Well, you never know who you will run into at the airport...as I was on my way to New York City for the NBA Board of Governors meetings (typing this thousands of feet in the air) I spotted Mariners President Chuck Armstrong.
I went up to him and asked if we could talk for a few minutes about the new regional television network that the team announced on Tuesday and I wanted to get him on the record to respond to reports that the team is setting themselves up to be sold or have an internal shift in majority ownership.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has done a fantastic job of detailing the possibility of such an occurrence for quite sometime, however,the team has been steadfast in their denial that an ownership change is on the horizon. I encourage you to read Geoff's post on this yesterday and listen to the podcast of when he joined Ian and myself yesterday.
The following is a transcript of the key points in the brief conversation we had as the doors to my gate were literally closing:
On the possibility of internal ownership change with John Stanton
Armstrong: "There are no plans for that to happen. The majority owner is Nintendo of America, and that's the way it will stay."
Will their be an ownership change in-season
Armstrong: "As far as I know it will remain the same. There are no plans to change it."
Does TV deal signal a sale
Armstrong: "If an ownership wanted to sell, why would they commit millions to buy something they don't know if a new owner would be interested in."
Could the M's and new network partner w/ Hansen
Armstrong: "We are looking for good strong programming. We'd love to carry the Sonics."
*Note, Armstrong followed that last comment up by saying "I think it would be good for everybody." He's referring to having the MLB, NBA and potentially the NHL programming all on the news regional sports network.
Armstrong was adamant that creating the new network does not signal that the ownership of the Mariners is about to change - in fact, when you listen to the interview he certainly becomes a little offended by the suggestion.
In addition, it's important to note that he said the organizations stance on the location of the proposed basketball arena, which they don't like, wouldn't prevent them from working together on a TV deal.
Certainly the one question I regret not asking or following up on would be the irony that the organization would work with the Hansen group on a TV deal, despite their very vocal opposition to the location.
The full interview should be available via the Furness Show podcast page.