The moment we never thought would arrive has: The Phoenix Coyotes have been sold, to George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc, and assorted other wealthy Canadians for $170 million. Or as we like to call it here, $55 million less than the new owners will get from Glendale, Arizona over the next 15 years for playing there.
Over the next 15 years, that is, assuming the Coyotes stay put. Gosbee and LeBlanc negotiated an out clause where the team can move after five years if it’s lost $50 million over that time, which should be a pretty easy bar to reach if they want, given sports bookkeeping and the fact that it’s the Coyotes. Gosbee reassured Arizonans by noting that he wants to retire to the Phoenix area, and his home in Calgary was destroyed by floods, and calling the out clause “frustrating” to his plans to rebuild a fan base in the Phoenix area. Hey, here’s a crazy idea: If you find the out clause frustrating, how about you don’t put it in the deal in the first place?
Anyway, in the meantime, Glendale still has to pay that $15 million a year worth of “operating subsidies” (a fraction of which will come back to the city via ticket surcharges and parking fees). There hasn’t been any progress that I can tell on the proposal to sell City Hall to pay for past subsidies, but Glendale is considering closing a fire station. But things aren’t all bad: There’s a new city manager, and she likes sharks!