Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Balsillie-Bettman Conspiracy?

1) The linked article is by N.Y. Post's Larry Brooks. In it he basically confirms what we at FAUXRUMORS have suspected about the Balsillie-Bettman situation for some time; Its all bull shit for naive fan consumption. The offer from Mr. BlackBerry for the Preds, like his offer to buy the Penguins last year, was bogus. Merely an attempt to manipulate the fans in Nashville and southern Ontario.

2) The plan worked wonders in Pittsburgh where the state and city quickly upped their previous offer once Balsillie and his billions to buy/move the team came into the fray. Not surprisingly, he withdrew his offer in a way that should have made his intentions apparent. Seemingly out of no where, and for no evident reason, he dropped his offer. Sound familiar?

3) The same/similar actions took place in Nashville. The team was/is losing money,(or so we're told) the current owner Leipold has wanted to sell the team for a while, and is on record criticising the Nashville corporate community for not stepping up. Not soon afterwards we read about the team having an out clause in its lease if they don't have enough tickets sold(14,000) Instantly, like Manna from heaven, Jim Balsillie comes in and makes a ridiculous bid to buy the team. Offering MUCH more than most independent evaluators say the franchise is worth. Not long after Jim makes his bid we hear about a drive to keep the team in Nashville. They sell over a thousand season ticket packages, and local business make a bid to buy the team. Bettman of course supports the local bid even(As Larry Brooks reminds us in his article) though it makes little financial sense. Like clock work, Balsillie withdraws his bid. Covering his tracks with vocal/public out bursts against his partner in crime, Gary Bettman.

4) Now, as they say, the other side of the story. Why would a billionaire like Balsillie play this game for Gary Bettman? The answer is simple, and we have been telling our readers for some time. The fix was/is in! Yes, the NHL made an under the table deal with Balsillie to get one of the two expansion franchises that the league will announce later this or early next year. We're told 2 new franchises will be granted, with the other to be placed in Kansas City, therefore allowing the league to have 16 teams in each conference.

5) By doing the league this favor the Maple Leafs and Sabres will not make legal objections to the new team coming into their sphere of influence (Despite what is fed to the public). There will be indemnity fees paid of course, but no court battles to block the new team from coming to southern Ontario. Stephen Brunt wrote an article linked here for the local Toronto paper. He had the story ALMOST right except he got the 'Toronto to block the move', wrong. There was NEVER going to be a move! The Leafs are fine with an expansion team. They will NOT lose money, as many had surmised, instead it would create another instant rival, like Ottawa and INCREASE revenue.

16 comments:

Joe said...

In keeping with the conspiracy theory here, it must also be noted that Maple Leaf Sports Enterprises was negotiating a deal with Basillie for broadcast rights to Hamilton games to be put on the Leaf's network when the Leaf's weren't playing. Similar to the old arrangement between New Jersey and the MSG network. Shows me that Toronto is not likely to block a team from coming to the Hamilton market.

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Another piece of the puzzle. Thanks for the input, Joe!

Shuck-A-Luck said...

Toronto would not be able to block a team in Hamilton as it is beyond the geographic boundaries that the NHL and its teams have accepted as Team Territory. While many may think Hamilton and Toronto are close, the reality is that they are far enough apart that the NHL could put a team in Hamilton regardless of what the Leafs say. Of course any expansion/relocation does have to get approval from the Owners/board of governors, but the Leafs on their own couldn't stop it unless they rallied support for their position with 2/3 of the owners. Somehow I think the expansion fees being shared with the money hungry owners would be enough to sway the owners to permit the team.

Sometimes things are not all about conspiracy. Perhaps Balsillie was simply acting in a way to put pressure on the NHL to get what he wanted. You seem to give Bettman a lot of credit for these creative schemes when you keep calling him incompetent. If these schemes are true he is a master CEO, but perhaps is just not taking the league where fans wish it to go?

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) As always Shuck we welcome/enjoy your input. Here is the rule as to territorial rights of franchses:
Section 4.2 of the NHL's rules sets out an absolute prohibition over the proposed relocation of existing franchises by declaring that "No member shall transfer its club and franchise to a different city or borough." Section 4.3 also grants each team exclusive control over its "home territory," and each club can prohibit hockey games from being played in its "home territory" without their consent. More importantly, section 4.3 states that "no franchise shall be granted for a home territory within the home territory of a member, without the written consent of such member." In other words, existing hockey teams have the individual right to veto the relocation of other clubs within an 80-kilometre radius of their own market.
2) For the record the distance between Toronto and Hamilton is 70 KM. Well within the Leafs territory!
3) Also the distance from Bufalo to Hamilton is under 80 k.m.

Jibblescribbits said...

I am getting tired of this whole Balisille-Nashville etc story. While I do think the fix is in (btw how dumb is that?) This story is becoming a nuisance.

When can we fire Bettman?

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) We have to agree with ya on BOTH counts Jibble! Sadly, its VERY unlikely we'll see a new commissioner any time soon!
2) To respond to one of Shucks queries that Bettman can't be incompetent AND be behind a scheme such as this. Being incompetent doesn't mean you can't also be nefarious. The two are NOT mutually exclusive!

