With or without Coyotes, taxpayers will pay millions
By Lisa Halverstadt
The Arizona Republic
Two months after Glendale officials voted to spend $324 million over 20 years to help a proposed buyer keep the Phoenix Coyotes in the city’s Jobing.com Arena, the sale of the hockey team has yet to go through.
And the question remains: Is the city better off financially with or without the team?
The truth is, either option will cost Glendale taxpayers a lot of money.
If the team stays, the city estimates it will cost about $12.2 million a year, or $54 per resident, when costs and revenue are factored. That’s in addition to the roughly $13 million a year to retire the debt on the arena in about 20 years.
But the city says it would face even steeper financial challenges without the Coyotes.
If the team leaves, Glendale will still be on the hook for the arena debt. But the city also projects it will then need to come up with millions of dollars a year to pay an arena manager and other expenses if there is no anchor tenant for the arena. The city estimates that would cost $15.8 million, or $70 per resident.
With that in mind, Glendale projects it would save about $3.5 million annually by keeping the team.
The savings could be greater if sales-tax revenue generated at the arena is factored in, as well as the sizable sales-tax hauls from fans who flock to the neighboring Westgate City Center on game nights.
Whether the team stays is out of Glendale’s hands. City leaders did their part, approving the deal in June.
Speculation abounds about whether Greg Jamison, a longtime hockey executive, can secure investors to meet the National Hockey League’s widely reported $170 million asking price.
Last week, Glendale and the NHL agreed to a third 31-day extension for the league to manage the city-owned arena in hopes the additional time will allow Jamison to close the deal.
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