Coyotes don’t really have an arena deal in place, everybody stand down

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.

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13 comments on “Coyotes don’t really have an arena deal in place, everybody stand down

  1. Same story over and over again. There is no money to pay for this at ASU!

    But…the Salt River Indian Community does have plenty of
    financial resources.

  2. More details …

    Rick Westhead ‏@rwesthead
    Coyotes pledging at least $100M & have reportedly asked govt to contribute as much as $750M from sales/excise taxes.

    1. Not sure Westhead (even less his twitter feed) can be considered a solid source on what the Coyotes financing plan for the arena is… but whatever.

      Is that $100m in cash up front or is it “we will demand $100m less in operating subsidy than we otherwise would have and so we are putting in $100m so there to all of you who said we wouldn’t/couldn’t”?

      With Leblanc and co, it’s never as simple as they make it sound (anyone else remember the original Ice Edge fratboy effort? It was embarrassing… even by NHL owner/slug standards…)

  3. There has never been a chance that this could be done without at least a ‘buttload’ of taxpayer money. Maybe even more.

    But as we speak, I’m sure LeBlanc is working the Ducey administration. We’ll see if small-government (or efficient-government) Republicans are inclined to dump a bunch of money into this particular hole of cronyism.

  4. Well, there’s this:

    And then this:

    So at least the announcement today will quell any Seattle rumors until after the season when they announce that they couldn’t come up with the funding.

  5. Reddit was less than receptive to the skepticism over the declaration of a “done deal”.

    Apparently you’re “not a reliable source for hockey news” (even though this is arena news and this is a website about arena deals). And also you’re “website only exists to promote your book”.

      1. Reddit is an odd place, parts of it are amazing, and parts of it are just as bad as youtube comment sections. Since the smaller subreddits tend to be pretty insular the behavior is really determined by the local culture.

        Looking at that thread it looks like the culture in r/hockey is garbage. Too bad.

        1. But talk about killing the messenger. How can anybody read the release and fail to notice there is ZERO in there about funding? It’s an agreement to work towards another agreement where the actual deal could be like 10 steps down the line. And its not like any of that is hidden: Skip past all the exciting adjectives and that’s exactly what the press release says.

  6. So it appears the Salt River Community passed on this stadium, so methinks its a money loser for not only tribal governments, the but city, county, and state too (and universities).

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