Reinsdorf to hijack Phoenix Coyotes’ move from the desert

Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf is set to table a bid for the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes NHL franchise.

Chicago sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf is set to table a bid for the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes NHL franchise.

Reinsdorf is renowned as the owner of Chicago's premier basketball and baseball teams, the Bulls and the White Sox, but his bid for the Coyotes would see the troubled franchise remain in the Arizona desert.

Reinsdorf submitted an outline of his offer, due to be officially lodged at an auction on 5th August, to the bankruptcy court last week. The bid will total US$148 million, substantially lower than the US$212.5 million already offered by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie. Reinsdorf's pledge to keep the franchise in the Arizona area, however, is said to be worth US$64.5 million.

Incumbent Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes surprised the NHL by filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 5th May. Moyes claims to have lost over US$300 million on the team since it moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996. Soon after he filed for bankruptcy, it emerged that Moyes had agreed to sell the team to Balsillie, who would then relocate the franchise to Hamilton in Canada.

Balsillie, who has previously failed in bids to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators, is now likely to miss out again. The 5th August auction is only for bidders who will keep the franchise in Phoenix, meaning Reinsdorf's offer should be signed and sealed by the league before Balsillie can officially table his relocation offer on 2nd September.