Sauce said...

Wow. With all due respect, perhaps you guys need to stop patting yourselves on the back just long enough to review what you’ve REALLY been saying.

This is from your 6/20 blog entry…

“If we were fans of the Preds and just saw 2 of our better players 'sold off' for virtually nothing, then I'd see the writing on the wall and not spend another thin dime on the team. Nashville is history folks. Its just a matter of time and where they will end up.”

That sure doesn’t sound like you knew “from the beginning” that the Balsillie offer was a nefarious ruse with Bettman as the willing conspirator. You were clearly under the impression that the Preds were history. In fact, in your response to my comment on that same blog entry, you said the following in criticism of Bettman…

“As an 'advocate for the fans' Bettman should make every effort to make it clear to the fans of the 2 named cities WHO is going to have a team. Right now, no one knows.”

Even a person with less-than-average reading comprehension abilities would read that comment as an indication that you definitely never believed that the end result would be a team in BOTH Nashville AND Hamilton. That would be the only scenario that would even remotely resemble a fix between those two most improbable co-conspirators.

Care to comment?

Antzmarching said...

This material is simply too boring to respond to... Please Faux, give your readers something to ponder other than these "well written," albeit uninteresting rumors... When are you going to get REAL access to Mr. Buttman and get an interview? Now THAT would be good stuff...

Also, how come we haven't had your take on the stupidity of the Staal brothers and their recent arrest? This is a rumor site, make it spicy... All my commentary is said with "all due respect," of course...

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Antz: Sorry. We know how much your eyes glaze over whenever we start to discuss salary cap or other issues that aren't directly hockey related, but heck its the end of July. Nothing else is going on!
2) Sauce: Welcome back. Haven't heard from ya in a bit. yes, as we alluded to in our previous paragraph, not much is going on anyway. As to your query While we agree that we swept along in the prevailing Nashville story line over a month ago, we have since reformulated and as we said in this piece, we have suspected this 'conspiracy' for some time now.
3) Its never about 'patting ourselves on the back,' but trying to get the truth as we hear/see it to our readers. This is a highly fluid and slippery situation so getting one's hands around it can be a little tricky as you have correctly pointed out.
4) BTW, what do ya think of Yashin going to Russia? Think its legit, BS, and/or we'll never see him in the NHL again?

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) BTW, Antz, we're waiting for YOUR next post here. By our account, your last post was May 2nd!

Antzmarching said...

Hey Faux, I am off for the summer and spend considerably less time at my computer... Also, summer hockey discussions typically bore me... I enjoy the game itself, not so much the politics and financial issues... Of course, the "behind the scenes" activity dictates inevitably what goes on on the ice, but I don't prefer talking about it on a daily basis...

knicksgrl0917 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sauce said...

OK. I'll assume that when you said... "The answer is simple, and we have been telling our readers for some time. The fix was/is in!"... you meant simply that you know that "A" fix was in, rather than "THE" specific fix of the Bettman/Balsillie conspiracy.

BTW... you'd have to show me something beyond the ciecumstantial evidence laid out by Larry Brooks before I could ever believe in the improbable alliance between Balsillie and the Comish.

On Yashin... To answer your questions... Yes and Yes.

The contract with Lokomotiv is legit, I believe. And I would assume it's pretty big. I've read reports that the team has already embarked on a huge ad campaign... with big results!

And I think the big, non-contact center will once again play with the big boys in North America... with the same results!!! LOL.

To Antz: "With all due respect", I'm confused. You say that the off-season stuff bores you, but you want to read more about the Staal brothers' drunken bachelor party? Who knows?... maybe the NHL TV contract will get moved from Versus to the E! channel.

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Note to our readers: We allow almost anything with regard to discussion here. Disagree with us. Even use profanity if thats your thing, BUT we will NOT allow SPAM. In the last 2 days we've had to erase 2 posts that were simply commercials for a pay-site. They will NEVER be allowed here!

Shuck-A-Luck said...

The new arena Balsillie is proposing is 72 KM so yes it is within the territory, but Balsillie would be challenging the definition of the Toronto City Limits. The new arena location is over 100 km for the Leafs arena, it only becomes an issue when the Leafs claim the 'Greater Toronto Area' as their city.

The Kitchener-Waterloo site is beyond the 80 km limit regardless of how you define the Leaf's city.

The Leafs would likely prefer a team in Hamilton to Kitchener-Waterloo so that would likely play in their decision as well.

Beyond that Balsillie has the $$$ to make the Leafs want a team in Hamilton too!

Just my thoughts anyways.

FAUXRUMORS said...

1) Yes, Kitchener clearly would be well beyond any other teams' territory, but Hamilton would be within most definitions of that. Buffalo would be, along with TO
2) As we mentioned yesterday, its actually in Toronto's interest to have another team in Hamilton. There are MORE than enough fanatics in Southern Ontario to make it work, AND the instant rivalry thats established will more than make up for any reduction in fans. Its a win-win in our opinion

 
Contact the Media