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Coyotes update: Glendale’s new proposal could be a ‘non-starter’

Jun 28, 2013, 11:42 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v Phoenix Coyotes - Game Two Getty Images

Glendale’s city council unveiled an updated counter-proposal for a possible arena lease deal with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in town on Friday and … things look messy as usual.

Long story short, the city council is ready to vote on their version of the proposal on July 2, but RSE claims they won’t agree to the modified deal, according to Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan.

The biggest sticking point appears to be the well-worn issue of an out-clause.

Glendale’s new proposal constricts RSE’s window for an out-clause to a brief window of time after the fifth season of the 15-year lease (as opposed to any time after five years, which is what RSE proposed), but that’s not the largest stumbling block. The bigger issue is that the city wants its own out-clause if Glendale loses $50 million or more.*

While there are other tweaks that may or may not cause problems, the out-clause has been called a deal-breaker. RSE’s spokesperson David Leibowitz said as much.

“The city’s proposal for an out clause is a non-starter,” Liebowitz said.

RSE claims that the city didn’t inform them that the out-clause would be added into this proposal, creating doubt about whether the vote will happen (or have any legitimacy).

Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers seems confident with the city’s approach, though, as Morgan reports.

“We’re going to vote on Tuesday,” Weiers said. “The only thing that might happen is (RSE) may come back and say ‘you know what, we were kidding. We really didn’t mean what we said’ and I sort of expect that’s exactly what they’re going to say. ‘We weren’t really serious about we’re leaving.’

“If they are they are. That’s a risk all of the council members this morning (agreed was) fine.”

(Morgan believes that Weiers is essentially calling Gary Bettman’s bluff regarding the NHL’s reported backup plan to move the team to Seattle.)

The details can make your head spin, but the summation remain the same: it’s a mess of a situation that could still contain a few twists and turns. The only thing that seems clear is that the haggling will continue, maybe until the bitter (or triumphant) end.

If you’re an upset Phoenix fan, you might find some relief in Coyotes blog Five for Howling’s argument for why the scenario might not be as bad as it seems.

* – Basically matching the terms of RSE’s out-clause.

  1. desertfan - Jun 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    NEVER WILL WORK!!!

    PEOPLE WILL NOT PAY $10 per ticket to watch this BIZZARO game when they can watch Arena Football.

    Get over it!!!!!

    • govtminion - Jun 29, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      Funny how cities like Denver felt the opposite way, isn’t it?

  2. mrminkus - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Good for Glendale!
    Finally, a mayor (and hopefully council) willing to stand up and call Gary’s bluff.

    For all you Coyotes fans out there, relax! They aren’t going anywhere. Gary is so desperate to keep a franchise in Arizona, he will do anything to prevent them from moving, including keeping them under NHL ownership indefinitely. The NHL needs a franchise in Arizona to maintain a footprint in all regions of the US. Without that… bye bye national TV deal.

    Now, lets hope the Glendale can negotiate a lease deal with Gary which has the Coyotes actually paying the city for the use of the City’s arena.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      They have 9 years left on the US national deal, do you really think the NHL will keep the Coyotes in Phoenix 9 more years just for that tv deal? Do you really think Gary Bettman will be commissioner in 9 years? This is about his legacy, he came in promoting US expansion if the Coyotes leave before he retires his legacy is a failed one (it should be anyways with 3 lockouts)

    • ray2013 - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:33 AM

      I came to a similar conclusion, based on the way the Thrashers/Jets left Atlanta. Before they could move, they had to show corporate sponsorship, they had to show season ticket sales, etc., and basically prove that Winnipeg could financially support the return of the NHL. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but while they’re talking about moving the team to Seattle,but there hasn’t been any season ticket sales. While Seattle may be home to billion-dollar companies, I haven’t heard any make a formal offer for sponsorship etc.Maybe by the start of free agency, they’ll actually move them, but none of the legwork that Winnipeg was required to do has been done by Seattle. It’s still just an idea.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:46 AM

        The season ticket drive for the Jets came after the announcement. They laid out the season ticket and sponsorships ad nasiam during the announcement of the Thrashing moving to Winnipeg

      • ray2013 - Jun 29, 2013 at 3:14 AM

        The Jets had everything in place before any deal was announced. They haven’t even confirmed that the Coyotes have been sold. And most importantly, the owner of the arena is the same group as the owner of the team. That seems to me to be a much stronger position than Seattle, which has an old arena with only 11,000 seats for hockey. Sure they’re planning on building a new arena in Seattle, but it wasn’t built specifically for hockey. If they were really serious about moving the team in short order, in my opinion that would be to Quebec City.

