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Coyotes, Glendale continue sparring over Gila River Arena finances Arena

The Arizona Coyotes, ASM Global and Glendale continue their battles over Gila River Arena finances, with the city threatening to lock out the team over unpaid taxes and fees–but the NHL team says there’s no cause for concern.

The state of Gila River Arena finances has been a contentious one for years now, with the Coyotes on one side and the city and its arena manager, ASM Global, on the other. And with the Coyotes openly working with the city of Tempe on a new entertainment district, the team is a lame duck at best.

So there’s understandably some concern over unpaid bills impacting Gila River Arena finances–and Glendale let the Coyotes know they were serious about these unpaid bills by threatening to lock out the team on Dec. 20 unless a balance of $1.3 million was not paid. How serious? The city has directed the Arizona Department of Revenue to file a Notice of State Tax Lien for unpaid taxes owed by IceArizona, the Coyotes parent company. Also to be addressed: unpaid fees owed to ASM Global.

The response from the Coyotes: fees and taxes went unpaid due to human error, per a statement put out by the team:

“We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error,” the Coyotes statement read. “Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow (Thursday) morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can every possibly happen again.”

The oversight is very unfortunate, as both sides can benefit from an existing relationship until a new Coyotes home opens; there’s potentially at least one season or two where the Coyotes need a home. Financially, Glendale would make more per event when the Coyotes leave and the calendar is filled with higher grossing events like concerts. But hockey is a volume game, and overall it’s tough to fill all the Coyotes dates with concerts and touring acts.

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