The Utah Blaze are getting closer to returning to EnergySolutions Arena following the organization’s eviction Thursday.
Owner Kim Brown said Saturday the new investor who is expected to bolster the franchise’s finances has agreed to all of the contract terms verbally, but has yet to sign the contract.
As soon as Sunday, she expects she will have a signature on the contract as well as on an addendum that will trigger aid from the Arena Football League to help start payments on the reported $120,000 the Blaze owe in rent.
Brown said the Larry H. Miller Group has said it will accept a down payment on rent owed that will enable the Blaze to practice at the downtown arena and on the AFL turf Tuesday. The parties then will determine how much more the Blaze owe.
"Technically, all of us are in agreement, and [the new investor] knows it’s just a matter of the time line," Brown said. "He realizes the arena will not put the field down for his practice until he signs. His signature will ... get everything going."
AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz called the situation unfortunate, but added the league, the Blaze owners and the incoming investor seem to be turning the situation around.
"This is not the normal course for the Arena Football League, but all businesses nowadays are faced with challenges here and there," he said. "The best thing when any challenge comes along in business or life, you deal with it. If you run around like your hair is on fire, I don’t know how anyone survives business or life."
Kurz wouldn’t discuss league finances, but added that every team in its market deals with challenges and problems.
"Having another partner there is a good thing, not just for the financial aspect, but I think sometimes bringing on another business partner can give a good objective viewpoint," he said. "The person who is slated to come in is an astute businessperson. We want our league to be run like a business. It’s a fantastic sport, but our sport, like anything else, needs to be run like a business."
Kurz said he’s spoken to the Miller Group regarding the building and representatives reiterated to him that they want the Blaze at EnergySolutions Arena.
When you face challenges, "you address them," he said. "This is no different. I don’t think [the Miller Group] wanted to make this statement."
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