The Arizona Coyotes‘ search for a new home in the Phoenix arena now that Glendale has said they’d have to bid for the right to operate their old arena there is “moving pretty quickly,” with multiple possible locations, according to team CEO Anthony LeBlanc:
“I don’t think anything has progressed to a point where it would be prudent to state what options look like but things are moving pretty quickly; in particular with a couple of these options,” he said. “The city of Phoenix has been the most vocal. They have an NBA franchise (Suns) that they are very tied to and they want to ensure there’s no hiccup in regards to that.
“We’re working as closely as we can to understand what all the options look like and there are other communities and stakeholders we are talking to.”
In addition to Phoenix, the Coyotes have had at least “some level of discussion” around sites in Tempe and Glendale, according to Arizona Sports. There’s been no indication of how an arena in any of these places would be paid for, let alone whether any of these cities would offer the kind of sweetheart arena operating lease that the team has become accustomed to in Glendale — for all we know, “some level of discussion” just means these cities joined the team’s “So You Want To Have A Hockey Franchise?” Facebook group.
LeBlanc himself, in fact, immediately took the opportunity to use these phantom arenas as a way to try to pressure Glendale into reconsider its opposition to giving him a no-bid contract to run their arena:
“Our hope is that somebody will take a look at what Broward County has done and ask a simple question: ‘Has there been an economic analysis of what happens if the Coyotes leave?’ Unfortunately, if you’re going to ignore the revenue impact of the team being here and you’re only going to look at what your expectation is on the expense side, you’re not going to make the right decisions.”
There’s a recall election today of the Glendale city councilmember who helped push through the Coyotes’ lease deal in the first place by conducting secret lobbying of his council colleagues, which may help explain some of LeBlanc’s timing here.