Glendale gets Coyotes to agree to two-year lease that’s slightly less sucktastic than old one

That was quick: Just six weeks after the city of Glendale acted to terminate the Arizona Coyotes‘ sweetheart lease, the two sides arrived at a revised deal yesterday. Okay, it’s only a deal for a new lease for the next two years, but given that just last month everybody was all lawsuits and vitriol, that’s still impressive.

The old deal, to recap, involved Glendale paying the Coyotes owners $15 million a year for each of the next 15 years, for the privilege of having the NHL team bless the city’s publicly built arena with its presence. (And operate the arena, something that the Coyotes owners insist is worth a ton of money, though others disagree.) In exchange, the city was getting back about $6.7 million a year in ticket taxes, parking revenues, rent, and other sundries, leaving it about $8 million a year in the hole. And while the city couldn’t back out (until it found a loophole that let it do so), the team could break the lease and leave (or renegotiate) at any point.

The new deal breaks down like this:

  • Instead of $15 million a year, Glendale pays the Coyotes owners only $6.5 million a year.
  • The Coyotes owners keep all ticket surcharges and parking fees, which the Globe and Mail says will be worth about $6 million a year, though I had it at more like $5.4 million.
  • The new lease only lasts until summer of 2017, after which everyone has to figure this out all over again.

If you can do simple math — which isn’t me this morning after staying out late at this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway — Glendale just saved about $5 million over the next two years, plus got out of another 11 years of commitment to those $15 million a year payments. So that’s something!

On the other hand, this mostly just kicks the can down the road to 2017, which has some advantages for Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc: The NHL expansion situation should be resolved by then, and there should be more clarity on whether a new arena is likely in Seattle, allowing LeBlanc to level a more fleshed-out move threat then if he wants. Also, Glendale has mayoral and council elections in 2016, so LeBlanc can always hold out hope of getting more amenable negotiating partners into City Hall by then.

On the other other hand, LeBlanc could have used his out clause to do that anyway, so at least current mayor Jerry Weiers and the current council (which is supposed to vote on the new plan this morning) got something out of breaking the lease. And the Coyotes will continue to have the league’s most entertaining ownership and arena saga for the foreseeable future, which is good, because for sure nobody wants to watch them do whatever they claim is playing hockey.


13 comments on “Glendale gets Coyotes to agree to two-year lease that’s slightly less sucktastic than old one

  1. And again, a photo accompanying this saga on other news sites showed a Coyotes fan with a sign made up admonishing the city of Glendale if they fail to come up with a deal to keep the Coyotes in Glendale…I would love to see a reporter sit down with that dope, and other dopey fans and explain in as simple a way as possible how these fans are essentially advocating for the public to subsidize a billionaire sports owner at the expense of their own tax dollars. I’d like to believe that if explained in the most simplistic 3rd grade manner as possible, the tide might turn and these fans would wake up from their stupor and advocate AGAINST these billionaire sports owner extortionists.

  2. Dan, you are seeing the fruits of a dumbed-down culture. First, someone needs to explain it to the reporter and his or her boss. There is lots of money to be made through ignorance before we all collapse into a heap.

  3. While I agree with the sentiments expressed here, I must point out that the owners of the Coyotes are not billionaires. Not even close.

    Which is part of the problem.

  4. Unfortunately, we live in a society where too many people are terrible with money & don’t care enough about it. The mouthbreathers care more about their stupid sports teams & subsidizing billionaires than where their tax dollars go. It’s sickening how stupid people & politicians are that they keep falling for these owner threats. The owners are all laughing at us in their suites because we keep giving them hundreds of millions in money & perks.
    In a way, I want this country to complete collapse so people finally start paying attention, and stop doing things like subsidizing billionaires, drinking $5 coffee, etc.

  5. The people who are most vocal about favoring subsidies may or may not be stupid. And subsidizing an industry that doesn’t need the help and would build places to play anyway is collectively stupid. But the cost to a single fan is relatively small and they get the benefit of keeping their team in town and/or watching in a nicer stadium – paid for with other people’s money. More than a little selfish and perhaps short-sighted, but not necessarily stupid.

  6. Many fans are blindly loyal, the vast majority of the mainstream media tends to promote these projects as beneficial, and those willing to spend the money to promote their side of the story are those who will benefit the most from the project. It’s hard to blame the fans and call them uneducated when they are constantly reminded how good the project will be for the public as a whole.

  7. It’s definitely a confluence of things. Local media almost never challenges the projects (Hell, ten years after CenturyLink was built, the Seattle Times ran a piece about what a great guy Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen was for taking 300 plus million) And it’s gotten to the point where people just start thinking of arenas being public works projects as a given, and they simply don’t think of the services that will end up getting cut.

  8. Dan M: “I would love to see a reporter sit down with that dope, and other dopey fans and explain in as simple a way as possible how these fans are essentially advocating for the public to subsidize a billionaire sports owner at the expense of their own tax dollars.”

    Repeat this scene about 120 times and you begin to see the problem.

  9. does the NHL really know what they’re doing????? Expansion for what reason? because they need the $$$ to support the league? there are 3 teams that should be moved to other cities Arizona, Carolina & Florida

  10. “The people who are most vocal about favoring subsidies may or may not be stupid. And subsidizing an industry that doesn’t need the help and would build places to play anyway is collectively stupid. But the cost to a single fan is relatively small and they get the benefit of keeping their team in town and/or watching in a nicer stadium – paid for with other people’s money. More than a little selfish and perhaps short-sighted, but not necessarily stupid.”
    When these leagues & teams can fully afford to build a new stadium without any taxpayer subsidies, yeah, it is stupid. It beyond stupid. This is a game of extortion & empty threats that idiot politicians keep falling for. I take it you don’t live in a state that has massive debt & is facing many cuts in services. But sure, let’s make sure the billionaires have a shiny new toy because they SO deserve it! Not on my dime.

  11. Try reading the second sentence of my comment, mp34. We’re in agreement, it’s collectively stupid.

    But if the team has to build it themselves, the cost will be passed along to fans. So it kinda makes sense that an individual fan would favor having non-fans help pay. Selfish, unreasonable, wrong, short-sighted but not stupid.

  12. If the team has to build it themselves, the cost will *not* be passed along to fans. Unless you think that when setting prices for tickets, etc., team owners think to themselves, “You know what? We already got a big subsidy from taxpayers — let’s not be greedy about this.”

  13. “If the team has to build it themselves, the cost will *not* be passed along to fans.”

    Yeah, that’s true. The benefit to game-going fans is a more expensive, presumably nicer, stadium than if the team had to build it.

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