So we know that Arizona state legislators aren’t crazy about the idea of giving the Coyotes $170 million in state sales-tax money for a new arena so they can leave Glendale (and possibly as much as $375 million apiece for another other sports construction deals that come along), but what do Arizona voters think of the plan? Turns out they really, really hate it:
Seven out of 10 voters statewide and in Maricopa County say they oppose using sales tax dollars to help pay for a new hockey arena, according to a survey released Tuesday.
Eight out of 10 reject state legislation that would create a special taxing district to build an arena. That number grew to nine in 10 when poll respondents were told about the remaining public debt on the arena that Glendale built for the Coyotes in 2003.
In case you think this sounds like the more residents learn about the deal the more they hate it, yeah, exactly:
“The poll shows that the more voters know about the proposed plan the less they like it,” [poll conductor Bert] Coleman said in a release.
All this is leading some people (okay, sportswriters) to flip out about what will happen in the Coyotes are forced to leave, but, you know, there is a perfectly acceptable arena there in Glendale — it’s just that Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc is throwing a hissy fit over having to play there without getting paid $8 million a year to do so. Sure, this could potentially be the final straw that tips LeBlanc into moving the team elsewhere, but that 1) is far from certain, given that he’s already extended his Glendale lease once to buy time and 2) could be true of pretty much anything, and you can’t negotiate a sports lease while tiptoeing around in fear that if you make any demands, the team will bolt. I mean, you can, and elected officials do so all the time, but it’s stupid and counterproductive.
Anyway, now that the people of Arizona have spoken that LeBlanc should suck it up and stay in Glendale, it’ll be very interesting to see what the response is. My money’s on flying to Seattle for the weekend and seeing if that throws a scare into the populace.