Coyotes owner to Glendale: Plenty of cities would be glad to have us, don’t make me show you

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.


17 comments on “Coyotes owner to Glendale: Plenty of cities would be glad to have us, don’t make me show you

  1. LeBlanc is probably correct in assuming that there are some monumentally stupid pols in the Valley who jump at the chance to subsidize his plaything. Mayor Stanton and Council member Nowakowski of Phoenix have said that they’d like to have another team at which to toss money. Whether they can convince their constituents to go along is another story, but then the Voice of the People usually doesn’t count for much in these deals. It’s the Money of the People that is important.

  2. Not that I care if they move or threaten to, but what are the obstacles with the Suns? Obviously scheduling, basketball played on an ice-cold floor, revenue sharing (or lack thereof) of event revenue and????

    How does it (revenue, scheduling, etc) work with the Staples Center? 3 teams call it home.

  3. I don’t know how anyone can look at this fiasco in Phoenix and think that a Las Vegas franchise is a good idea.

  4. @JC

    I don’t think regular season is a big deal, since you’re only talking about a couple of home dates a week per team (the playoffs are another matter – here’s an article about the time when all Staples Center teams were in the playoffs: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/sports/staples-center-gets-no-rest-with-lakers-clippers-and-kings-in-playoffs.html).

    And while no other arena has three professional tenants, you have Verizon Center in DC with the Wiz, Caps, and Georgetown basketball, or MSG with the Knicks, Rangers, St. John’s, and basically a concert on every non-sports night.

  5. The issue with the Suns is that they already have an arena, which would end up having to compete with a new Coyotes arena for concerts, etc. Or they’d have to share a new arena and decide how to split revenues and costs.

  6. Can’t the Suns play a year in Glendale while the downtown arena gets a facelift? Like how the Sonics played a year in Tacoma and the Warriors in San Jose?

  7. I don’t think a facelift of the Suns’ arena will do anything to solve the Coyotes’ problem. They need not only an arena to play in, but also a massive subsidy to play there. It’s unlikely the Suns will agree to give up much of what they already have, so it would come down to the taxpayers once again paying the Coyotes to be tenants. That’s certainly not out of the question since a lot of the local pols look at the Glendale mess and say “How can we get in on that too?!?”

  8. Also, the Suns arena is too short to really fit hockey – when the Coyotes played there, one whole end was obstructed view, like the Islanders are dealing with in Brooklyn. It’d take more than one year of renovations to change that, even if you could somehow find a sucker to both pay for that and then pay the Coyotes to play there.

  9. Also, there have been claims that Talking Stick Arena has some back of the house areas which are quite small, such as loading docks. The claims also say that they have or will lose concerts because of this.

    So I believe the only way Coyotes/Suns are co-tenants again is in a new building.

  10. “I don’t think a facelift of the Suns’ arena will do anything to solve the Coyotes’ problem.”. Since it’s the coyotes problem, let them solve it themselves. Just like grownups do. The Coyotes created their own problem.

  11. ‘Has there been an economic analysis of what happens if the Coyotes leave?’

    Oh boy. Plenty of fodder for ridicule there. The first thing that would happen is nearly $40m a year that had been disappearing into thin air would stop doing so.

    About half of that is money the NHL transfers from fans in other markets via revenue sharing, but the other half has been split between the team owners (for more than a decade) and the city taxpayers… though that split has seldom been anything like equitable.

    The total economic impact of the hockey team leaving is not “nothing”, but it is unlikely that the lost taxation revenues would even equal the subsidies that have been provided to the club, let alone exceed them. Maybe Phx area Bentley or Lambo dealers would suffer, along with high end home sales (multimillionaire players leaving…), but none of that justifies the millions of tax dollars wasted on this enterprise.

  12. While simple economics might say that Glendale should not renew their agreement with the Coyotes, the surrounding community members would say otherwise, including the tenants of the Westgate Entertainment District, where the arena sits.

    Once those tenants vacate Westgate, which only recently has begun to near full capacity, the true impact of the club leaving the market will be felt. At that point, not only will you see a hockey team close up show, you’ll also see anchor retail developments close up shop.

  13. Oh, c’mon, those 40-ish game days a year are that much more lucrative than the other 320-ish? i.e. If game days become non-game days, the revenues will be such that the place will die? Sorry, not buying it.

  14. Though I think the post above was not serious, I find it somewhat hard to believe that a bunch of hockey fans, before they leave for the game, say something along the lines of “I am going to go see the Coyotes, then buy a new sport coat”. And even so, wouldn’t a city investment of $40,000,000 to keep a local commercial development in business be that big bad word of “Socialism”?

  15. @Mike

    I don’t live in Glendale, so I can’t say I know all the facts, but why would the tenants vacate Westgate if the Coyotes leave?

    Sure, the tenants’ list looks, by and large, to be food joints (really hard to tell b/c Westgate’s store directory sucks) but the tenants must hope there is foot traffic on the other 250+(?) days there aren’t arena events or they wouldn’t be there. I highly doubt the likes of Nail & Spa place or Pottery Place are counting on arena traffic.

    In fact, they may be better off if there ISN’T hockey. The movie theatre knows it has to create traffic on its own b/c no one goes to a movie AND a hockey game in one sitting. And AMC might even be threatened that arena events are scaring people away b/c of traffic or that people are substituting their movie entertainment dollars with hockey.

    A place like this, if it gets going, creates a life or vibe of its own. Santana Row (also known as Satan’s Row) in San Jose is a prime example. http://www.santanarow.com/ That place is HOPPING.

    Interestingly, it sits across from Valley Fair Mall. Those two spaces sucked the life from downtown when they opened. Stores and eateries closed left and right. It hasn’t been until recently that downtown is coming back to life. Even though the Shark tank has been there for 20+ years, the real impetus has been the building of hi-rise apartments and condos and people moving back downtown.

    So, my belief is that an arena is only a small piece to the puzzle, not the anchor.

  16. Interesting if the Coyotes have no choice but to leave Glendale because they have to bid for the right to operate the arena there. One of the reasons the Arizona Cardinals play and had the stadium built in Glendale is because of the Phoenix Coyotes and the area that was developed there.