Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 17, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Coyotes Update


  • An investment group trying to buy the Phoenix Coyotes has shown proof of its ability to purchase the team. Arizona Republic Reporter Rebekah Sanders will tell us the latest.
Guests:
  • Rebekah Sanders - Arizona Republic
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: sports, Phoenix Coyotes,

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Ice Edge holdings investment group continues its efforts to buy the Phoenix coyotes and keep the hockey team in Glendale. Ice Edge is trying to prove to NHL and Glendale officials that it has the resources to buy the team and work out a lease agreement with play at jobing.com arena. Next Tuesday, the Glendale city council will consider a special taxing district to help finance the deal. Here with an update on the latest concerning the coyotes is "Arizona Republic" reporter Rebekah Sanders. Good to see you again.

Rebekah Sanders:
Nice to be here.

Ted Simons:
Who is ice? Who are these folks?

Rebekah Sanders:
It's funny, a year ago we were talking about the Coyotes, and it had just come out this group, we didn't know much about them, but they've hung in there for about a year trying to buy the coyotes, it’s a group of Canadian and American investors who are hockey fans, two of them played at Yale, and they've just been through ups and and downs trying to buy the coyotes. They're now the only group Glendale is talking to.

Ted Simons:
What happened to the group which -- with Jerry at the helm?

Rebekah Sanders:
He's a Chicago sports mogul, owner of the bulls, and the white Sox and he also has been in and out of the game for a year, and he announced he would not pursue the coyotes any longer, just last week when Glendale said they were talking exclusively to Ice Edge.

Ted Simons:
Do we know what happened there? What kind of dynamics were at play?

Rebekah Sanders:
They're both trying to cancel each other out, pretty much. The groups want to be the only one in the game, it helps their negotiating. And he just wasn't going to play anymore, if he couldn't be at the table.

Ted Simons:
It seemed like it was almost seemed like a done deal. They were pretty much in charge for a while.

Rebekah Sanders:
Exactly. There's been lots of changes in the picture of who might own the coyotes, and certainly a lot more can change in the future. Ice Edge isn't a done deal.

Ted Simons:
It's not a done deal. What does Ice Edge have to show first to the NHL? What do they have to show them?

Rebekah Sanders:
Today they met a deadline to show Glendale proof of their financing to buy the team. And next they're going to be trying to convince the NHL that they're a viable owner. They need a vote from the NHL owners to take over the team.

Ted Simons:
By showing and proving to Glendale they are viable, does that pretty much mean the NHL should be satisfied as well?


Rebekah Sanders:
Not necessarily. The NHL has different needs and requirements than Glendale, but Ice Edge says they've been checked out by the league for quite a few months now they don't expect any major problems. We'll see what happens.

Ted Simons:
There was a Friday deadline, was it the deadline Friday was for what, the NHL or Glendale?

Rebekah Sanders:
For Glendale to show their proof of financing. But of course the league is going to be concerned about seeing that proof as well.

Ted Simons:
OK. If something along those lines doesn't work out, or if that deadline had not been made, been met, what would have happened? The whole thing blows up again?

Rebekah Sanders:
Back to square one, pretty much.

Ted Simons:
Ice Edge, you mentioned Canadian investors. We heard originally this group was interested in playing a few games in Canada. They still interested in doing that?

Rebekah Sanders:
They are. Five games in Saskatoon was the original plan it's still in the agreement with the city, it's pending NHL approval. And they say it's just to generate revenue in some way to kind of boost these sinking financial situations.

Ted Simons:
The citizens of Glendale, hearing all this stuff, hearing a lease agreement is in the works, kind of interested in how far along that is as well, but as far as the citizens are concerned, what kind of reaction are you hearing from folks now the Glendale?

Rebekah Sanders:
It's mixed. There's especially Glendale residents who are fans who just want something to be finished, and they want to know that their team will be here. Other residents are concerned that the city may be putting itself -- making itself responsible for too much financially, and they argue that the sports investment was bad from the beginning. But, you know, I think people just in general want it over.


Ted Simons:
Indeed. But again, as far as a lease agreement with the coyotes with jobing.com and Glendale, the whole agreement there, what's at play? What are the numbers? What are we looking at? And compare that to what was in play in the past.

Rebekah Sanders:
The city needs a lease with whoever is going to own the team. Because they invested $180 million to bill the arena. They pay that debt off by different payments from the team and sales taxes and the arena district. They have changed that -- the lease agreement now to get Ice Edge on board, and agreed to create a new taxing district all around the sports arena that the University of Phoenix stadium to raise money, to get back to Ice Edge to help the team stay afloat.

Ted Simons:
Is this something that has overwhelming support with Glendale officials?

Rebekah Sanders:
Definitely Glendale would like to see this happen. But the challenge is they need the buy-in from the property owners in the district, namely Steve Ellman, who built west gate city center, those agreements are still in flux.

Ted Simons:
I was going to ask, how is that going? In flux or Petering one way or the other?

Rebekah Sanders:
At least last week nothing had been signed or finalized. We're going to try and get an update pretty soon.

Ted Simons:
So correct me if I'm wrong here, the NHL deadline for a Glendale deal is the end of the year in terms of just getting the whole thing wrapped up and ready to go?

Rebekah Sanders:
Correct.

Ted Simons:
And if that doesn't happen?

Rebekah Sanders:
I -- you know, no one is really entertaining that idea, because no one wants to jinx this, I think. But I think if that didn't happen, it would be very likely that the team would relocate.
Ted Simons:
And the city is already pledged, what, 25 some-odd million dollars to cover losses until an owner is found. Correct? So it behooves the city to move Ice Edge along a little bit, I would imagine.

Rebekah Sanders:
Yes. I mean, deadline after deadline has passed. This has been a much longer ordeal than I think anyone ever thought, and just a little while ago the NHL said the city needs to put up a bunch of money as guaranteed if they're going to get this deal done and keep the team here.

Ted Simons:
OK. So it seems like all systems are go, but as with all -- as always with the story, they're going only a certain distance.

Rebekah Sanders:
That's right.

Ted Simons:
Rebekah, thanks for joining us.

Rebekah Sanders:
Thanks a lot.

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