SBD/November 28, 2012/Franchises

Glendale Approves Jobing.com Arena Deal, Paving Way For Jamison To Buy Coyotes

Glendale City Council approves $320M Jobing.com Arena lease deal
A Glendale, Ariz., City Council majority yesterday “approved a $320 million arena-management deal and lease" with prospective Coyotes Owner Greg Jamison that "should keep the hockey team as the anchor tenant” for the next 20 years at city-owned Jobing.com Arena, according to the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The agreement, which “passed on a 4-2 vote,” comes after two City Council votes in the past five months and “more than three years of uncertainty.” Jamison said that he “hoped to complete his purchase of the team in the next 30 to 60 days.” Council member Joyce Clark said, “Eight years and 11 months later, hopefully we are celebrating an event as important to our arena as the opening itself.” Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Council member Norma Alvarez, who each voted no, said that the “financially struggling city couldn't afford to pay Jamison an average of $15 million annually to manage the arena.” The reworking of the $324M deal the council approved in June “lightens the city’s payments in the first five years, gives Jamison incentives to bring in more non-hockey events and implements penalties for NHL lockouts” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/28). The proposal would “help Glendale because it would reduce payments in the early years of the 20-year deal and save the city $4 million.” The deal “requires Glendale to cut $17 million from the general fund," which means “trimming dozens of positions within city government over the next five years.” But without the team, Glendale would “still have to trim $12 million” (AP, 11/28).

BIG STEP TOWARD STAYING: SPORTING NEWS’ Sean Gentille writes the decision is “the most definitive move yet to keep the Coyotes in Arizona with Jamison as their owner -- and out of, say, Quebec City.” Whether Jamison “actually has the funds necessary to pay the $170 million price tag” for the team “has been a point of contention for some time.” He “says he does, but that his investors' involvement hinged on the lease" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/28). YAHOO SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski writes of the deal, “For better or worse, this is as much a part of [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman's legacy as any of his lockouts.” It was a “personal crusade to thwart” prospective Owner Jim Balsillie, and then to “overcome the political obstacles in Glendale to justify the time and treasure it took to keep the Coyotes on life support.” If Jamison “closes the deal, it's a victory for Bettman." Based on "the expansion fees the NHL will suck out of Seattle and Quebec City alone, it might be a win.” Wyshynski: “Bottom line: The Coyotes appear close to remaining in Glendale, even if that's the 100,000th time we've written that statement in the last three years” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/28).
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