Kansas City or Hamilton, Ontario are possible suitors for the team that just keeps losing money. Ownership members have dropped $60 million of their own cash into the team over the past five years, while the city of Nashville has dumped $38.6 million itself. If it weren’t for a few NHL rules and last second deals, the Predators would already be out of Tennessee and into a city that actually wants a hockey team.
Another bankrupt NHL team that has been hanging on by a thread, the Coyotes won’t be staying in Arizona forever. Even though the city wants to support the team and re-work a deal, prospective owner Greg Jamison is about to take over the team; and he’s a smart guy. He knows that hockey just can’t cut it in the desert. The team was dead last in season attendance in 2012, only averaging 12,420 fans per game. Expect a jump to Canada, or a different U.S. city craving pro hockey, like Seattle or Hartford.
Vancouver didn’t work out too well for the Grizz, and unfortunately Memphis hasn’t been much better. Last season the club ranked third worst in attendance, even after being a competitive playoff contender. A $100 million leash…woops, I mean lease, is the only thing keeping the team in town.
Tampa Bay Rays
Owner Stuart Sternberg told the Tampa Tribune this summer, “I know we can’t sustain ourselves like this. It hasn’t gotten better. If anything, it’s worse. To run a payroll like we do now, basically the second-lowest in baseball, and barely keep our nose above water, we can’t sustain that.”
Not promising words. And he’s right. The Rays have played some of the best baseball in the American League for the past three years and even had a magical playoff push at the end of 2011, ending the regular season on a walk-off home run that clinched a last minute playoff spot. Their reward: a 2012 average attendance of 19,925 – good for dead last in baseball. To put things into perspective, 6 teams have averaged over 40,000 fans this year, one being the post-Frank McCourt era Dodgers. Whether it’s a move across the bay from St. Pete to actual Tampa, or they get out of geriatric central and move to another state, the Rays can’t sustain at Tropicana Field.
The Maloof brothers have turned this into a joke. The worst kept secret in all of sports was officially let out of the bag last week when a publication out of Virginia released a statement that read:
Media giant Comcast will guarantee a 25-year lease on a new arena, supposedly for naming rights and for broadcasting the games, sources said….
City officials and the Maloof family are expected to announce Wednesday that the Kings will land in Virginia Beach, sources said….
Virginia Beach-based Meridian Group, a marketing communications firm, is expected to handle the public relations for the announcement.
To finance the arena, the Virginia Beach Hotel-Motel Association has indicated it would support a $1 hike in the lodging tax, sources said.
Okay. We get it…'sources said.'
Still, it’s obvious at this point that the Maloofs want out of Sacramento for reals. Ranking 27th in attendance doesn't help matters. Whether it be Seattle, Anaheim, Las Vegas or another city, the Kings won’t be in Cali much longer.
San Diego Chargers
Here’s a team I don’t want to see leave, but it seems inevitable. They have the greatest fans, but unfortunately not the best partnership with a deal on their stadium. Qualcomm doesn’t want to budge in a new deal and Los Angeles is bound and determined to build their brand new ‘Farmers Field’ downtown at L.A. Live next to Staples Center. Sources from the LA Times have told me that if a deal to build a stadium in L.A. finally gets up and running, the Chargers are the most likely fit given their location and previous history of being in Los Angeles.
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