Arena-management fees and a financing plan for Matthew Hulsizer to buy the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL are still under debate in Glendale, as reps from the Goldwater Institute continue their fight to scuttle the deal in the name of fiscal responsibility.
The deal, which calls for Glendale to pay Hulsizer $97 million to manage Jobing.com Arena and basically give him $100 million to buy the Coyotes, is opposed by the Goldwater Institute (and plenty of locals, we should add) as an affront to a clause in the state constitution barring a direct gift to benefit an individual. If the plan goes forward, Goldwater Foundation say they will sue.
The deal is remarkably sweet: GWI officials point out that the New Orleans Saints receive $1 million a year to administer the Superdome; AEG receives a base management fee of $1.53 million to run Minneapolis’s Target Center as well as the proceeds of a revenue-sharing deal, a deal that’s far less than the $19.4 million Glendale wants to pay Hulsizer. GWI officials suggest opening the arena-management contract to bid.
It doesn’t sound like GWI is opposed to any arena deal: it’s opposed to this arena deal, and with good reason — it’s surely the most one-sided arena-management deal ever presented. What’s surprising is how stubborn Glendale officials are in defending this deal: we understand the desire to keep the Coyotes, but it makes no sense to work to keep them at such a high price, especially when there are private sources of funding from Tohono Oâ€™odham Nation, which is willing to look at a purchase of the arena or even the Coyotes.
The arena deal as it stand right now will certainly die in court and draw out the Coyotes drama. It’s time for both Glendale officials and NHL leaders to realize the realities of the situation and come up with a new financing plan that relies less on public money. Reports indicate the NHL is indeed exploring private-financing options, which could draw this drama to a close this summer.
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