Well, that was yet another Arizona Coyotes anticlimax:
The Coyotes and Arizona State University announced that the Coyotes have entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Catellus Development Corp., ASU’s athletic facilities district developer, to work towards the finalization of a new arena and commercial development project within the 330-acre district along Tempe Town Lake. The team would have until June 30, 2017 to review the land and get the political, development, architectural and financial plans required to build it in order.
In other words, Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc still has no idea who’s going to pay for a new arena. He does know where he wants to build it — Tempe, not Scottsdale — only four months after saying he knew where he wanted to build it, and has agreed to exclusively talk to that city about building there, at least until he doesn’t.
As for the actual money, here’s what LeBlanc had to say today:
“There will be several tranches of money that will be utilized to build the arena of which the Coyotes will be the largest tranche,” he said. “The Coyotes will be the lead investor in this facility and ASU also has a financial commitment toward the project.
“We’re not looking for general funds from any governmental organization, but we need to form a very strong partnership with the State of Arizona and the City of Tempe. We also have to work with a variety of stakeholder groups such as Goldwater Institute and others so they understand what it is we’re trying to do. These projects have a process.”
Ignore the fancy language like “tranche” and you have: We’re going to put in some money, Arizona State University is going to put in some money, and the city and state will put in some money, but we have to run all this up the flagpole and see who salutes, so go away for now and don’t bother us.
There was talk back in the spring of LeBlanc asking for massive sales tax kickbacks to help fund an arena and surrounding development, but he’s maintained radio silence on this and all other funding questions since then. So, either he’s biding his time and working behind the scenes for subsidies, or he has a secret plan to pay for an arena out of his own pocket but doesn’t want to spoil the surprise. You make the call which seems more likely.