SBD/June 27, 2013/Franchises

Two Glendale Officials Call For Final Vote Tuesday On Coyotes, Arena Management Deal

Glendale council members are expected to discuss the Coyotes' future again tomorrow
Glendale Vice Mayor Yvonne Knaack and Council member Gary Sherwood "believe they have the best deal they can get" from prospective Coyotes owner Renaissance Sports & Entertainment to manage Arena, and they have "called for a vote" next Tuesday, according to Paul Giblin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Glendale officials had "not posted a meeting notice by the close of business" yesterday. They could "post the notice as late as" tomorrow and "still meet legal requirements, though city leaders repeatedly have stated that they wanted the deal in the public realm for about a week before a vote." The "hurried negotiations between Glendale officials" and RSE "focused on a use agreement for Arena." Terms to use the arena have "been at the center of numerous failed deals." The council is "expected to meet in private again" tomorrow. But Sherwood said that after a "bevy of late-night phone calls," he determined at about 1:30am PT yesterday that RSE had "made its final offer, so he sent an e-mail requesting a voting meeting." Sherwood said that Knaack later made a "similar request." A letter by Acting City Manager Dick Bowers to council members "sheds light on the tone of the talks." In the letter, which Bowers wrote before Tuesday’s closed-door council meeting, he notes that RSE execs had made "certain concessions, but that negotiations were far from being a done deal." Bowers notes in the letter that RSE execs had "agreed to share" 20% of the revenue from naming rights for the arena (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/27).

THE FINAL CHAPTER: In Phoenix, Scott Bordow writes under the header, "Hey, Glendale: Please Finish Deal For Coyotes." Bordow: "I’m tired of this story, I can’t imagine how the Coyotes’ players, staff and fans are feeling." They have been "teased and tormented for four years now." They have "endured court hearings and potential lawsuits and premature Gary Bettman news conferences." They have "put up with a cast of characters unlike anything we’ve seen in Arizona sports history." Bordow: "Thankfully, the drama will end on Tuesday. The credits will roll and hockey either will be here or it won’t." If the Coyotes "do move, no one will be able to say they were surprised." If they stay, "let’s hope we won’t have to go through this again in five years, when the 'out' clause that’s sure to be in Renaissance’s contract might kick in" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/27).

CITY OF GOODWILL: In Seattle, Geoff Baker writes fans in the city "might not be hockey-immersed like in Toronto, Montreal, Detroit or Chicago." But "nobody running the NHL cares." It is "far-fetched to think Seattle can just replace 'NBA' with 'NHL' on a Memorandum of Understanding with entrepreneur Chris Hansen and rush an arena plan" so the Coyotes can "relocate by September." No owner "will commit" $200M to Seattle "without that future arena guarantee." Operating an NHL-only venue will "alter projected revenues." The Mariners’ new RSN also is "now the dominant player here and impacts any initial TV revenue plan Hansen had." That could "impact arena financing and any public help needed," which "makes public vetting required." Glendale has "already drained reserve funds for water, sanitation and landfill to make partial payments." NHL owners often have "less equity in teams than counterparts in other sports." Baker: "We don’t know yet who the Seattle owner would be, let alone what they’d put in, versus borrowing. ... We can't promise arenas to just anyone without a public process." But "do things right," and Seattle "could be NHL-ready in a year or two." It is "time to get moving" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/27).
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