Coyotes’ $170m tax kickback bill is mostly dead, owners go back to drawing board

So if Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman though that threatening vaguely that the franchise “cannot survive” in its existing arena in Glendale was going to shake loose money from the state legislature, yeah, no, that’s not happening. State senate president Steve Yarbrough told the Arizona Republic yesterday that “I have no expectation that that bill is going to move,” and even the bill’s sponsor was reduced to mumbling something about how where there’s life, there’s hope:

[Sen. Bob] Worsley, who pushed the bill through a committee he chairs in February, said it “may be the case” the legislation is in trouble. Yet he noted that no bills truly are dead until the Legislature adjourns.

So assuming that the bill to write as much as $1 billion in blank checks to local sports teams for new buildings isn’t going anywhere, now what? Barroway and his co-owners may not be getting paid $8 million a year to run the Glendale arena anymore, but they still have a fairly cushy lease that has already been extended through 2018, so they can easily keep going year-to-year while trying to find some other Phoenix-area elected body eager to throw public money at them. They could try to move the team, but the options there aren’t much better: Quebec would require selling the team to Quebecor, Seattle still doesn’t have an NHL-ready arena, and other cities are even more of a shot in the dark. The real answer here appears to be “if you’re going to buy a hockey franchise, maybe don’t buy one that plays in a non-hockey hotbed and has never been able to draw flies,” but Barroway and company have made their bed, so honestly unless you’re a Coyotes fan, there’s no reason to worry about how they choose to lie in it.

13 comments on “Coyotes’ $170m tax kickback bill is mostly dead, owners go back to drawing board

  1. Seattle may not be ready, but Portland sure as hell is.

    Besides, there’s always Saskatoon.

    • Yep, I’ve been beating the Portland drum for awhile as well. NHL compatible arena plus Paul Allen is warming up to the idea of having a hockey team in the building. Makes too much sense so it probably won’t happen.

      If the Coyotes are hell bent on staying in the Valley then Bettman, Silver, Sarver, Coyote ownership and the Mayor of Phoenix need to sit down and figure out how to get a single arena done. No way in hell should they build 2 more arenas.

      • There might not be even one new arena built

        A remodeled Phoenix Suns arena downtown? City studying idea

    • Saskatoon is a city of 230,000 people – smaller than Glendale, and not adjacent to a city of 5m+. The city itself claims 300k, but this includes a couple of its adjacent communities (in fact, all of them).

      Yes, they have hockey fans, that’s true.. The arena was built in 1983 and holds just 14,000 fans (so, a two decades older MTS centre in Winnipeg… without some of the amenities that building has).

      The arena is also located off a major highway leading out of the cit… it is anything but “downtown”. The NHL is not coming to Saskatoon for anything but exhibition games.

  2. I feel Glendale should be able to support a team, their population is only 30K shy of Buffalo. If the Coyotes can’t get enough support from 5M in the greater Phoenix area, then I doubt moving them anywhere else in Phoenix will do the job.

    • A good number of Sabres fans cross the border from Canada, and besides, there’s no NBA competition for the sports dollars in Buffalo

    • I think you are right, Dave.

      The Coyotes play 41 home games a year over roughly six months. That’s about 3 games every two weeks. If Phoenix fans were willing to travel to two games a month (as they do for the Cardinals) we would not be talking about this team’s troubles.

      They aren’t willing to do anything to support this club in the numbers required. So why should Glendale or Phoenix taxpayers pay to “save” them?

  3. Kern says arena bill dead
    -via Darrell Jackson, Glendale Star reporter,

  4. If the owners are losing as much money/require so much taxpayer subsidy as they claim, why wouldn’t they be willing to sell to Quebecor (or someone else)?

    They made a bad investment decision. That is no-one else’s fault and no-one else’s problem to fix.

  5. – Hearing the name Randy Frankel…Potential new partner for Andrew Barroway in Arizona with the Coyotes.

    – It’s been a tough season on and off the Ice for the Coyotes…poor performance by the team has reflected heavily in team losses.

    – Its affected attendance and forced a mid-season cash call for the ownership group of 20 million dollars.

    Tweets via Twitter, John Shannon – @JSportsnet

  6. Thanks to @JSportsnet for joining us on The Show @kjzzphoenix & giving us the latest scoop on the Arizona Coyotes’ ownership situation
    – Steve Goldstein, via Twitter, @offcentervoice

    KJZZ’s The Show March 28, 2017 – John Shannon’s (@JSportsnet) interview

  7. My Turn: Glendale is a cautionary tale on publicly funded sports facilities–coyotes-cautionary-tale/99846688/