Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 29, 2013


Host: Ted Simons

Phoenix Coyotes Update


  • City of Glendale officials met Tuesday with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and executives from a Canadian business group that is interested in buying the Phoenix Coyotes. Arizona Republic Reporter Paul Giblin with give us an update.
Guests:
  • Paul Giblin - Reporter, Arizona Republic
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: phoenix, coyotes, hockey, glendale, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Glendale officials met yesterday with the commissioner of the national hockey league and executives of a Canadian business group that's interested in buying the Phoenix coyotes. Paul Giblin of the "Arizona Republic" has been covering the story. He joins us now. Paul, it's good to see you again, though it seems as though we go over this repeatedly. But what is the latest now on the sale of the Phoenix coyotes?

Paul Giblin: As you mentioned, the group is called Renaissance Sports Entertainment, came into Glendale yesterday, they're led by two Canadians and there's also two Americans principles in this organization, they came and they met with the mayor, the city manager, and two groups of city councilmen, and presented their idea and spoke about their optimism of getting a deal done.

Ted Simons: We've heard this particular song before. What about this group is different than previous groups that have come in and met and expressed optimism?

Paul Giblin: An important difference is that the NHL has approved this group. They say that the money is in place for the group to buy the team. And the only condition that's left is for the group to work out a deal with the city of Glendale to operate and presumably manage jobing.com arena.

Ted Simons: Does that suggest if the deal is in place with the NHL provided you can get Glendale to play along, if Glendale doesn't play along the deal is still in place with these guys go find a new home?

Paul Giblin: I've spoken to both of these two Canadian guys leading the operation. And they said they're interested in the coyotes as contingent upon getting a deal with Glendale. If they don't get a deal with Glendale that meets their needs, then they're no longer interested in the coyotes. That's not interested in the coyotes in Glendale or anywhere else.

Ted Simons: What are their needs?

Paul Giblin: The arena has always been managed by whichever group owned the coyotes. The last time Glendale got this far is with a guy named Greg Jamison. They offered to pay him $15 million a year to manage the arena. So the new guys come in, and they say, hey, that $15 million a year looks nice. But since then the city has looked at that a second time and said we're more comfortable paying about $6 million a year. So that's a margin.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, you may be more comfortable paying million, but I'm guessing that ownership group is going to be looking for somewhere far above that.

Paul Giblin: Keep this in mind, the city was paying the NHL $25 million to operate the arena. They offered this other guy Greg Jamison 15 million, and now they say six. So the NHL is conditioned to taking in a lot more money.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, let's say you keep it at six, or seven, eight. At the lower end of the spectrum. Are there other revenue streams that might be included to kind of spice up the mix?

Paul Giblin: There's a lot of discussion about that just in the last week or two. Because of the feeling is these guys aren't going to be too satisfied with $6 million. So they're thinking about other revenue streams. They're thinking about how much revenue does the coyotes – Do the coyotes bring to the city, and can they tap in those revenue streams like restaurant taxes and those sort of things. But that brings up other questions. If you take all the money that the coyotes bring to the city, and you give it back to the coyotes, what's the game for the city?

Ted Simons: Right. I would imagine that particular argument is all over the map.

Paul Giblin: That particular argument is happening behind closed doors right now. Because simultaneous to all this is the city is also requested bids by management companies to manage the arena. Those are due on Friday.

Ted Simons: Have they been getting many bids? Do we know who's interested?

Paul Giblin: That's private. I've spoken to city officials, they tell me we're getting a lot, but I don't know who, I don't know who's bidding on them. That should be apparent Friday.

Ted Simons: You could have Ted's management company bidding as well.

Paul Giblin: Ted's management company and $25 million a year, could you do well.

Ted Simons: Yeah. Is there any talk, and I've thrown this out in the past, it's usually shot down pretty quickly, but is there any talk of the team staying in the valley but not in Glendale?

Paul Giblin: I haven't heard that. There's issues -- For instance, when they first got to town they tried playing downtown. But that's a basketball arena, so that didn't work. There was discussion about them going to Scottsdale for years and years. That never came to happen. Then they built this brand-new hockey specific arena out there in Glendale, this is a perfect place for them to play from a hockey point of view. And there's really nothing else quite equal to that.

Ted Simons: And yet the Suns are making noises, the arena is getting old, needs refurbishing, maybe the -- You look at salt river fields a talking stick, that is a colossal success, Indian tribe -- but it seems as though -- Again, I'm playing monopoly. What do we look for next? This renaissance company, on a scale of one to 10, give me a chance this could actually be serious business here.

Paul Giblin: These guys are serious. This is George Gosbee, an investment kind of guy up in Canada, and Anthony Le Blanc, a bigwig with the company that made blackberries. Anthony Le Blanc, he retired at 38, and quite well. Then two other guys from the United States, one in Connecticut and one in Houston, and so these guys really represent a lot of money. And they tell me beyond that, they have friends and neighbors who can contribute millions more. So this is a good solid group, if they can get the deal with Glendale.

Ted Simons: How often are they meeting that you know?

Paul Giblin: Good question. They met yesterday with a series of meetings, so I was asking city officials, when is the next meeting something they said none is scheduled. I said, what paperwork did they leave, and they said they didn't leave any paperwork either. So they came in and they said they're very interested and they want to work with the city but they haven't even got to a starting point. At least one you can trace by paper.

Ted Simons: You're dealing with city officials, are you sensing fatigue, optimism, maybe a mix of both? At some point people are just going to say, this -- If it's not going to work it's not going to work, let's move on.

Paul Giblin: Interestingly that four of the seven members of city council are brand-new. They weren't on the council last year so they haven't been through this like the previous council members. But they also came in when there's really not as much money left in the city. The city used to spend a lot of money. But now they're on a pretty tight budget. They're not allowing the police department to expand, they're not allowing the fire department to expand, in fact, every city department is losing employees, and they're getting rid of those positions. They're not replacing them, they're just getting rid of the positions. So the finances are tightening up with the city, and that makes it tougher.

Ted Simons: I just thought of another last question. The businesses around there that are supposed to benefit from the coyotes that are supposed to be the ones that are really wanting to keep that team there. Do they really want to keep that team there?

Paul Giblin: Well, good question. Tangor outlet mall opened outside of the arena, that's a shopping mall where they sell clothes and stuff for cheap. That's doing really well, better than any city officials expected. Those are -- The other businesses are tied to the Coyotes crowd. My office, "Arizona Republic," we have an office down there and I'm there, and on game nights the parking lot is full. Obviously the Coyotes are driving business -- Those businesses would be tied to the team. If you get Taylor swift to come every night of the week --

Ted Simons: Paul, good to have you.

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