Phoenix mayor to announce again just how groovy a new Suns-Coyotes arena would be

If there was any doubt about Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton really wanting to build a new arena for the Suns and Coyotes after the last time he said his city needed one to keep its teams (and also, weirdly, to get the Harlem Globetrotters to appear), it should be dispelled once Stanton gives a speech today about doing just that:

According to sources who have reviewed the mayor’s planned remarks, Stanton will outline his vision for building a new taxpayer-funded arena during his fifth State of the City speech. The mayor is scheduled to speak before a crowd of hundreds of business and political leaders at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel in downtown about noon.

Stanton will use his most visible stage of the year to make it clear that he prefers the arena be a joint-use facility shared by the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams, those sources said.

The Arizona Republic’s sources didn’t specify how Stanton would begin to pay for this, though they did indicate that the mayor would promise not to raise taxes to do it. Using existing taxes, such as the hotel and car rental tax that is currently paying off the Suns’ current arena, is another story — as, presumably, would be asking for state sales tax kickbacks to pay for arena construction.

As to whether this will be Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc’s promised arena announcement to come by the end of the month, that’s anybody’s guess, though it sure sounds like he’s still trying to see who’ll provide the most lucrative bid:

At the same event, LeBlanc told The Republic that the deal would have to allow for equally shared revenues, in which each team would keep the revenue they generated and that both franchises would share non-event revenues, such as naming rights and advertising. The Suns currently have control over revenue at Talking Stick Arena.

“The Coyotes have had multiple conversations with the city of Phoenix and we continue to have detailed discussions,” LeBlanc said in an earlier statement. “However, as we’ve consistently stated, we also continue to have discussions with other Valley locations. It would be premature at this point to indicate a selection has been finalized.”

LeBlanc also trotted out the standard talking points from the new-arena playbook to practice them on the assembled pols:

The trick for the Coyotes, of course, is to come up with an arena plan that isn’t just lucrative, but is more lucrative than the deal in Glendale where they were getting a mostly free arena plus more than $6 million a year in operating subsidies to boot. It’s possible, just maybe, if taxpayers handle the construction costs and there are enough new revenues to split with the Suns, that it could work out to the Coyotes’ benefit. But you can see why they’re busily playing three different sites off against each other to get the best deal — when “we need a new arena and for somebody to cover all our operating losses because nobody comes to our games because we’re a hockey team in the freaking desert” is the agenda, you need all the leverage you can get.

So I wouldn’t expect a Coyotes announcement in the next two weeks, really, not when there’s still more hardball to be played. Talking about it incessantly to get people all excited about where an arena will go instead of why the Phoenix area should be building its third arena in 25 years, though? That’ll definitely happen.

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11 comments on “Phoenix mayor to announce again just how groovy a new Suns-Coyotes arena would be

  1. Two additional issues to provide context to this that should make Mayor Greg Stanton’s position even more untenable: 1. The City of Phoenix budget situation for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year is not particularly strong that a modest tax increase is being recommended — just to keep basic city services running and to make modest investments in municipal infrastructure. 2. Thoughtful people in downtown Phoenix circles are starting to have dialogs and discussions on GPLETs (government property lease excise tax), which are property-tax breaks given to help developers achieve a better quality of product. (Aside: in downtown Phoenix, it hasn’t worked out that well.) So these two factors are leading toward, at least in the downtown Phoenix circles I follow, overwhelming disapproval for this idea.

    I’m wondering how this might affect Maricopa County’s position vis-à-vis the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field… Wouldn’t the more that Mr Stanton talks wanting a new shared Suns / Coyotes arena downtown mean that the County’s arguments are becoming weaker and weaker as the Diamondbacks pivot more toward the City of Phoenix?

  2. Looks like Stanton didn’t provide any more specifics in his actual speech:

  3. Did you just say “groovy” are you serious?

    Also “we need a new arena and for somebody to cover all our operating losses because nobody comes to our games because we’re a hockey team in the freaking desert”

    Who said this? Do you realize you can make ice in an enclosed building right?

  4. That you can. Turns out you can’t make hockey fans with an ice machine, though, as Gary Bettman has learned to his chagrin.

  5. Tim, he did say groovy.

    I’ll give you another outdated expression. You just served up some serious “weak sauce”. Glendale has shown that ice can be made in an enclosed space. What Glendale hasn’t shown is that the Coyotes are anywhere close to a sustaining enterprise without several millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidy per year.

    Eat my shorts, dude.

  6. I love Arizona. I have family there. I visit several times a year, including spring training (great having so many teams training near each other). Weather, desert landscape, sunsets… Beautiful. We want to retire there for sure, maybe move there sooner depending on job/finances.

    That being said, I am absolutely terrified to move there. The amount of subsidies that they have poured into stadiums is absurd while basic services like schools are atrocious overall. From my vantage point, the only reason the tax base hasn’t completely imploded on itself is because of the massive population growth which is pretty much their economic engine.

    Is Arizona the worst when comes to per capita stadium subsidies?

    1. Glendale is the municipality that is the worst in terms of losing city services because of their stadium binge. Other collar cities, less so.

      There are lots of other things to be terrified about when it comes to moving here. Depending on where you move, the effects will vary.

      As for the Coyotes, I remain skeptical. For years some have said “Well, they don’t have a committed local owner” or “Well, if they only had a good team…” They apparently need both of those things to happen simultaneously to sell tickets.

  7. Greg, I think Miami has us beat. But if Suns/Coyotes is a thing and the Diamondbacks get their $187 million or whatever, that’ll be just around the time the Cardinals stadium turns 15, and with all that Super Bowl and NCAA “economic impact,” they’ll definitely be able to siphon more money away from us.

    So, I would guess we’re not even close to Miami at the moment (paying for the football and baseball stadiums for another 20 years, I believe, plus insanity around the basketball arena and who-knows-what with soccer), but we’ll be there soon enough.

  8. Indianapolis is up there on a per-capita basis, too, given all the money they’ve thrown at the Colts and Pacers over the years, and its relatively small size.

  9. If you toss in the spring training facilities (which in theory bring in out of state dollars), Phoenix > Miami by a mile. Indy was the next city that popped into my head as well.

    I hate to say this but any city that feels the need to keep up with their “big brother” nearby is probably more vulnerable. Phoenix tries to keep pace with LA, rust belt cities try to keep up with Chicago, etc. Might also explain why Portland is relatively low on subsidies, because most people here do not want PDX to be like Seattle. Explains Vegas too, sort of.

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