        This seems more about whetting the appetite of Seattle to get an NHL team so someone can get a Seattle expansion team down the road once they lose out on the Coyotes. Of course, I’m no insider. Maybe they’ll move the Coyotes. But that requires me putting faith in anything Bettman has to say. Which I don’t. I’ll either look like an idiot or a smart guy in a couple of days. lol.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        You don’t think the NHL and Seattle have been working back room deals? Key Arena will fit a little over 15,000 which is in the realm of what Winnipeg has at MTS Centre.

      • ray2013 - Jun 30, 2013 at 2:58 AM

        The MTS Centre is not large but it is new and was built for hockey. And the ownership group who owns the MTS Centre also owns the Jets. (At least as far as I know).

        Conversely, the proposed owners of the Seattle Coyotes do not own Key Arena, and would not own the proposed new stadium either. So the revenues generated from Key Arena would not be the same as MTS. And the revenues generated from the proposed new rink in Seattle would not be the same as MTS. Add to that the fact that the Key Arena only has 11,000 seats with unobstructed views, and it’s a poor fit. For right now.

        If there was a backroom deal, I would think it’s a promise to Seattle that they’d get an expansion team (along with Quebec City).

        But what do I know? I’m just an idiot.

  3. dayno66 - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    With teams in Texas and California I don’t think keeping a team that draws 10k a night in AZ will have any effect on the Nhl’s TV contract.

  4. ndnut - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Las Vegas would keep a desert presence if Bettman truly cares about that. However, the American side of the Pacific Northwest is also uncovered, and Seattle could fix that. My biggest problem with Seattle is the off center scoreboard in the KeyArena hockey set up (if I’m thinking of the right arena, which I’m fairly certain about).

    • mrminkus - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      Vegas would be less viable than Phoenix, and doesn’t even have a proper arena. The NHL’s decision to keep the team there must be based on something. I won’t claim to know all the facts, so I won’t try to justify it any further than to note that if the NHL didn’t need a franchise in Phoenix, the Coyotes would already be playing in Hamilton or Toronto.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:42 AM

        The Greater Toronto Area and Quebec City will provide too much revenue in expansion fees to allow a team to relocate there. When the time is right (probably inside the next 2 years) the league will either expand to 32 teams or contract 2 money losers and simultaneously give GTA and QC expansion teams bumping them back to 30.

  5. jernster21 - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    We’ve all heard what hills the NHL will die on before…

  6. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    According to Michael Russo if the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he’s as plugged in as anybody in the NHL, he was on a local radio station here in Minneapolis. He said he thinks Phoenix will be in Seattle next year.

    As far as NBC and NBCSN, do you really think they care about whether or not the NHL has a team in Phoenix or not? The answer is no. In case you forgot NBC happens to have a TV deal with the NFL, and last I checked the NFL doesn’t have a team in Los Angeles, which is way bigger than Phoenix.

    The league’s owners who obviously wouldn’t mind the team moving to Seattle because they are the ones taking the financial hit with the Coyotes.

    The NHLPA won’t have a problem either, just on attendance alone, a team that has a hard time getting 13,000 fans a night to go to Glendale doesn’t look as good as 15,500 a night for 3 years while a new arena is built presumably even bigger and Seattle probably sell the new out for at least 2 more years after that. Plus add in all the new merchandise sales for a new team with a new logo and new team name. Which all that does is add money to the leagues coffers which in turn adds more money to the players via the salary cap going up.

    As sad as it is for the 9 fans in Phoenix, they are looking more and more like they are gone.

