Coyotes' Future In Arizona Still Murky Despite Lease Renewal
The Coyotes renewed their lease at Gila River Arena with arena manager AEG Facilities last month through the end of the '19-20 season, but there is "speculation that the franchise will leave the state altogether, perhaps for Houston, if it doesn't get the investment it's looking for" this year, according to Jen Fifield of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The team has "looked to Phoenix and the East Valley in recent years." Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said that the lease renewal provides another year to "think about what the city can do to keep the team in the arena for years to come." Phelps: "Our goal will be to find a compelling reason for the Coyotes to stay in Glendale." Fifield noted the Coyotes have "been on a year-to-year lease" with AEG since '16, but even if the team "agreed to stay in Glendale long-term, it might be a challenge to convince city taxpayers it's worth it to open their wallets again." The city pays AEG $5.6M annually to "manage the arena, which is offset by shared arena revenue." Meanwhile, Glendale is "losing less from the deal in recent years." Its net loss was $4M two years ago and $3.92M last year. Meanwhile, as far as future upgrades, Phelps said that the arena "could benefit from reconfigured suites, more club areas, enhanced and improved food and beverage service and more stores with merchandise." Phelps: "There are a number of things that could be done to help the revenue picture" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/5).