BY SPNW Staff 11:53PM 07/02/2013

No Surprise, Coyotes Not Coming to Seattle

The Phoenix Coyotes are staying put.

The Glendale City Council late Tuesday voted 4-3 to accept an arena-lease agreement with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, the investment group that crafted a 15-year deal that mandates the city allocate $15 million per year to manage Arena.Crucial to the “yes” vote was the Glendale City Council rescinding a proposed five-year-out clause, which would have allowed the city to break the lease should the franchise continue to drain municipal funds. RSE in the deal also promised an additional $1.3 million in revenue returned to the city through a surcharge on ticket sales.

Still, both sides agreed Glendale took a sizable risk by accepting the proposal.

In what was a contentious, disorganized four-hour session, councilman Sam Chavira, a local firefighter, proved the swing vote. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, an open critic of the proposal and an eventual “no” vote, compared accepting the deal to walking out in front of an oncoming truck.

Councilwoman Norma Alvarez appeared visibly agitated for much of the proceedings — at one point she left the room — and voted against the deal along with the mayor and councilman Ian Hugh.

Their disapproval wasn’t enough to curb the final decision. At night’s end, it was unclear whether there would be any referendums challenging the council’s decision.

Had the Glendale City Council voted down the lease agreement, the Coyotes probably would have relocated, reportedly to Seattle, Southern Ontario or Kansas City. Seattle has long been considered a potential landing spot for the troubled Coyotes, but the Glendale City County vote Tuesday night ended that possibility.

Earlier this year, Seattle lost an opportunity to acquire the NBA’s Sacramento Kings when the league’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to keep the Kings in Sacramento.


  • Kirkland

    Would love the NHL here, but the ‘Yotes coming this fall wouldn’t have worked. Not enough lead time to set up staff and a practice rink, the SoDo arena still isn’t a given, and Key Arena would be a disaster for anything more than one season. I’m fine with expansion in a couple of years.

    • jafabian

      But is the NHL willing to expand? They say they are but saying and doing so are two different things. And there’s no potential ownership group on the horizon.

      • Marcus

        Uh…Jafabian, there already WAS an ownership group ready to buy the Coyotes and move them to Seattle. And that’s the the same one that was interested last year. I wouldn’t worry about that or horizons.

        The NHL is interested in expansion for markets that make sense. Seattle and Quebec make sense. It’ll happen, it just depends on how many years of waiting we have to go through.

        And Glendale should absolutely get a referendum going. It’s a TERRIBLE deal for the city. Putting aside our Seattle homerism, when you also have a council member who ran against subsidies for the team agree to continue them with no opt out switch at the zero hour, you recall their rear to the polls. But if they get a referendum together (and it’s an if), there is little chance the public will continue the NHL experiment there, not when the city is so financially stressed.

      • Kirkland

        Yep. The new division/conference structure for next season is imbalanced: 16 teams in the East, 14 in the West. Expansion to Seattle would help even that balance nicely.

    • Tian Biao

      The NHL seems unlikely to expand. It has struggling franchises all over the States, such as Florida, Columbus, Nashville, Carolina, and others, plus, of course, Phoenix. These are a result of Commissioner Bettman’s failed ‘sun belt’ expansion plan. Hockey’s strength and passion lie in Canada, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. So a franchise move seems more likely, but as we in Seattle well know, the forces holding a franchise in place are stronger than the forces trying to move it. Except, alas, in the case of the Sonics, where the weasel Schultz happily sold out to a weasel owner fully committed to moving, a move that was blessed by the weasel Stern. Those forces don’t align very often. It’s hard to get three weasels to agree on anything, let alone something so complicated.

  • westsydemariner

    Arizona Coyotes will become the Seattle Skunks in 2018. Manny Martinez ensured it with his vote putting the City of Glendale on the path toward the $50 mil in losses trigger clause. Its a done deal you can take to the bank.