Off the Ice: When it comes to the Phoenix Coyotes deal, only two nights matter
Jun 26, 2013, 6:51 AM | Updated: 3:40 pm
Remember these two dates: July 14, 2013 and Jan. 24, 2014. They are very important when discussing whether the Phoenix Coyotes should leave Glendale for good.
In case you missed it — or you live under a rock — the Coyotes are in a bit of an ownership pickle. They haven’t had an owner since the Big Bang and have been on the verge of relocation since the dinosaurs. Every year, the players, employees and fans of the club await a decision from one of the most inept cities in the history of man to see if they have to uproot their families or not.
Every year — so far — the team has stayed. But D-Day is approaching, second options are being considered and the city and the prospective buyers, Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, are stuck on an arena management deal that would keep the team in the Valley for at least five more years.
Now, I’m not a fan of a city paying to keep a sports team, especially one in such a dire financial situation as Glendale. That being said, the city has no option here. It made a huge stink, got an arena across the Valley from a majority of the team’s fan base and then got hit with the largest financial collapse since the Great Depression.
The city had no way of knowing an economic collapse was coming but it survived, albeit barely so. Now it has a massive arena that it owns. The anchor tenant is about to leave. Numerous people are against funding a sports team to stay in town, myself included.
But there’s a problem: the city owns Jobing.com Arena. Unless someone comes in and buys the arena (unlikely), the city has to pay someone to manage it, Coyotes or not. So when you look at it, is the city really paying a sports team to stay or are they paying for someone to manage the place?
Granted, RSE has made it clear that they want control of both the arena and the team and, to be frank, the group needs control of both in order to turn a profit. The main members of the group may believe in hockey in the Valley, but team ownership is, intrinsically, a business. Assuming that the group wants control of the arena to simplify things for Glendale is juvenile, and to also assume that they are not going to push for a better deal for their business is stupidity.
However, Glendale can’t afford to not make a deal that could benefit a business. After all, isn’t that what a majority of tax breaks are supposed to do: entice business?
Remember the two dates I asked you to remember at the onset of this piece? July 14, 2013 and Jan. 24, 2014? Those are huge. Without the Coyotes on the arena’s schedule, those are the only two events scheduled in the next 11 months.
Two events. Eleven months.
You know, math may not be my specialty, but I’m fairly certain a cash-strapped city can’t do a lot with the minimal tax revenue from two events over the next year.
The lack of events may be because the facility is waiting on a potential schedule from the NHL, which is understandable. However, if my memory serves correct, NHL camps traditionally begin in late summer. So why would the arena sit empty?
Maybe it’s a little thing called competition.
The Valley is loaded with great venues that are always clamoring for acts and expos. Some of those have a much better location and would likely sell more tickets than a venue that’s — at minimum — an hour’s drive in rush hour for those in the East Valley.
Don’t get me wrong, the Job is one of the best venues in the city, but when it comes to making it to a concert after work, quality of venue comes second. There’s a reason the saying isn’t “quality, quality, quality.”
If you’re not persuaded that Glendale would be better off with the Coyotes than without, it’s time to check your facts and re-analyze your figures, because the math experts have said the city is better off.
So let’s rehash this: A city owns an arena. It was a mistake, but there it stands. That arena has two events booked in the next 11 months.
A business is hoping to strike a deal that would likely see it benefit, but would book a minimum of 41 nights of professional sports in that arena. The deal would keep that city competitive with others when it comes to getting more events.
Again, I’m not a math guy, but somehow 41 guaranteed nights sounds a hell of a lot better than a big, empty building sucking up air conditioning in the 110-degree heat.
Unless, you know, Glendale just wants to waste more money. I’m sure their firefighters, police officers and other public workers, along with the residents, would understand that getting zero money is better than getting some money.