2011 NEWS

2011 NEWS > 4/20/11


Atlanta Business Chronicle

A big name in Atlanta baseball could possibly play a role in keeping Atlanta's professional hockey team in town.

Former Atlanta Braves All-Star pitcher Tom Glavine is working actively to keep the Atlanta Thrashers from leaving, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV 11Alive. Glavine said he is extremely interested in keeping professional hockey in Atlanta.

Team owners Atlanta Spirit LLC have made it known they're losing millions of dollars on the Thrashers and need investors. Glavine said there's no way he could afford the $80 million to $100 million to buy the team on his own, so he's looking for other investors interested in keeping the team here.

Although known as the legendary pitcher for the Braves, Glavine could have been a professional hockey player. In 1984, he was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Kings, but decided to go with baseball.

The Thrashers were ranked nearly the least valuable team in hockey by Forbes in December 2010. The Thrashers are valued at $135 million and rank No. 29 out of the NHLís 30 teams. The Atlanta teamís value dropped 5 percent in the past year, Forbes noted.

The Thrashers generated $71 million in revenue last year, had a loss of $8 million in operating income, $46 million in player expenses and $22 million in gate receipts, according to Forbes.

Atlanta Spirit bought the team for $80 million in 2004, Forbes said. But the magazine noted the team is losing a significant amount of money and struggling with attendance. Forbes warned the team could eventually end up in Canada.

In January, Atlanta Spirit sued big Atlanta law firm King & Spalding LLP for legal malpractice, claiming the firm botched its efforts to acquire full control of the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers sports teams, with the mistakes costing the owners about $200 million. The plaintiffs say they tried to sell the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team in 2005, but because the teamís ownership group was fighting in court, they could not unload the team. Since then, according to the lawsuit, the team has lost about a quarter of its value.