The deadline for applications to run Glendale’s arena was Friday, and lo and behold, the city got three bids! We don’t know who the bidders are yet or what their bids are because city officials aren’t talking — finalists will be announced January 4, with a winner to be selected on February 8.
If you’re coming late to this story and wondering why on earth you should care about Glendale’s arena management contract, this was the huge sticking point in the Arizona Coyotes‘ old now-canceled lease: Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc insisted it was perfectly reasonably for Glendale to pay him $7-8 million a year to run the place, while Glendale officials figured they could get a better deal by shopping around. We do know that none of the new bidders are LeBlanc, so if nothing else, we’ll now see what the market rate is for operating a money-losing arena in an outlying suburb.
It’ll also be interesting to see if the new arena management plans include any contingencies for whether or not the Coyotes are there, since LeBlanc has already started exploring every option under the sun to get the hell out of there rather than have to be renters. It’s rare that we see owners’ claims about what’s a reasonable deal put to any kind of a market test — even one with only three bidders — so I can’t be the only one eagerly waiting to see what is revealed on January 4.