City Council members debated the issue in the presence of Gary Bettman and Renaissance Sports & Entertainment Group (RSE) leader Anthony Leblanc Tuesday evening for nearly four hours. The council ultimately decided to vote in favor of a new arena management agreement that would allow the Coyotes to stay through at least 2018.
The deal includes an opt-out clause for RSE if total losses exceed $50 million after five years. The proposal gained momentum after RSE revealed they would cover all losses beyond the management fee for the city of Glendale if they leave, eliminating suspicion that the investment group would just bail after five years.
The most critical part of the deal is RSE asking the city of Glendale to allot $15 million annually to manage the city-owned Jobing.com Arena. This was a hefty increase from the $6 million annually Glendale had already offered.
Beyond the dollar figures, however, I believe this is a deal that will help hockey begin to thrive in the greater Phoenix area. The council members against the proposal are very quick to read into what has been the roughest five year stretch financially in franchise history. You have to realize that these years of low revenues and empty building have been suffered during both a lockout and amidst relocation rumors.
With a firm arena deal in place, fans can invest their money and time into the team without the scare of relocation.
All in all, this is news that will allow the hockey market in Arizona to continue growing, which is good for the game. Fans in Quebec City are going to invest in hockey regardless. This is a move that will help the greatest game on earth continue to grow in popularity.
The deal is for 15 years, $225 million and RSE has already negotiated an agreement to purchase the Coyotes from the NHL. If the proposal had not been approved, it is likely the team would be heading to either Seattle or Quebec City. Consider this a massive victory for all hockey fans in the desert, but a rather expensive one for all residents of Glendale.