The world changed one cold September morning... of 2008. That was when the US economy crashed.
If the Jets DO come back it will be because of two words: "recession" and "parity". The metro Phoenix area has over 4.3 million people (does this include illegal immigrants?) who potentially like team sports. It also has a ton of corporations who may not like hockey best, but probably like tax write-offs just fine. I know this hasn't panned out for the Coyotes yet but it was at least worth a shot - and for Bettman it looks like it is still far better than the other alternatives. Sure the Coyotes have lost a lot of money since they moved there but it took the entire US economy to tank to even have them MAYBE moving back to Winnipeg.
Winnipeg's hopes for an NHL team depend on the Canadian dollar trading at parity with its US counterpart. The financial community sees this happening for the foreseeable future, ie. the next ten to twenty years. So if you find yourself watching Sidney Crosby play our boys in the MTS Center in the next year or two, you'd better thank God we live in the same country as those Albertans with their sandy, black gold.
People will name their children "Goldwater" if the Jets come return in 2011 - and for good reason.
The city of Glendale (along with the NHL, I imagine) came up with quite a creative plan to make the Coyotes a palatable purchase. As I said above, they essentially figured out a way to give $197 million of taxpayer money to a private business. And it came really close to working.
Unsurprisingly, someone did have a problem with giving $197 million to a rich guy. The Goldwater Institute not only didn't like it, they also believed it to be unconstitutional (although if the $197 million was paid to Hulsizer in the form of guns I believe it would've been legit) and threatened to sue. Actually they sent out a letter to potential investor's in the city of Glendale's bond offering (that's how city's come up with lump sum money up front) advising them that they may be suing.
Goldwater has had their clout increase from annoying to powerful. Their letter scared away those who thought Glendale would not become the next Greece (now threatening to not pay back its debts), and this week they were paid the highest form of respect: they were sued by the city of Glendale. Stephen Brunt has long pointed out that those in Goldwater ideologically driven and zealots in their cause against government waste. They do not appear to be backing down.
Matthew Hulsizer has said that he will not sweeten his offer for the Coyotes nor should he. So, as bad as this deal sounds for the citizens of Glendale I don't think he feels he's ripping them off. The city of Glendale is begging him to take their money and suing the watchdog organization that stands in the way of the sale, so they clearly agree. Doesn't say much for the profitability of the millionaire-hockey-players-with-high-school-educations industry.
The big thing is that Goldwater can tie this up in court. How long would that take? A year? Two? Can the NHL stomach covering more operating losses and having the unprofitability of one of its franchises brought to light in court again?
This is what we're up against Winnipeg, and it's pretty much a tie. Doesn't make us feel too special, does it?
The NHL in Winnipeg...
Will be the greatest couple of years ever. I can say that with certainty. Beyond that I can only speak for myself - I don't plan on devoting huge sums of money for my own personal entertainment, and I don't plan on spending all my time thinking about the team. So I hope that its affordable for me and a lot of other regular people in this city for the long-term.
Will the Jets Fly Again in Winnipeg?
Gary Bettman is a smart, crafty villain of a man. If anyone can keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, he can. If I had to pick what's most likely though, I'd say....
Start saving for your 2011/12 Winnipeg Jets season tickets now.