Jerry Reinsdorf has some company.
A group of Canadian and American businessmen is ready to field an offer for the Phoenix Coyotes next week in another effort to keep the beleaguered franchise in Arizona, according to a report published by The Globe and Mail on Saturday.
"I think we are comfortable with the fact that there's a business opportunity here," Daryl Jones, a manager director at Research Edge LLC in New Haven, Conn., told the paper.
Reinsdorf, who owns Chicago's Bulls and White Sox, has offered $148 million US for the team. The new bid is comparable to Reinsdorf's, Jones said. The new group will formally submit it to the court overseeing the Coyotes' bankruptcy hearing next week.
The team filed for Chapter 11 in May, and the NHL and majority owner Jerry Moyes have since been locked in a court battle for control of the team.
Members of the new investment group met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Thursday to discuss their plans for the bid, Daly told the paper.
If someone wants to bring the NHL to Hamilton, they're going to have to pony up in a big way.
Jerry Moyes, majority owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, suggested that if the league were to start up a franchise in the city, it would want an expansion fee of $225 million to $265 million US.
The number can also act as a benchmark for any relocation fees the franchise would have to pay the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would hypothetically bring the cost of a Hamilton NHL team up to $400 million to $450 million US
The figure was cited in court documents filed by the NHL on Friday.
"[The group] confirmed to me [Friday] that they are prepared to [offer a bid]," he said, and both he and Bettman encouraged the group to put the best possible proposal forward.
Jones, a Canadian who played Ivy League college hockey, said that there are six core investors in the group, but wouldn't say who they were.
He also hinted that the group plans to bring something different to the table when they submit their bid next week.
"We have one very unique idea that we are not going to disclose which is a little out of the box," Jones said.
If it becomes official, the bid from Jones and his investors will be the second formal offer designed to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb.
The first came from Reinsdorf, and that one is contingent on hammering out a new arena lease. The new investment group also wants a new lease on the arena if its offer is accepted.
An auction for bidders who want to keep the team in Arizona is set for Aug. 5, and so far Reinsdorf has the only offer on the table for that date.
If the court deems there are no sufficient bids to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, it will hold another auction on Sept. 5 for parties interested in moving the team.
And that's where Jim Balsillie comes into the picture.
The co-CEO of Research In Motion still sports the highest offer for the franchise, at $212.5 million US; if accepted the Coyotes will be moved to Hamilton, Ont.
His bid will be put forward during the second auction if the first one doesn't yield an acceptable return for the Coyotes' creditors.