  7. kicksave1980 - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    I have no dog in this fight, but they’re not going to Seattle, and definitely not in Key Arena. It’s too small. And as for the Winnipeg (small arena) comparisons, that works because the Jets required a firm 3 year season ticket contract at a price point that wouldn’t work in most markets. It’s too late in the off-season…they’re definitely staying in Phoenix for another year, minimum.

    • kicksave1980 - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      And with that, I’m not saying that Seattle wouldn’t support a team. Maybe they would. My argument isn’t an indictment on the fans in Seattle, but on the arena. The only way Seattle is viable for relocation in that arena is by requiring the same type of years (plural) commitment from season ticket holders at price points near the top of the league. If they’re going to leave Phoenix, they’re not leaving for an ‘unknown’ market whose NBC affiliate didn’t even air some playoff games.

      As for the thumbs down, I can handle that, but at least tell me where my argument is wrong. The draft is this weekend, and free agency is starting in a little over a week. It’s too late.

      • dueman - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        Where I think that you are wrong is that Key Arena would only be temporary, as a new arena is already in the works. The Winnipeg metropolitan area consists of about 730,000 people, while the Seattle area consists of over 4,000,000 and growing. Those are two big reasons.

    • patmanbnl - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:10 AM

      The plan that I’ve always understood is that once Seattle gets an NBA team then a new arena for them and the NHL team will be built. Key Arena has always been envisioned as a temporary venue and will only be an issue if the new arena falls through.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:24 AM

      It is not to late in the off season. Nothing would need to be done realignment wise or even scheduling for that matter as they would stay in the same conference or division or whatever they are gonna call them.

      Key Arena will work as a temporary home, while a new arena is built. The scheduling is just as easy, instead of playing in Phoenix your plane goes to Seattle. Most teams get Phoenix in after they make a swing through San Jose Los Angeles, and Anaheim. Instead of going to Phoenix they head north, and vise versa if they start that trip in Phoenix.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      As far as it being too late, do you honestly believe that?

      Your telling me you don’t think Bettman and his cohorts haven’t been working back door deals with Seattle knowing that there was a very good chance that Glendale and the new prospective owners couldn’t reach a deal? I’m fairly certain that the NHL has 2 sets of schedules done right now. One is labeled with Phoenix, the other labeled with Seattle. Besides, the tenants in Key Arena right now are:

      Seattle University basketball
      3 games November
      6 games December
      5 games January
      3 games February
      1 game March

      Rat City Rollergirls
      1 game/match/whatever a month January – August

      Seattle Storm WNBA
      4 games in September
      3 games in May
      2 maybe in June
      (During hockey season and playoffs)

      Point is, scheduling isn’t that hard for the NHL

  8. tcclark - Jun 29, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Are people really talking about a tv contract right now? Phoenix only had one nationally televised game this year. We’re not talking about losing the Flyers (14 televised games), The Penguins (11 games), or even the Red Wings (6 games). We’re talking about the Phoenix Coyotes. Most of the weeknight hockey games come on at 3-4 oclock in the afternoon when no one is watching anyway. Seattle is a larger Hockey market and NBC should be happy to move a team from a terrible hockey area into a hockey market. This will have no ill effect on the leagues ability to sustain a lucrative television contract.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 29, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      Some of the various hockey insiders have offered their own theories. One of them said the NBC contract is worth more with a team in Phoenix as opposed to say Seattle or Quebec.

  9. lesleyvissersfacelift - Jun 29, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    So what should we call the new team: Seattle Metropolitans, Seattle Totems, Seattle Thunderbirds…?

    • nhstateline - Jun 29, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      Bring back the Pilots!!!!

    • darksidecowboy - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      The Pilots have a classic sound, like the Metro’s, or Totems but maybe something fresh like the Sea Wolves keeps that whole canine connection with the desert dogs coyotes

  10. mrminkus - Jun 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    You may debate the virtues of moving or not moving the Coyotes all you want. The fact is that the NHL, for whatever reason, desperately wants to stay in the Phoenix market. How do we know this? It took 3 weeks and no effort to move the Thrashers, but somehow after four years of futility in the desert, the Coyotes are still there. Why? Don’t know, don’t care. All one needs to know is the NHL’s desperation to stay.

