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Coyotes, Glendale agree to arena lease deal in principle

Jun 14, 2013, 10:29 PM EDT

Phoenix Coyotes v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

Attach all the necessary “maybe” and “however” caveats, but Friday brought what appeared to be fantastic news for the Phoenix Coyotes, as Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the City of Glendale agreed to an arena lease deal in principle with Renaissance Sports Entertainment.

Perhaps the best part for beaten-down Coyotes fans is that the lease would cover 15 years, which is a far cry from the five-year out-clauses that darkened optimism earlier in the process.

As the Sportsnet report notes, Glendale’s city council needs a majority vote (at least four out of seven) on Tuesday to make this official. So hold off on your “Forever in Glendale” Coyotes tattoos for the time being.

This news comes on the heels of a Fox Sports Arizona report that the two sides bridged a significant $9 million annual gap in the deal.

It also likely puts an end to speculation about a “mystery buyer,” although if you’ve followed this saga long enough, you probably know that it’s never really safe to assume that anything’s certain.

Many wondered how two deadlines (a Glendale City Council meeting on June 25 and an NHL Board of Governors meeting on June 27) would affect this process, but now it seems that those dates are less threatening.

Of course, it’s again important to remember that nothing is set in stone until official announcements about the team staying are made. Still, this at least appears to be a big break in favor of avoiding relocation.

  1. jcmeyer10 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    This time you can really color me surprised. I wonder how much the tax payers on the hook for.

    • Anoesis - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      “…the two sides bridged a significant $9 million annual gap in the deal.”

      I think you could start right there.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        I don’t read so good.

      • Anoesis - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Sorry if that came off as criticizing you as that wasn’t my intent. I was trying to point out that the $9 million dollar “annual gap” was “bridged” without any explanation as to where that money is going to come from, besides a vague reference to “…(M)ultiple Coyotes-related revenue streams for Glendale that will provide the city between $8 million and $11 million annually.” How those imagined revenue streams can magically make up a $9M shortfall without involving the taxpayers there would be an interesting detail to know.

        The linked story provides no further details. It does, however, mention that relocation to “Quebec is considered a fallback option because the league would prefer to procure a lucrative expansion fee from that city.”

        The story also mentions Seattle, but one would have to believe that if the NHL is willing to work this hard to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix so as to get big bucks out of Quebec for an expansion franchise, the league would then also want the same kind of money from Seattle.

  2. kicksave1980 - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    The appropriate question is ‘how long until the Goldwater Institute interferes causing Glendale to lose the Coyotes?’

    Look, I’m FAR from a conservative, but I understand the need for balance. I get what the Goldwater Institute is trying to do, but someone smarter than me should answer this question for me. At what point is it a better deal for Glendale to do everything they can to keep the Coyotes than it is for them to have a brand new state of the art arena with mothballs in it? The arena was built specifically for the Coyotes, and cost of ownership on an empty arena isn’t cheap either, especially if you’re going to have occasional concerts and things there. I’m not an economist, but it seems to me that having a team there would help offset that cost, even if not to the levels of some better markets. Not trying to be argumentative, that’s a legitimate question that I have.

    I hope the Coyotes stay, just like I hoped the same Nordiques, Whalers, North Stars, and Jets. I really don’t care about the attendance or tv ratings (the original Jets and North Stars couldn’t draw flies either), but I hope they stay for the fans there. Regardless of how you feel about the Coyotes, and even if a team would be better served in a different market, it’s always sad when someone loses their team, even when someone else gains. Always.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      Another kicksave and a beauty of a comment. You’re on tonight.

    • nhstateline - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      The arena’s a sunk cost. The taxpayers are on the hook for it regardless meaning it won’t cost more than what’s been invested other than some upkeep plus it can be used for other things. Keeping the Yotes there has cost new real money and looks to do so in the future at least for a while. I think the NHL has been right to try to stay there, it would be bad long term business not to have a team in that market even if it doesn’t make sense here in the short term.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        I went no further than Econ 100 in college, so I’ll ask: Is a privately owned sports franchise really viable if it must rely on taxpayer support, as opposed to fan and TV revenue?

  3. channelguy - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Well, except the option of the arena sitting unused was never REALLY on the table. That was just scare propaganda. While the arena is uneconomical at an NHL payroll level, it would be a perfectly good venue for a revived AHL Phoenix Roadrunners.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      Beep beep?

    • kevinsmithaz - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:24 AM

      Think the attendance is bad now? Nobody would drive to Glendale to watch an AHL game.

      When big market teams come to town, the place is packed. Rivalry games on a weekend night and attendance is good too. Playoff attendance is always stellar. Yeah, sometimes half or more are fans rooting for the other team, but that’s what happens when you put a team in a transplant city/state.

      Give it time. Every time someone goes to a game in Glendale to root for their team against the Yotes, they leave knowing that they had a good experience at a great venue, and will come back to watch more games. If “their team” isn’t playing against the Yotes that night, they’ll root for the home team. That’s how hockey fans are transformed to Coyotes fans in Phoenix.

      • mspphx - Jun 15, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        That last paragraph is dead-on correct Kevin. I’m pulling for Phoenix every night they play, unless they play the Wild. Jobing.com Arena is a terrific venue, and when I start spending the entire hockey season in Phoenix, I’ll be at lots of games, not just Yotes-Wild.

        Construction of the South Mountain Freeway (the 202 extension) would also make it much easier for hockey fans to get from the East Valley to the arena on weekdays.

    • jbutina - Jun 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      be a great venue . . . but the city of glendale would LOSE THEY ASS if their primary tenant of the arena was an AHL team . . .

    • jbutina - Jun 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      be a great venue . . . but the city of glendale would LOSE THEIR ASS if their primary tenant of the arena was an AHL team . . .

  4. LampyB - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Glad to hear positive news for the Yotes. Aside from offering the nhl marginal value (at best) in phoenix, its nice to see a team build on what they’ve establishes. Moving another team spurs notions of the nba in my mind. Trying to avoid this at all costs is good for everyone.

  5. thedavesiknowiknow - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    I feel like I’ve heard this before. Actually, I feel like I hear this a few times a year.

  6. buffalo65 - Jun 15, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    For the love of god Phoenix. Go away.

  7. buffalomafia - Jun 15, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    What happens to Quebec,Seattle & KC that wants teams?

    • Anoesis - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      It’s called expansion. Whether some fans want it or not, if the NHL gets the money it wants for an expansion franchise it will happen. The main reason the league has worked so hard to keep the ‘Yotes in Phoenix is so they can extort huge sums from those cities desperate enough for a team.

  8. kolbydoerge - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    CHRIS HANSON would be the secret buyer. BTW

  9. thailer35 - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Woo Hoo!! Here to stay!! Suck it Quebec!

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