Glendale gives Coyotes deadline to pay up or face Gila River Arena lockout
The city of Glendale on Wednesday notified the Arizona Coyotes of outstanding debts that could see the team get locked out of Gila River Arena.
In a letter obtained by Arizona Sports from the city to Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, the city said the team has until 5 p.m. MST on Dec. 20 to pay $1.3 million — roughly $250,000 of which is owed to Glendale — in addition to “an unpaid balance” to ASM Global, the managing company of Gila River Arena.
If the Coyotes don’t pay the full outstanding amounts owed for taxes and back rent in full by the deadline, the team will legally not be allowed to play inside Gila River Arena until the city of Glendale approves it.
“The city of Glendale has serious concerns as to whether IceArizona is a going concern, able to meet its current and future financial obligations,” the letter said.
The Arizona Department of Revenue filed a notice for unpaid taxes owed by IceArizona Hockey CO LP — the company that owns the team — from June 2020 to September 2021, according to the letter.
The Coyotes issued a statement late Wednesday night:
““We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error. Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by (Thursday) morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”
Last week, Gutierrez called reports of the team potentially being for sale “completely and utterly false” and characterized the rumors as “incredibly frustrating.”
In September, it became known that the team had submitted a proposal to build a new arena district in Tempe that required vetting by the city before being voted on in a public meeting.
That proposal near Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway — which would include the arena, hotels, apartment and storefront retail spaces — would cost $1.7 billion. It also calls for private funding along with a portion of funding coming from city tax revenues to pay for $200 million on top of that.
In a statement on Sept. 2, Tempe said the evaluation process will take many months and include extensive examinations. The finalization of the process would ultimately be in the form of a public meeting and a vote to accept or reject an agreement with the team.
This all comes after Glendale announced in August that it would not be renewing its operating agreement with the Coyotes at their current home of Gila River Arena after many years of quarrels, meaning this season will be the team’s last in Glendale.
“We are committed to being here in the Valley and we’re excited about this proposal in Tempe that’s been public,” Gutierrez told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday.
And while the Coyotes remain in search of a temporary home, Gutierrez did say last week that there was progress being made on where to play the 2022-23 season but he had no set details to announce.