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

Jun 28, 2013, 11:42 PM EDT

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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.

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