Coyotes keep sticking around Glendale, somehow this is supposed to be a threat?

Arizona Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway renewed his team’s lease on its Glendale home arena for another season on Friday, just as he did last year, and just as his predecessor Anthony LeBlanc did two years before that. This would seem to put the final nail in the coffin of any notion that the team has lots of other cities eager to throw money at it for an arena, as LeBlanc insisted more than three years ago, and so maybe Glendale can ratchet down its threat level a bit from DEFCON 1.

At least, it would seem so to me, but clearly I do not understand the modern journalism, because here is how the Arizona Republic reported it:

But a one-year lease does nothing to secure the team in the city, or the state, for the long term.

The team has looked to Phoenix and the East Valley in recent years, and there is speculation that the franchise will leave the state altogether, perhaps for Houston, if it doesn’t get the investment it’s looking for.

Perhaps for Houston. Not that Houston isn’t a big city — it is, I’ve checked! — but if Barroway or LeBlanc or anyone had really wanted to move to Houston, they could have done so anytime in that last three years, so this is hardly some new looming threat. In fact, if you click through that Republic link, you get to a Houston Chronicle story theorizing that now that the Coyotes are moving to the Central Division it would make it easier for them to move to Houston, which is one of those typical fan conspiracy theories that ignores the fact that no team in any sport has ever moved somewhere just to make divisional alignments more convenient, so come on, seriously.

The Coyotes absolutely could move out of Glendale, and even out of Arizona altogether, and maybe it would even arguably be a good idea, given its perpetually poor attendance figures. (A good idea for its owners and the NHL, I mean, not for poor Coyotes fans who’ve suffered through this mess and then would end up with bupkis.) But the team re-upping on a new one-year lease is not a crisis, it’s a sign of an emerging new equilibrium. And talk of putting money into arena upgrades to lure the team owners into signing a longer-term lease, as Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps has suggested, is only worth it if the city can get a long extension in exchange for not too much in upgrade cash — and, ideally, increased rent to help pay back the upgrade costs from new team revenues.

Trying to negotiate something that can work for all sides is always a good thing. Just so long as you keep in mind that at the end of the day you can always walk away from the table if it’s too rich for your blood, especially since it seems like the worst-case scenario, in the short term at least, is likely to be more of these annual Arizona Republic scare headlines when the team renews its lease for yet another year.


16 comments on “Coyotes keep sticking around Glendale, somehow this is supposed to be a threat?

  1. To be fair to go to Houston or Quebec city would mean having to sell the team. Since the arenas in those cities are controlled by the Rockets and the company that applied for an NHL expansion team.

  2. Houston is huge, but it’s WHL and IHL/AHL experience was a generation ago. So you’d have to create interest all over again. It would be just like Phoenix, only with more people who aren’t clamoring for hockey, and much more humidity. And you’d have competition from soccer, and a much better baseball team.

  3. The AHL team only left a couple of years ago. I am not saying Houston would be great but they have an arena and the Rockets owner met with the NHL recently

    • It’s doable, agreed. It sounds like Houston would be Bettman’s preference (large media market and reasonably good support for other teams in the past… so hockey ‘history’ of a sort).

      If they move, Houston would be my bet. Bring back the Aeros….

  4. “In fact, if you click through that Republic link, you get to a Houston Chronicle story theorizing that now that the Coyotes are moving to the Central Division it would make it easier for them to move to Houston, which is one of those typical fan conspiracy theories that ignores the fact that no team in any sport has ever moved somewhere just to make divisional alignments more convenient, so come on, seriously.”

    True, and for obvious reasons. Recall, though, that when the NFL was debating Chargers/Raiders to Carson vs Rams to Inglewood, the NFL relocation committee all but unanimously voted for Carson. The lone dissenter, Clark Hunt of the Hunt Chiefs in Kansas City, asserted [by some accounts at least] that his opposition was out of fear that with both the Spanos Chargers and the Davis Raiders in the same home venue, one of them would have to leave the AFC West, and he hated the notion of rearranging the AFC West. Seems to me that the bull which shat then in KC just shat more recently in Houston.

    And, of course, these days the Hunt Chiefs are marketed heavily in the eastern half of the state of Misery. Who’d have thought?

  5. Fertitta controls the Houston arena. He has the right to accept or decline another owner’s NHL franchise.

    It makes perfect sense that Barroway would sign a one-year deal in Glendale while he’s negotiating a sale to Fertitta.

    • If he’s about to sell to Fertitta, I’m thinking he prrrrrrrobably would have just instructed his team president to say that any new owners would prioritize staying in Arizona. You know, to avoid looking like an idiot.

  6. Longshot, but maybe whoever buys the Trailblazers (and by default will buy the arena as well) will want an NHL team to keep the stadium occupied on more dates. Or not.

    The whole thing is a shame. That stadium district in Glendale is pretty cool (albeit a bit cheesy), but apparently it’s just too far from their pool of potential season ticket holders to keep the team and the arena financially viable.

  7. Two now looking for the ‘one’?

    ‘I can confirm there are at least two separate groups/parties with legitimate interest in purchasing the Coyotes and keeping them in Arizona (providing they can secure a new building after the fact).’

    https://www.thefourthperiod.com/pagnotta/senators-have-busy-eight-weeks-ahead/

  8. The idea that cities like Seattle, Houston, and especially Vegas that had never hosted an NHL team before should go to the front of the line or are automatically a good idea is just plain absurd. Houston for one has had issues with attendance in all sports for years prior to recently, and the Astros had major attendance issues this past season during their slump despite being the defending champions!

    The Coyotes should absolutely move but if anything it should be to Quebec City. That market being passed over for Seattle and Vegas is just disgraceful and shows that the NHL is never going to consider them.

    I do like the idea of a team in Portland though, especially with both Seattle and Vancouver having them as well as San Jose in Northern California.

    Imo the Coyotes, Panthers, and Ducks should move yesterday.

    • The Ducks? They’re not going anywhere. Not only do they have a strong fan base, but the team owner/arena operator just extended the team’s lease until 2048 after investing heavily in arena upgrades over the last 5 years. Shocking I know, considering all the other owners out there would consider a 26 year old arena to be unusable!

      • A strong fan base? Take a look at their attendance numbers sometime. They’re a disgrace to the sport. Unless that had a dramatic change recently, which I highly doubt.

    • I don’t know that I want to live in a world where a baseball team that draws 2.9 million fans in a season is said to have attendance issues.

  9. There are a number of factors impacting the coyotes. The NHL does not want any team to transfer…why??? Expansion fee $$$. Transfers do not provide the same $$$. Houston is not an option (IMO) NHL tix are more expensive than AHL tix. If a team is having troubles getting fans to get out. A higher tix price is not gonna do it. Any serious hockey fan in AZ should identify that the team is not serious about winning. They don’t care and part of the realignment is to get the snowbird fan more interested in the coyotes and when they visit AZ they might go to games and be willing to open the wallet for a game…like they would back home in Chicago, St. Louis or Minnesota. The move to the central division gets those fans more interested in coyote games. Think I am nuts? Why is Tampa & Fla in the Atlantic Div.? Because they are also selling to the snowbird hockey fans that will support that team and pay the high tix price.

    • Also maybe because Tampa and Miami are, you know, cities along the Atlantic coast…

      Just like Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the New Jersey Giants.

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