Where's Feterik?Insiders say no-show owner is losing interest in his Stampeders
There might be a silver lining on the ominous black clouds hanging over the Calgary Stampeders franchise. The team's continuing struggles on the field despite success at the gate could hasten the sale of the CFL club by California-based owner Michael Feterik to Calgary interests.
Stampeders fans have to hope that's the case.
Feterik insisted earlier this season he's in no hurry to dump the team he's owned since late in 2001, the last time the squad made the playoffs.
But insiders suggest the absentee owner, who failed to turn up in his Orange County Container luxury suite for last night's game at McMahon Stadium, is losing interest in the franchise.
Although not everyone agrees local ownership is needed to steer the Stampeders in the right direction, successful groups such as the Flames' financial backers have proven otherwise.
The CFL has been involved since last season in helping find new ownership, meaning the potential sale could also include hosting the Grey Cup game, a guaranteed windfall as it was for former owner Sig Gutsche in 2000.
Christina Saint Marche is still negotiating to purchase former COO Fred Fateri's legal claim to a small portion of the franchise, a deal that could eventually lead to the Calgary businesswoman's outright ownership of the club.
Saint Marche has mapped out a plan that includes offering the Flames a management contract to run the team with majority ownership transferred to the Flames over a number of years.
"If we were approached about an operating agreement, I'd approach our ownership group with the proposal," Flames president/CEO Ken King said yesterday.
"The ball is in other people's courts right now."
King said the eight-man Flames ownership team would consider getting involved with the Stampeders if the financial numbers made sense.
"If it's a good opportunity," King continued, "you never walk away from a potential opportunity."
The Flames already have a management structure in place that could run both organizations, while season ticket ventures for both sports enterprises could be married to boost Stampeders attendance to record numbers.
The NHL club, according to Forbes magazine, is worth some $97 million US, making the purchase of the CFL team, valued at about $6 million Cdn, a minor investment, although Feterik is asking for about
And the time has never been better to bail out.
Why would Feterik want to carry on with the constant hassles associated with ownership in Calgary when his business world is based in southern California and Mexico?
The release by the Stamps last fall of quarterbacking son Kevin Feterik signalled the beginning of the end for the senior Feterik's tenure as owner.
He also hasn't been using his McMahon Stadium suite to entertain clients as regularly as he did when his son was involved, another apparent sign his interest is waning.
The team was worth more three years ago when it was still seen as the league's flagship franchise with Wally Buono at the helm.
Continuity was the team's trademark and success was almost guaranteed, while the last three seasons have been marred by turmoil and failure.
Through seven games this season, can anyone honestly claim the team is back on an upward swing?
If the club's last-place record is any indication, it's still on the decline or stuck in neutral.
Any way you look at it, the Stampeders have depreciated over the last three seasons like a rusted old Buick whose resale value will continue to plummet under Feterik's reign.
He reiterated last week he's in no rush to sell but Stampeders fans have never been more anxious to see it happen.