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Report: Thrashers having trouble finding local investors

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TSN.ca Staff
5/4/2011 9:08:36 PM
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While last-ditch attempts are being made to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, it appears few are interested in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thrashers' part-owner Michael Gearon Jr. is having difficulty finding local buyers to keep the team in Georgia.

"We continue to have discussions with different prospective investors or buyers of the franchise," Gearon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week. "The comments I made in February generated some preliminary interest. I wish there was more. There are some people we are talking to, but nothing that is far enough along at this stage that it deserves further comment."

Atlanta Spirit, the Thrashers ownership group has had talks with parties interested in their other properties, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and the operating rights for Philips Arena.

"There is still a sense of urgency, and that has not changed one bit," Gearon told the Journal-Constitution. "Each day that goes by, we need to find a solution. As someone who has lived in this city my whole life, it's important to me that we do everything we can to try to have our sports teams survive and prosper in this city.

"But we need others in the community that are willing to come in and either invest alongside us or buy the franchise. I would be more than happy to stay in and roll over my equity and continue to participate as a minority partner."

Thrashers president Don Waddell told the Journal-Constitution there are two prospective buyers currently in the mix who would like to keep the team in Atlanta but both are from out of town.

"I'm optimistic we have some potential buyers out there," Waddell told the newspaper. "Is anything close? No. These things always take time. The disappointing thing is we don't have anybody locally. There was one local group early on, but they faded away."

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