Wondering why there's nothing new? That's because you can find me at: WWW.GROSSMISCONDUCTHOCKEY.COM

Monday, August 11, 2008

Paranoid and Mistrusting

Hey, remember when I was spitballing the idea that Phillip Anschutz and Tim Leiweke of the Los Angeles Kings were scheming their way towards finding a way to fill up the Spirit Center Arena in Kansas City, Missouri?
Sure you do, you read it here and you're a loyal reader and enjoy when I get rambling about things that aggravate me.

Apparently the New York Post's Larry Brooks is big enough and important enough (read: writes for a New York City paper) to get a direct explanation from Leiweke himself about what it is that they're up to.

Consider me distrustful of those in great power with great wealth:
"Our interest was in the facility, not in the team," Leiweke said. "The
loan did not come from AEG Sports, but through AEG Facilities.

"We analyzed the situation and concluded that the Predators would be locked
into Nashville for a long time. Our interest had nothing to do with Kansas City,
but rather in getting the long-term management rights to [Sommet Center]."
Basically, all of this speculation and questioning of the situation surrounds Boots Del Biaggio being a lying scumbag who managed to pull one over on everyone involved in the situation. Leiweke, Anschutz, and Craig Leipold were all suckered in by this trickster. Gary Bettman, at least according to Leiweke, carries no blame.

"I'd been assured by Boots that [the loan] had been fully vetted with Gary,
but believing that is just one of the mistakes I made that I regret," Leiweke
said. "I should have disclosed the information myself.

"The loan was through AEG Facilities and not the corporate ownership of the
Los Angeles Kings. We had nothing to hide. The commissioner not knowing about it
makes it looks worse than it is, but we have nobody to blame for that but
OK so Gary is blameless and knew nothing about the financial dealings of his friends (possible) and in the financial dealings that affect the teams in the league that he runs (highly doubtful).

Pardon me if I feel the slightest bit skeptical about this.

Also pardon me if I feel really skeptical about what Leiweke is dealing out about how there's no plans and that there's nothing actually going on and that AEG's involvement is strictly with the building and not with the team that inhabits it.

Obviously with such entangling alliances between businesses this can make everything look very convoluted (which, it is) and it allows for this kind of admittedly asinine speculation - but sometimes, real life likes to interject a little fun into things to feed the fire.

Case in point, the NHL preseason schedule offers this fodder for further Mel Gibson in "Conspiracy Theory" type of overreacting:

Monday September 22nd

Los Angeles (split squad) vs. St. Louis, at Kansas City, Mo.
(Sprint Center)
, 8 p.m.

You know, I get it that it's likely AEG doing their part to throw a bone to one of their other arenas, especially one that they're trying to fill up with a team or two since, you know, that helps these arenas and their owners make a lot of money. Generally what happens (although not so much) is they send the big team to play a game in preseason at the home of their minor league affiliate.

Sure, that would seem like a hiccup and AEG is just looking to audition, right?

Not so fast! More rampant speculation ahead!

Saturday September 27th

Colorado vs. Los Angeles, at Las Vegas, Nev. (MGM
, 10 p.m.

So now the Kings are playing two games away from Los Angeles and they just happen to be playing one of them in an AEG owned arena in Kansas City, a city and arena desperate to add an NHL or NBA team and they're playing a game in Las Vegas, a city that many have been pushing to add an NHL team and to break the stigma of having professional sports in the gambling capital of the United States.

I just wonder if we'll spot a picture of Phillip Anschutz cozying up to Jerry Bruckheimer at the game in Vegas. Why? Oh, I don't know... seems like they could be good friends too.

A group led by Bruckheimer, an avid hockey fan, is the front-runner for the Las
Vegas expansion and has been in talks with NHL officials for months, sources
said. Additionally, Bruckheimer has had discussions with AEG officials about
that group potentially building and/or operating an NHL arena in Las Vegas. AEG
President & CEO Tim Leiweke would not comment on that, but said in a
statement, "Jerry is like a brother. I will be there to support him anywhere he
wants to go." Bruckheimer is said to be the leader of a group of entertainment
execs, including MGM Studios Chair & CEO Harry Evans Sloan, who want to own
the Las Vegas team.
I can't imagine where I'd get such crazy conspiracy ideas from that maybe, just maybe, Phil Anschutz and AEG don't have the best of intentions for the L.A. Kings and that they're scouting out other locations to see what works best.

I must be crazy!


RudyKelly said...

The Kings have been playing in Las Vegas against the Avalanche for about 12 years now. The St. Louis game is a split squad game and they're playing a game at Staples on the same day. Oh, and they're also playing a game in Salt Lake City against the Sharks.

To me, it just seems like good business strategy: are they going to make more money in LA, where people would rather wait and go to a regular season game, or at other locations that they own, where it becomes an event and people would be more likely to go? Plus, season ticket holders don't have to pay regular season prices for preseason games if they don't want to.

Hockey Joe said...

Rudy - thanks for commenting.

Well, that's the one upside for those unfortunate souls that have Kings season tickets that they have less preseason games to pay for. They're playing three "home" games away from LA as you pointed out.

That said, season ticket holders DO have to pay for those seats no matter what. The Kings season ticket agreement states that they are paying for 43 home games.

Yes, it's all money in Anschultz's pocket, but that's never been in doubt from the get-go.

I get that about doing the Las Vegas game, ever since the IHL folded up shop and the Avalanche came into being, it made sense to have them play a game there.

Of course, and here's where the fun of creating a conspiracy theory comes in, why take the Kings away from Los Angeles so much now? They burned off a chunk of their preseason last year playing in Europe and even gave up a home date at Staples Center to play the Ducks at The O2 in London, another AEG arena.

Whether Anschultz is finding creative ways to make money for himself on the preseason since preseason games hardly draw flies or Anschultz really doesn't give two craps about sticking around in LA and is exploiting his other holdings to find a new place that receives them well.

I'd like to think that Anschultz is the kind of greedy guy that is just looking for places that will fill up for a preseason game to make more money - but given everything that's cropped up with his friend Boots and his nefarious plot to take a team westward... I have to be skeptical.

Besides, its more fun that way!

T said...

there's no l in anschutz. :p

Hockey Joe said...

Thank you T for exposing my need for further German influence in my life. Errors amended.