Glendale city manager: Gila River Arena better off financially without Coyotes

Dec 9, 2021, 4:19 PM

The Arizona Coyotes on Thursday paid off their debt for the 2021 season that was due on June 30, Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps told KTAR News’ Gaydos & Chad.

The team dropped off two checks, but one of them “did not reconcile” with the arena manager and will require further clarification on what that amount is for.

“They’re going through now to see if the amount they deposited to us this morning gets them fully current,” Phelps said. “But if not, we’ll be reaching out to the team to identify what that gap is and work to get that rectified before Dec. 20.”

This comes one day after Glendale notified the NHL team that if it did not pay up on the over $1.4 million owed to the state and city by Dec. 20, then the Coyotes would be locked out of Gila River Arena.

Phelps added that the city hired an economist to come in and take a look at what the financial impact would be with or without the Coyotes calling Glendale home.

“What we discovered actually from a financial perspective, it’s actually better if the Coyotes weren’t a tenant,” he said. “And what they determined was at the end of the day, we really only had to replace 15-20 events and we’d be back to neutral.”

Phelps also noted that the base rent for the NHL team is $500,000 a year and utilities to maintain the ice is over $600,000.

In August, the city announced that it would not be renewing its operating agreement with the Coyotes at Gila River Arena, meaning this season will be the team’s last in Glendale.

Phelps added that the city offered “significant dollars” and would match the Coyotes “dollar-for-dollar” in whatever renovations they wanted, but the team indicated its desire to move to a new arena elsewhere.

“We’re ready to move forward,” he said. “We think the time is now to come and start doing the remodeling and investing back into the arena.

“So there is not a scenario that I can envision today where we would extend the lease beyond June 30.”

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