Coyotes stay in Phoenix as city council passes arena lease
Story by Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor - email
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Phoenix Coyotes took a big step toward stability Tuesday night when the Glendale City Council ratified an arena lease agreement with a prospective owner of the franchise.
After making a few alterations, the council voted 4-3 in favor on a 15-year, $225 million lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment during a special session.
"Everybody who's followed this saga has said decide something or just shoot us," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. "Fortunately, we got the result we needed to stay in a great place and a great hockey town."
The vote clears the way for RSE to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL, which has been running the team the past four years.
The decision had been in doubt as RSE and the city went through tense negotiations over the past few weeks.
RSE may have swung the vote in its favor earlier in the day when it announced a partnership with Global Spectrum, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers, to help manage Jobing.com Arena.
RSE must finalize its lease agreement with Glendale and its purchase of the team by Aug. 5.
"We went into this hopeful and we're very, very happy, very grateful not only to the councilmembers here, but all the residents and taxpayers here," RSE partner Anthony LeBlanc said. "We are looking forward to a solid partnership and making this a (success) for all those concerned."
The meeting attracted hundreds of Coyotes fans and Glendale residents, who showed their pleasure or displeasure in the chambers by putting their thumbs up and down. An overflow crowd downstairs in the employee lounge also cheered and booed at a closed-circuit monitor.
The meeting also was attended by Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney and player Derek Morris, along with NHL Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who received a rare standing ovation as they entered the chambers.
RSE reached a deal to buy the Coyotes from the NHL last month and spent several weeks negotiating with Glendale for an arena lease deal, the final hurdle in its attempt to purchase the franchise.
After weeks of back and forth, RSE accepted numerous revisions to an initial draft of the lease agreement, including a $50,000 payment to the city if the Coyotes play less than 41 games, but stood firm on an out clause for the city.
The city had asked for the clause to match a provision that allows RSE to relocate the team after five years or if it accrues $50 million in losses.
Nick Wood, an attorney representing RSE, said the out clause was out of the question, but made a concession on the deal, offering to pay the city any losses in revenue above $6 million should the team be relocated.
After a long debate, the council agreed to vote on an amended lease agreement without the clause.
"It's a sad day when you put sports, a leisure, in front of our future, which is the kids," said councilmember Norma Alvarez, who voted against the deal.
The city also was concerned about a $15 million fee to manage Jobing.com Arena.
Glendale budgeted $6 million to operate the arena, but RSE projected between $8.5 and $11 million in revenue from arena naming rights, parking, rent, ticket surcharges and other streams to make up the difference.
RSE added a provision in the deal that called for it to pay the difference if revenues don't cover the $6 million the city has budgeted to run the arena.
After a council meeting that lasted about four hours, the council voted in favor of the deal despite reservations from some councilmembers.
The partnership with Global Spectrum may have been the turning point.
A subsidiary of international sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectator, Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum manages 113 facilities around the world, including the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers. The company also operates University of Phoenix Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals that's on the south end of the Westgate Entertainment District where Jobing.com Arena is located.
RSE has projected $8.5 million to $11 million in revenue to Glendale, which budgeted $6 million to manage Jobing.com Arena.
Bringing in Global Spectrum would likely increase the number of non-hockey event dates at the arena and LeBlanc called the partnership the final piece of the deal.
"This is not a perfect deal by any means, but it's certainly the best deal we've had," said councilmember Manny Martinez, who voted for the agreement.
The NHL has operated the Coyotes since former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009.
After numerous suitors came forward and fell back through the years, the franchise is finally headed toward a stable future.
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
MESA, AZ (CBS5) - Mesa police have identified the body found in a dumpster early Friday morning as a 14-year-old Mesa girl. Police said Claudia Ann Lucero was last seen at her Mesa home about 6:30 a.m.More >>
Mesa police have identified the body found in a dumpster early Friday morning as a 14-year-old Mesa girl.More >>
MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Mesa police have released the identity of a 14-year-old girl whose dead body was found in a trash container and say her death was a homicide. Police say the body of Claudia Ann LuceroMore >>
Police say the body of Claudia Ann Lucero was found early Friday and that she was last seen Thursday morning at her home.More >>
EL CENTRO, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - Officials have released some of the names of the people arrested during Wednesday's massive drug trafficking bust in Imperial Valley. But as we previously reported,More >>
Officials have released some of the names of the people arrested during Wednesday's massive drug trafficking bust in Imperial Valley.More >>
WASHINGTON (AP) — Comet ISON, once optimistically called the comet of the century, is dead, the victim of a way-too-close brush with the sun. It was barely a year old. The comet, which excited astronomersMore >>
Comet ISON, once optimistically called the comet of the century, is dead, the victim of a way-too-close brush with the sun. It was barely a year old.More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - A hungry cat that managed to get its head stuck in a can of dog food is freed by a firefighter in a heartwarming rescue. Two women saw the cat nearly get hit by a car inMore >>
A hungry cat that managed to get its head stuck in a can of dog food is freed by a firefighter in a heartwarming rescue.More >>
KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - A 32-year-old Kingman foster mother has been sentenced to 100 days in jail for the accidental bathtub drowning of an 8-month-old baby in her care. Superior Court Commissioner DerekMore >>
Sheriff's detectives said Stone found the infant face down in the tub when she returned to the bathroom after going to get a towelMore >>
SPARTA, Wis. (AP) - A former minister has been sentenced to life in prison for molesting a young boy in western Wisconsin. Sixty-six-year-old Michael Delaney, from Tomah (TOH'-mah), was convicted of sexuallyMore >>
The life sentence was mandatory because Delaney has prior sexual assault convictions.More >>