    Enter Glendale. They have a beautiful modern NHL worthy arena. Instead of negotiating deals which would have them subsidize the NHL, they should be taking advantage of the NHL’s desperation. Fact, the NHL can’t move a franchise this year. You can debate that all the way through to the 2014 Stanley Cup final, it won’t change anything. The Coyotes will play in Glendale because they have nowhere else to put them. As such, City council should be considering how much they will charge a desperate NHL to house the Coyotes. $25 Million?

    By the way, folding the team is also a hollow bluff.

    • dueman - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Keep telling yourself that! :)

  11. ndnut - Jun 29, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Is it possible to play in Phoenix where the Suns play? Every comment I have read claims that the location of Glendale is wrong. Add to that an incompetent city council and I think the US Airways Center looks more attractive than the current train wreck.

    • baseballbarrister - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      As a former Thrasher fan the Coyote situation continues frustrate me.

      We were all told the issues had been worked out in Glendale so there was no need for the Coyotes to move to Winnipeg. Turns out, that was another Bettman lie, and ‘Yotes, like Thrasher fans, will be left holding the proverbial empty bag.

      If there was any justice in the world the NHL would move the team to Atlanta and keep the “Atlanta Spirit” as far away as possible.

      • baseballbarrister - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        As far as US Airways goes, it’s probably not a possibility given the design of the arena. I know they’ve tried it before and all parties were not happy.

    • jaguar0413 - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      No, it is not possible to play at the US Airways Center. The floor space was too small to properly fit an ice rink when the Coyotes played there. One entire end of the ice was filled with horrendously obstructed view seats. That was why they moved to Glendale in the first place.

      The blame falls squarely on Steve Ellman and Jerry Moyes, the former owners of the Coyotes. They completely screwed up the arena deal in the first place. They panicked and took a terrible deal with Glendale when the negotiations with the City of Scottsdale bogged down. If they had simply been more patient, they probably could have built the arena in Scottsdale, which would have been much more attractive and closer to the fanbase.

  12. jacketsfan7 - Jun 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Move to Seattle already

  13. darksidecowboy - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Darkhorse location possibility would move the team to Houston. Only behind NY, Chicago, and LA in population in the states. Have a deep hockey roots with Gordie Howe and his sons plating for the Houston Aeros AHL team, possibly keeping them in the Pacific, and possible interstate hockey rivalry with Dallas up north. Either way, the Coyotes will be moving, because of the ineptitude of the Glendale.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      No chance Houston gets a hockey team. Toyota Center refused to negotiate a new contract with the Houston Aeros of the AHL after this past season. Their reason was, they (Toyota Center) could make more money off concerts than hockey. That is why the Houston Aeros next season will be the Iowa Wild.

  14. pastabelly - Jun 29, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Hockey doesn’t work in Arizona or Georgia. Interestingly, even with crappy teams, it works in Florida. A team belongs in Seattle, but only in a decent facility.

    • baseballbarrister - Jun 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      That’s not exactly true. In Atlanta, it had nothing to do with the fans. The team sold out every playoff game it had, and were reasonably popular for a terrible team.

      It was owners that were the problem coupled with NHL’s lack of support that caused them to move.

      Similarly, PHX isn’t about the fans. It’s about a bad arena contract that no one is happy with.

      • mrminkus - Jun 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        The only thing I would add to your comment is that in both cases (Atlanta and Phoenix), the NHL acted shamefully. Atlanta did not go down the same road as Glendale, namely providing financial support for incompetent ownership groups. They lost their team because of it.
        If the NHL truly believed in their official stance that they don’t like to move teams and want to make their existing markets work, they would not have behaved as they did in either Phoenix or Atlanta. They would have supported those teams financially, rather than trying to extort money out of taxpayers. If the NHL will not provide proper support for markets they chose, why should the be given gifts funded by taxpayers?

  15. chrisk61 - Jun 29, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    relocation to seattle. book it. and will happen very quickly, probably within 2 wks, to enable seattle to be active for 13-14 season.

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