Jim Balsillie's chances of owning the Phoenix Coyotes continue to fade, as Glendale City Council reaffirmed its backing of the NHL's bid after a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, according to the Arizona Republic.
The Canadian billionaire's offer of $50 million US, minus an NHL relocation fee and operating costs, if an Arizona bankruptcy court allows him to buy the franchise wasn't enough to sway the Glendale council from its position supporting the NHL's bid.
The league has offered $140 million; Balsillie has offered $242.5 million.
Balsillie wants to buy the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton as soon as possible.
The NHL's bid promises to keep the team in Phoenix for one year, in hopes of finding a local owner. If nobody is found, the league will accept bids for owners interested in moving the team.
The council was confident that someone will still step up to the plate and keep the team in Glendale.
"Owners have been found in the past, and I believe owners will be found in the future," deputy city manager Art Lynch told the Republic.
It's not good news for Balsillie, who watched Friday in bankruptcy court as the majority of creditors backed the NHL's bid — including SOF Investments, the lead secured creditor in the case.
Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes tried to make a passionate plea to the council for Balisllie's bid in a public session Tuesday, before the closed-door meeting, but he couldn't get more than a few words in before he was asked to leave.
'Better off without hockey'
Moyes said afterwards that he asked to be added to the public agenda, but staff told him he was not scheduled and could not speak.
"I wish they would have listened to me," he told the paper.
Glendale has said in court that it stands to lose $500 million if the Coyotes leave town, as Jobing.com Arena would be without its main tenant.
But Moyes suggested that scheduling concerts and events would make up for the lost revenue.
"The city of Glendale would be better off without hockey. This team is going to be gone in a year," he said.
Judge Redfield T. Baum, presiding over the bankruptcy case, received formal written bids from the NHL and Balsillie on Tuesday, and is expected to make his ruling in the next two weeks.