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Coyotes making money by not playing?

The Phoenix Coyotes are better off not playing a game.

At least, that may be the case financially.

According to Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal, the NHL’s lockout is sparing the financially troubled franchise from losing money based on player salaries and the like.

The team could turn a profit this season — or at least break even — thanks to first-year money from a $308 million arena deal between the city of Glendale and prospective team owner Greg Jamison, as well as the lockout. Basically, it means the Coyotes won’t have to pay out an estimated $49 million in player salaries.

Lost games and a lost season because of the lockout would cost the Coyotes ticket sale revenue, sponsorships and concession dollars. The Coyotes lost $20 million to $25 million in recent seasons, according to financial estimates and the team’s 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization documents. Forbes magazine estimates the Coyotes lost $21 million last season.

But those revenue losses could be more than offset by Glendale’s arena management money and the lack of a professional sports team payroll.

Of course, this is no consolation or time to celebrate for fans, who would undoubtedly prefer to see the team that reached the Western Conference Final last season return to the ice and build off the success.

But as the NHL’s lockout prepares to enter its fourth month, it appears the only success anyone might have comes courtesy of the bookkeeping.