When the City of Glendale receives bids from companies hoping to manage Gila River Arena, the Coyotes won’t be among them.
“The Coyotes have no intention of participating in the Glendale RFP (request for proposal),” Coyotes president, CEO and co-owner Anthony LeBlanc said Wednesday in a terse and brief response.
The story so far: The Coyotes owners had a crazy-sweetheart lease deal with Glendale that paid them almost $8 million a year just to run the arena, then Glendale officials found a loophole that would let them terminate the lease, then the two sides agreed on a new lease that expires in 2017, then Glendale announced it would put in place a competitive bidding process for who’d get to run the arena. Which sounded like a great idea — at least it would determine once and for all what the market will bear in terms of an arena management fee — to everyone except the Coyotes owners, who now say if they have to compete for the right to be paid to manage their own arena, they want no part of it.
Now, there’s nothing stopping the Coyotes from continuing to play in Glendale under someone else’s arena management, but Arizona Sports speculates that the team’s owners have other ideas:
So what does it mean for the Coyotes’ future in Glendale? LeBlanc wouldn’t comment other than to say: “We are committed to Arizona.”
Glaring in its omission from that statement was the word, “Glendale.”
While it is likely the team will remain in Glendale for the remainder of its agreement with the city, the efforts to find another home in the Valley are likely in overdrive now.
Speculation on the possibility of a new downtown arena for the Suns and Coyotes has existed for at least a year. So has the idea of building an arena along the 101 corridor in Scottsdale.
Old arena not working out financially? Just build a new one! Surely that will be the solution, and if it’s not, hopefully you’ve worked out a way to walk away from it debt-free, like you did with the previous one.
Of course, there’s no way on earth the Coyotes will get a new arena anywhere approved and built by 2017 — there isn’t even a hint of a site, let alone a budget or a determination of who would pay for it — so they’re going to have to be somebody’s tenants for at least a season or two. That could be in Glendale, or it could be the Suns‘ arena in Phoenix, which is notably awkward for hockey, one reason the team moved to Glendale in the first place. Maybe the Coyotes owners can even try to get a bidding war going between the two cities — presumably they’re okay with bidding so long as they’re not the ones doing it, right?