Coyotes and Glendale end stalemate; come to two-year lease agreement

Coyotes and Glendale end stalemate; come to two-year lease agreement

The Arizona Coyotes ownership/Glendale lease saga may finally be over … for at least two years.

According to Fox Sports Arizona, the Coyotes and the City of Glendale have agreed on amendments to the city’s lease agreement with the Coyotes for Gila River Arena and will vote on said amendments at 9 a.m. on Friday.

A vote for the updated agreement means the Coyotes will stay in Glendale for at least two years, according to the story.

 Per terms of the deal, the Coyotes will collect all hockey-related revenue streams that previously went to the City of Glendale, including a portion of naming rights, ticket surcharges and parking revenue, while the city will pay $6.5 million a year to the Coyotes to manage the arena. The out-clause that was part of the original 15-year, $225 million agreement has been removed.

The last part is quite important. In the most recent Coyotes re-worked lease – which was approved in the summer of 2013 – there were certain levers that could be triggered by the team if losses hit the $50 million mark in five years. In the first year alone, the Coyotes hit $34.831 million losses.

Also, the original lease had Glendale paying the Coyotes $15 million per-year and now it will pay less than half that number. So this actually seems like a better deal for the City of Glendale perhaps from the eyeball test?

The amended agreement is on the city's website. 

In June, the Glendale City Council voted to void the lease, which then led to a Coyotes filing a temporary restraining order to keep the agreement in place. A hearing between the Coyotes and the City of Glendale was scheduled to take place on July 31.

Members of the Glendale City Council often displayed remorse on the escape clause, that could have led to the Coyotes leaving Arizona without major compensation toward the city.  

"We have come up with a resolution that works for both sides and is best for the team, our fans, the city and most importantly the taxpayers," said Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc in a team released statement. "Neither side benefits from a long, drawn out legal battle. What's important is putting this dispute behind us and focusing on growing the Coyotes business and in turn, further growing revenues for the entire Westgate Entertainment District. This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action. We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term. We thank Coyotes fans and sponsors for their incredible support throughout this process. They have proven that they are among the most loyal and ardent in the NHL."

The two-year number is interesting just because it seems so short. Really, you’d like a long-term agreement in place if you want stability. Also, is that enough time for a new downtown Phoenix multi-use arena to be built? During the nasty portions of the Coyotes/Glendale saga, there were rumors the team could join with the Suns as they tried to pitch a new home building.

The issue with the Coyotes isn’t as much the viability of the market (which is indeed non-traditional) as the location of the arena – in Glendale, far away from much of the team’s fanbase, which is situated more in the Scottsdale area. 

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has gone to great length to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, and often lashed out harshly at the Glendale City Council

“The Coyotes are playing in Glendale. I believe ultimately they will prevail in the courts and the agreement that they have will be upheld and this will all be much ado about nothing,” Bettman said at the NHL Awards in late June. “But that’ll be settled I suppose ultimately by the courts unless Glendale comes back to reality and decides what they did probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do.”

Indeed it was settled. For at least two years. Band-Aid meet bleeding gash. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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