Coyotes boss tired of ‘out clause’ speculation, predicts profitability

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
  Phoenix Coyotes Fans Cheer On Their Team In The First Period While Taking On The Los Angeles Kings In Game Five Of Getty Images
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 22: Phoenix Coyotes fans cheer on their team in the first period while taking on the Los Angeles Kings in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on May 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

George Gosbee wants the world to know that the Arizona Coyotes are putting roots down in Glendale with a series of long-term financial deals. 

The problem is that even with that apparent stability, the focus for many remains on the fact that the franchise could be planted in another city in four years.

That’s the lament of the Coyotes’ chairman in an interview with FOX Sports Arizona. "I wish people would stop looking at the five-year out clause and start looking at all the long-term deals we're signing,” Gosbee told Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona. "I'm not sure it will matter if I say it, but we're committed to this market for the long run and we keep proving it."

He points to the following as evidence:

- Nine-year arena naming rights deal with Gila River Casinos that will pay them $3.5 million annually.

- 15-year food and beverage deal with LEVY Restaurants.

- 10-year deal with Ticketmaster.

But the real difference between the Coyotes now and, say, the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2011 is welfare.

It’s the welfare from the city that’s kept the Coyotes from leaving the arena – at least for the first five years of their deal. But more importantly, it’s the welfare from the NHL that’s padding their bottom line. FOX Sports notes that NHL teams could received $15-20 million revenue sharing from the 2013-14 season, plus $5 million more from the Stadium Series revenues and the new Rogers TV deal in Canada. Annually, that figure could climb as high as $15 million, and then there’s NBC money on top of that.

That, more than anything, is what has Gosbee thinking the Coyotes could – hold onto your butts – actually become profitable sooner rather than later.

"We've always had a three-year plan for achieving profitability here, but with how well the NHL is doing, we think that could fast-track our plan and we could get there even earlier,” he told FOX Sports.

Hey, maybe then people will stop obsessing over your negotiated escape hatch from the market!

Here's more from the chairman, including whether the Coyotes are dabbling in analytics.