Arizona Coyotes and City of Glendale Reach Compromise


It was announced on Thursday morning that the Arizona Coyotes and the City of Glendale have agreed to a new lease agreement. The new agreement will be voted on Friday by the Glendale city council, but it is expected to be approved.

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This amended lease comes after the City of Glendale voted to cancel their previous agreement with the team in June.

Here is just a quick rundown of the notables released from the new lease:

Under the new agreement, Glendale will continue to pay IceArizona to manage Gila River Arena, but at reduced cost of only $6.5 million. This is half of what Glendale was previously paying under the old contract which was $15 million.

As for the Coyotes, the team will collect all hockey related revenue that once went to the City of Glendale under the previous agreement. These revenue streams include; ticket surcharges, parking fees and a portion of naming rights. The infamous out clause that never seemed to go away has been removed from the new agreement. However, this new lease is only good for two years.

As part of the new agreement, the pending court charges must also be dropped.

Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO, Anthony LeBlanc released the following statement,

"“We have come up with a resolution that works for both sides and is best for the team, our fans, the city and most importantly the taxpayers. Neither side benefits from a long, drawn out legal battle. What’s important is putting this dispute behind us and focusing on growing the Coyotes business and in turn, further growing revenues for the entire Westgate Entertainment District. This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action. We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term. We thank Coyotes fans and sponsors for their incredible support throughout this process. They have proven that they are among the most loyal and ardent in the NHL.”"

Glendale Acting City Manager, Dick Bowers, also released a statement,

"“This revised agreement represents a positive outcome for both the city and the Coyotes. It also allows us to move forward in a way that keeps an important economic driver in our community. That’s important for business and it’s important to our citizens.”"

So, here we are again, the massive court battle appears to have been avoided. That’s something that is good for both sides, no matter how egregious, unethical and unprofessional the City of Glendale’s actions were that got us to this point.

The Coyotes sustained big financial losses this offseason as a direct result of Glendale’s actions. It even impacted free agent signings. General Manager Don Maloney stated very openly that the Glendale drama affected the length of contract for Mikkel Boedker. So, it’ll  be good for the Coyotes to get out of the court rooms and turn their focus back to hockey operations.

It’s great that the two sides were able to come together and compromise, but there is something that will undoubtedly be the topic of conversation among Coyotes fans and our friends to the north in Canada; the two year length.

This can go a few different ways. During the two years, the Coyotes could use that time to negotiate with Glendale on a longer lease, they could move to another part of the valley, or they could just leave Arizona all together.

I don’t think IceArizona will relocate out of state, but without an expansion bid from Seattle, look for the “Coyotes to Seattle” rumors to pop up, if they haven’t already.

To me, the most likely thing would be for the Coyotes to move to another area of the valley. After what the City of Glendale pulled, I doubt the Coyotes want to be associated with them for too much longer and of course, Glendale is just a bad location for the team.

Something that I found interesting, LeBlanc continued to state his long term commitment to Arizona. This is something he’s done since before IceArizona purchased the Coyotes from the NHL. The only difference this time in his statement, he didn’t mention Glendale. He usually throws “Glendale” into his long term comments. Thursday however, he did not. He simply left it at “the valley” and “Arizona.” It could be nothing, but it stood out to me when I read his comments.

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Ever since Glendale voted to cancel the original lease, talk of the team moving back to downtown Phoenix has been a hot topic. Phoenix Mayor, Greg Stanton, publicly stated that he would do his best to keep the Coyotes in Arizona and would be open to negotiating with IceArizona to bring the team back downtown.

Stanton also spoke about the Phoenix Suns wanting a new arena in Phoenix. This could all be perfect timing for the Coyotes. If they are unable to build an arena of their own, the next best thing would be to share a new one with the Suns.

A two year buffer for an arena to be constructed isn’t too far fetched either. Ground was broken on U.S. Airways Center (then America West Arena) on August 1, 1990 and opened its doors June 6, 1992. Ground was broken on Gila River Arena (then Arena) on April 3, 2002 and opened its doors on December 26, 2003.

If a new arena is in the works but not finished within two years, the Coyotes could stay in Glendale on a year to year basis until the new arena is finished.

Until the new agreement is voted on, there won’t be any more details or comments from either side. Friday, when the vote takes place, look for more details on the new lease to be revealed along with statements from both Glendale and the Coyotes.

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