Eye of the Hurricane

April 20, 2011

Post-Dodgers Takeover: A Look at League Owned Franchises

Following Bud Selig’s announcement that the MLB will take over day-to-day operations of the LA Dodgers, I decided to take a look at the owners of various teams in the four major professional sports leagues. After scrolling through a list of NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB teams the only other teams currently owned by the leagues themselves are the New Orleans Hornets and the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Hornets previous owners, Gary Chouest and George Shinn, supposedly had an arrangement planned where Chouest would buy out Shinn’s contract and become sole owner. However, the deal fell through and when finances became a question, the NBA bought out the team in December 2010.

The Coyotes situation is a bit more difficult. The NHL took over for the Coyotes approximately two years ago when the team went bankrupt under former owner Jerry Moyes. Since then, various parties expressed interest in owning the franchise. Each time, talks fell through. The NHL fought in the interest of Glendale, Arizona, home of the Jobing.com Arena.

But now it’s becoming a bigger question of what actually is better for the city: Would keeping the Coyotes be economically viable? Or, with new giveback fees acting as terms of keeping the team in Glendale, is it becoming too much of a hassle? Here’s a good read where ESPN columnist Scott Burnside tries to sort through all the financial and now political woes battling the city of Glendale.

Other times that pro sports leagues seized ownership of its teams were the MLB with the Washington Nationals (2002-06) and the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres (2002-03) and Pittsburgh Penguins (1975).

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