SBD/July 1, 2013/Franchises

Glendale Angers Prospective Coyotes Owners With Out-Clause Counterproposal

Tuesda's vote will likely determine the Coyotes' future in Glendale
The City of Glendale on Friday "produced a counterproposal" to prospective Coyotes Owner Renaissance Sports & Entertainment’s arena-lease bid, according to Craig Morgan of FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com. The counterproposal "supersedes the proposal that was discussed by the council on Thursday" in preparation for a vote tomorrow. The changes include an "altered structure of parking revenue, altered language to prevent one side from suing the other over issues at the arena and an increase in the city’s percentage of naming rights" from 15% to 20%. But the "big one was Glendale’s call for a five-year out clause that mirrors RSE’s five-year out clause." If the city’s losses total $50M or more over that time period, it "wants the ability to walk away from the Coyotes." RSE spokesperson David Leibowitz said, "The city’s proposal for an out clause is a non-starter. The city must remove that and return to the initial framework of the deal that was already negotiated." Further "angering RSE was that it said its attorneys met with Glendale attorneys three weeks prior to Friday’s session, at which point the city raised the idea of an out clause for itself." Weiers and council members including Coyotes supporters Gary Sherwood and Manny Martinez said that they were "prepared to move forward with a vote on the new proposal, even though RSE will never accept it." Weiers: "We're going to vote on Tuesday. The only thing that might happen is they may come back and say, 'You know what, we were kidding. We really didn’t mean what we said,' and I sort of expect that’s exactly what they’re going to say." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in an e-mail responded, "He can characterize it the way he wants, but it is what it is. We either get certainty in Glendale by July 2, or we immediately pursue our other options outside of Glendale" (FOXSPORTSARIZONA.com, 6/28).

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote it looks like Glendale officials have "made their bed of ice with the NHL and now they have no choice but to sleep on it." The "best news, at this hour, is that there has to be a decision." With the '13-14 NHL season about 100 days away, "imagine the chore ahead" of RLB Holdings if they "drop the franchise out of the Seattle sky later this week a scant three months before dropping the puck" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/30). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote, "Either way, there will be no closure. That’s just a myth." It is "not like there’s a line of people outside the door yearning to buy tickets, waiting for the moment this team secures some kind of short-term future in Glendale." If the Coyotes leave, it "doesn’t mean forever," it will "only sound like it." There will be a "probation period, for sure, a time for the NHL to frown down upon us like we’re some kind of failed partner." But somewhere "down the line, if someone figures out how to build an arena in Scottsdale, the NHL will undoubtedly return." Just "not on Gary Bettman’s watch" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/30).
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