Monday, January 19, 2009

OK, So Who's Lying?

A useful history of the Atlanta Spirit legal feud in last Sunday's AJC, with this either-worrying-or-sloppy piece of information/misinformation:

...after the buyout process is resolved and the legal feuding ceases, the fate of the Thrashers eventually may hang in the balance. Unlike the Hawks, the Thrashers are not tied to a 30-year bond payment-agreement for Philips Arena and could be moved.

Some fans worry about that prospect, given Atlanta’s pro hockey history. The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary in 1980, leaving the city without a hockey team until the Thrashers arrived in 1998.

“The difficult one long-term will be hockey,” Hope said. “I think hockey is certainly the sport at risk...

Hope being Bob Hope, who is described in the article as "a long-time public relations executive who at one time worked for the Hawks and Braves." Exactly what his current relation to the Atlanta Spirit is, and how credible and knowledgeable a source he is, isn't made clear by the article. 

I remember Don Waddell saying the exact opposite, that the Thrashers were very much tied to both Philips Arena and the Hawks, at the season ticket holders' town-hall meeting just before the start of the season.

So either

A) Don Waddell doesn't know what he's talking about.

B) Don Waddell wasn't being totally truthful.

C) The author of the AJC article, one Kristi E. Swartz, (with some help from a Tim Tucker) doesn't know what she's talking about.

D) Bob Hope, a former PR man for the Braves and the Hawks, has some inside knowledge that Waddell doesn't.

E) Bob Hope, a former PR man for the Braves and the Hawks, is an idiot.

F) My awkwardness with legal-bureaucratic-financial jargon has led me astray and I'm misunderstanding all of this in some fundamental way. I remember Waddell talking about a 100-year lease on Philips Arena and some business about the Arena, the Hawks, and the Thrashers all being bound together in some sort of agreement that wasn't likely to be sundered. I'm not even sure what  "bond payment-agreement" means in this context, so if any of you savvier minds can fill me in (Razor is a legal feller; can he help?) I'd be much obliged. 

4 comments:

swegs said...

man that theres some troubling news.(best redneck voice)

JGraham said...

I was at the town hall meeting. I don't think Waddell specifically said that the Thrashers were part of the bond covenants. I think what he said was more along the lines of the Spirit owning the rights to the Bulb, and that moving the Thrashers wouldn't make sense because that would mean 43 fewer events in arena per year.

Lisa aka HockeyWench said...

The lawsuit has absolutely zero bearing on whether or not the team will move. If the ownership were to change hands it doesn't matter. The NHL has to approve the move of a franchise & Bettman will not let that happen in a market as rich as this one.

Andrew said...

The simple way to say it is this... the arena was built on a contingency that the thrashers and hawks ticket sales would pay for the lease. As long as ASG keeps making payments the teams can't be separated for 25 years (that is the first time the lease can be reevaluated). After that, then I suppose the teams are considered different assests in the eyes of that contract. I forget the exact wording but there was a clause that said the owners of the Thrashers couldn't sell for 15 years or something like that to insure that they wouldn't default on payments. Then again, I just graduated college with a BS in Business Administration so I may have read it wrong .