Considering that the Hawks were valued by Forbes.com for about $295 million (23rd out of 30!), and the Thrashers at $110 million, this seems to be a bit short. Sure, Carter isn’t going to get Philips Arena for free, but by the time the NHL continues to deduct money from the sale price of the Thrash to go along with the relocation fee, the Atlanta Spirit Group might break even. It irritated fans that a serious offer was brushed aside. Carter still seems interested, so with the exclusivity agreement with the former owner of the Padres gone, he might have a chance.
He might also need some extra cash. That’s where we come in. By “we,” I don’t mean Thrashers fans. I mean hockey fans. Last night on Twitter, fellow Thrasher fan @big_momma had the idea that the owners sell shares in the team to make up the shortfall. Admittedly, our fanbase is small, so that might not raise enough cash needed. I got a vote of confidence, though, when some of my fellow Blues fans chimed in with “I’ll take a share!” Friends @KingDonutI, @itsjuststarla, @grantsales, @WhoLeTheDagsOut, @JDAndTurkelton, @meltyourfaceoff, and @DanGNR all hopped in with offers to lend a hand. I realize that a lot of the sympathy coming from them is because I’m a St. Louis fan as well as an Atlanta fan.
But say what of the sympathy of Buffalo Sabres fans @3rdManIn and @hawksgirl924? Or Detroit Red Wings fan @sammyhancock?
The most interesting aspect of all of this isn’t even necessarily the fact that the idea is perfectly fine and dandy according to section 34 of the NHL by-laws (scroll to section 34 – I couldn’t screen grab the PDF). It’s the fact that so many fans of other teams are offering up their money to help some other franchise – in some cases, a Southeast Division rival – stay in the NHL. They realize that it’s bad for the game should the Thrashers leave – and it sets a precident for other teams who might be trapped in a situation with bad ownership or attendance issues.