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Glendale proposal: pay Hulsizer $197M to run $170M team

Phoenix CoyotesEither Matthew Hulsizer is the greatest negotiator on the face of the earth or Glendale officials are extremely desperate to keep the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) at Arena, as the latest lease proposal pays Hulsizer $197 million over the next five years after he buys the Coyotes for $170 million.

It sounds like a great deal for Hulsizer, who is on the verge of closing on a deal for the Coyotes before the end of the year. Under the terms of the proposed lease, Glendale will float bonds backed by the facility and immediately pay Hulsizer $100 million. Over the next five years his group will be paid $97 million to operate the facility for non-sports events like concerts.

In return Hulsizer and the Coyotes will commit to a 23-year lease paying around $6 million a year in rent, give up a parking lot containing 5,500 spots, and work to change the name of the team to the Arizona Coyotes.

The City Council will vote on the lease proposal Tuesday night.

Proponents of the deal say they had little choice to craft it this way: the economic impact of the team is $4.5 million annually in indirect business taxes for the city, and with parking fees from the new lot expected to go a long ways toward debt service on the new bonds, it’s a plus for the city. Still, it smells awfully bad, and given all the financial setbacks the city has experienced on the arena, it seems wrong the only winner in the whole mess is a guy who doesn’t live in the state and is basically getting an NHL franchise for nothing.

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