(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
By Nate Hanson, Sports Radio KJR
The NHL Board of Governors exited their meeting this afternoon with no action taken on the Phoenix Coyotes relocation situation.
However, Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed the July 2 deadline for the City of Glendale to make an agreement with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment on a lease proposal for Jobing.com Arena.
“If the council doesn’t approve it," he said. "I don’t think the Coyotes will be playing there anymore.”
Glendale released the details of its arena lease proposal this morning. If agreed to, Glendale would pay RSE $15 million annually for 15 years. The city already has annually budgeted $6 million for the arena. RSE would repay the city $6.7 million annually through surcharges on tickets and other sources. Also, RSE would create a limited guarantee fund that the city could draw upon for full reimbursement. RSE does not want to agree to a deal that guarantees all of the revenue streams.
RSE could back out of the deal and move the team after five years if the group loses more than $50 million during that span.
“We’re anticipating, or hoping, the Glendale City Council passes the deal with the Renaissance Group,” Bettman said.
If the two parties do not come to an agreement by the July 2 deadline, the Coyotes will have a new home come fall. Bettman was not transparent on a likely suitor.
“We haven’t ironed out or put into effect a Plan B,” he said.
Bettman said there are “numerous” relocation options for the NHL. Quebec City and Seattle have been the most prominent relocation scenarios. E.J. Hradek of NHL Network speculated that Plan B is Seattle.
“If they do not do this deal and they do not stay in Phoenix, my guess is they will end up being sold to a group that would like to move them to Seattle,” he said.
Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza head the Seattle group. They are reportedly willing to purchase the Coyotes for $220 million and move them to Seattle for the upcoming season. The team would likely play in KeyArena until Chris Hansen’s new arena is built in the SoDo district. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that KeyArena could house an NHL team.
For now, all of the focus is on Glendale. A city vote on the arena proposal is expected July 2. If the Glendale deal falls through, Seattle could be named the new home of the Coyotes next week. Until then, hockey fans in Phoenix and Seattle will be on pins and needles.