The Anaheim Ducks changed hands for $80M two years ago. Balsille agrees to pay $220M+ less than 18 months later. Apparently NHL franchise prices are going up faster than Alberta real estate.
Even if the general business community agrees that Balsille overpaid, this significantly drives up the price of an NHL franchise. As well, if the NHL does pursue expansion, suddenly they can charge $150M instead of $50M. That is a lot more money in everyone's pocket. If I were Atlanta's owner, or the owner of any other franchise on the ropes, I'd put Balsille on my Christmas card list for life.
But so far, the ticket-tape parade hasn't happened. The reason is that while Balsille is driving up prices, he is also rocking the boat. Having a guy sweep in, purchase and subsequently try and move a franchise all in a matter of months is bad news for the NHL. If franchises can be yanked that quickly, it makes the corporate community and fans nervous and less likely to support their own lame-duck team.
Would you sponsor the Thrashers with the fear that the next Balsille would buy the Thrashers and move them to Seattle overnight? Probably not.
When Winnipeg and Quebec moved and when Edmonton almost moved, the process was long and drawn out. The ownership was exhausted every avenue and subsequently wrang ever last drop of money out of the cities before setting sail.
Balsille is clearly not into beauracracy and his plan is bull right through any protests from Bettman, the Leafs, the Sabres or anyone else. Bettman, whose ego is immense, must be chafing that this guy is not playing by his rules.
On the outside the NHL owners have to stick to the mantra of being committed to 30 franchises in their current markets but inside, you'd have to think that most are doing cartwheels and counting the dollars.