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 Jobing.com 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.