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THESE COYOTES ARE NO SUN LOVERS: CAT FIGHT IN THE DESERT
Published November 17, 1997
The relationship between the Coyotes and Suns is "so tattered" that Coyotes Owner Richard Burke and Suns President/CEO Jerry Colangelo "no longer speak," according to Kent Somers of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The Coyotes are in the second year of their lease at America West Arena, and the team says that the number of obstructed-view seats and current advertising and sponsorship deals prevents them from "making money" and leads to "higher ticket prices for their fans." Colangelo, however, "disputes nearly every one" of the Coyotes' assertions, contending that they have a "very favorable" lease, and says that their attitude shows a "lack of gratitude for his efforts" in bringing the team to AZ. While Coyotes officials are "careful when discussing their situation at America West," the team says that the revenue streams they were promised have amounted to "trickles" and that the situation "has to change or they will move to another arena." But team officials would prefer to stay where they are. One of the "main sticking points" between the two clubs is the fact that the Suns have the right to sell exclusive corporate sponsorships. The Coyotes say that since they signed their lease the number of such exclusive categories has gone from nine to 21, which they say "limits the scope of packages they can offer advertisers." Colangelo: "Look, my door is always open. ... I've been in this business for 32 years. Some people are novices in the sports business" (Kent Somers, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/15).