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Arizona Coyotes Arena Bill Unlikely to Pass

Phoenix Coyotes

Legislation for the funding of an Arizona Coyotes arena is unlikely to pass in its current form, according to state lawmakers. 

Arizona legislators have been debating Senate Bill 1149, which was introduced by state senator Bob Worsley to address the team’s ongoing arena search. The bill outlines the funding model for a Coyotes arena project, calling on the team to contribute $170 million, with an additional $170 million in new sales tax revenue from an engagement district that includes the arena and surrounding development, and $55 million from an undetermined host city.

The bill is struggling to gain traction, as it has not secured the 16 votes needed to clear the state senate. It is also looking increasingly unlikely that it will pass as written, according to senate president Steve Yarbrough. The Coyotes say that they are continuing to seek a solution in the Phoenix area. More from AZCentral:

A team spokesman said the Coyotes will keep trying to get a new playing facility built in the Valley. The team contends it is not financially viable to continue playing in Glendale’s Gila River Arena.

“The Coyotes continue to work hard to find a viable arena solution in the greater Phoenix area, a market that both the club and the NHL believe is a strong hockey market capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise. We will continue to pursue a long-term arena solution in the Valley that meets this criterion,” said team spokesman Rich Nairn.

Yarbrough said one of the few ways the bill still might pass is if it were included in the state budget. But he called that extremely unlikely.

Some lawmakers may be convinced to support the legislation if the Coyotes would put more money into the project and seek less public financing, he said.

“If you are getting no traction the way the bill is designed, you could see if the hockey team paid a greater portion,” Yarbrough said. “I have been around this business long enough to know that if it’s not working in this format, you change the format to make it more attractive.”

The Coyotes have sought to move out of Gila River Arena in Glendale, and into a new arena located in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley, citing economic issues with their current home. The state legislative session is scheduled to adjourn in April.

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