Coyotes sign up for another year in Glendale, this could keep going on forever

Arizona Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc already once declared that there was no way his team could play any longer at Glendale’s arena now that they didn’t manage it (and get paid handsomely for doing so), and then agreed to extend his lease for another year. So it should really be no surprise that, despite vowing not to do it again, LeBlanc’s successor Andrew Barroway has done it again:

“We are absolutely planning to play next season at Gila River Arena and are focused on building a winning hockey team, positively contributing to our community, and achieving success in all aspects of our business,” said Ahron Cohen, the team’s chief operating officer told The Arizona Republic...

The Coyotes had until Dec. 31 to notify AEG, the arena manager, whether the team plans to play elsewhere for the 2018-19 season. If the team does nothing, the lease automatically renews for one more year in Glendale.

Cohen noted the Coyotes have an “evergreen lease,” meaning it can continually renew annually with AEG.

Dale Adams, AEG general manager, said the Coyotes never gave him the impression that they would leave.

“I don’t know where they would go,” Adams said.

That’s an excellent point, since Coyotes arena plans are continuing to go nowhere fast. It’s entirely possible that the team will continue to bumble along (both on-ice and in terms of getting fans to show up) in Glendale for the foreseeable future, since apparently that’s still more lucrative than spending their own money to build a new arena in a better location elsewhere in the Phoenix area, and nobody seems to think that moving to Houston or Quebec, say, would be a better option. This is why one generally shouldn’t believe team move threat ultimatums: On rare occasions they’re true, but at least 90% of the time they’re just hissy fits.

11 comments on “Coyotes sign up for another year in Glendale, this could keep going on forever

  1. I used to live in Mesa (three towns over from Glendale), and I can tell you NO ONE on my job cared about the Coyotes (not many Suns or Diamondback fans either for that matter), and if they left it would get no discussion. Basically, the few hockey fans there care about out of state teams (in my case it is the Islanders). I do think this announcement indicates Coyote ownership believes it can get something done when it comes to a new facility. Otherwise, they would have sold the team, and next year they would be in Quebec City (especially because the Islanders are not). We will see if they are right.

  2. Coyotes GM John Chayka stated uncertainty over the arena is not an issue for the players and he added that they are working hard on an arena solution closer to their fan base.

    • Given their attendance history, moving in any direction for any number of miles could legitimately be considered “closer to their fan base”.

  3. “I don’t know where they would go” should be the go-to quote every time a threat to move is made by any team officials.

  4. Nope. Houston is Calgary’s relocation thread, Quebec is Ottawa’s. I doubt Bettman has any interest in threatening a states team.

    • Since when are relocation threats specific to one location though? The move from Phoenix to Houston makes just as much sense.

    • This is a very widely held belief. The biggest problem the franchise has had (and will likely always have) is that it literally has no significant appeal to the general public in the Phoenix area. They do have a small group of fans who attend games and love the team, but it’s not nearly large enough to support the business (nor is it willing to pay true NHL prices to watch NHL hockey).

      The team’s regional tv broadcasts tend to draw viewers at the same rate a test pattern or TV bingo would. It’s not a problem a new/free/”we’ll pay you to play in after we build it at no cost to you” deal is going to solve.

      This is a team that (a few years ago) was being paid $15m a year to play in a free arena and being paid $18m in revenue sharing from it’s sister clubs and still lost money.

      It is the very definition of a failed business.

      • As I understand the concept of advertising, it is to make you crave something you didn’t know existed 30 seconds ago.

        Don’t the Coyotes do any marketing? Have they tried and failed to lure new fans in the door?

        • They once offered 4 tickets and a fifth of Vodka for $25 as I recall. I think that went well.

          I have a couple of snowbird friends who take in a game whenever they are in Phoenix (they mostly go for the weather and golfing, of course). Both have told me that they were asked for their zip/postal code at the arena when they went through the turnstiles. A couple of weeks later the Coyotes called them at home in Canada to see if they would be interested in a fly in game/hotel room package.

          When you are cold calling fans thousands of miles away to see if they might possibly be interested in seeing a game, you should really reexamine your market.

  5. Watching the Coyotes defy gravity by continuing to exist is one of the side pleasures of a NHL season. There’s no sporting or business case for them but they struggle on all the same…