The Arizona Coyotes will play at Gila River Arena for at least the next two years after reaching a legal agreement with the City of Glendale.
“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 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.”
City leaders will vote to approve the settlement on Friday morning. Both sides have said they will reserve further comment until after the vote.
Craig Morgan of FoxSports Arizona is reporting that the new agreement will see Arizona collect all hockey-related revenue that previously went to the city, including naming rights, ticket surcharges and parking revenue.
In exchange, Glendale will pay $6.5 million per year to the Coyotes to manage Gila River Arena, down from $8 million. More importantly, the contentious out-clause that was part of the original 15-year, $225 million agreement, which would have allowed the team to relocate if certain revenue goals were not met, will be removed.
The two sides lined up their lawyers back in June when the city decided to unilaterally back out of the agreement, essentially putting Arizona out on the street. The city released a statement at the time expressing an openness to finding a resolution. “It must be one that provides certainty and fairness to both parties, especially the taxpayers,” the statement read. “The council has agreed to stand for transparency and the highest standards of ethics for any future agreement with the Coyotes.”
Sounds like both sides got what they needed. Big news for Valley of the Sun hockey fans if that’s the way it plays out. But given how hard they’ve been yanked around the past few years, we’ll understand if they curb their enthusiasm until all details have been officially released and the vote, scheduled for Friday, June 24, has passed the amendments to the original deal.