Pic of potential owner Greg Jamison, from Instagram feed of "wpgreer"

It’s time for Greg Jamison to put his (or other people’s) money where his mouth is.

Yesterday the city of Glendale approved a re-worked 20-year arena lease with Jamison that would have the city pay him $320 million over that time for him to run the arena. They had, in the past, turned down a deal that would pay Jamison $324 million, because apparently that would’ve sunk the city. $320M? Let the good times roll.

Jamison has said that with the approval of the deal, the purchase of the team could be wrapped up in the next 30-60 days. He’d be buying the team from the NHL, who currently runs it (with assistance from a couple 25 million dollar payments from the city of Glendale), for 170 million dollars. He says he has the investors to help him get there, and just needed this to go through to be able to pull the trigger.

David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail added these details:

The lease is not as heavily front-loaded as the previous version. The first year’s payment to Jamison, ostensibly to manage the arena, was reduced from $17-million to $11-million. There are also penalties if Jamison does not bring in at least 30 non-hockey events per year.

But the city of 250,000 still has to pay Jamison a total of $60-million in years two through five of the lease. There will be a reduction in the first year’s payment, since it will be pro-rated because of the NHL lockout, which is about to enter its fourth month.

But the city will be fine, right?

Acting city manager Horatio Skeete said the Coyotes lease will mean $4-million to $6-million in cuts will have to be made in the short-term, with a total of $20-million in cuts necessary within five years. If there is no NHL team, Skeete said, the cuts would be reduced to $12-million over five years.

Ahhh, who really needs firefighters and police in a gun-happy desert state, amirite? (Oh crap, everyone? …Moving on.)

The vote passed 4-2, with one of the two nays coming from outgoing mayor Elaine Scruggs, who’s quotes are basically a step away from saying “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” She’s not what the kids would describe as “down” with the Coyotes being in town, for financial reasons.

I spent the last three years of my life in Phoenix, and attended sevearal Coyotes games. Please note that as a hockey writer, I said “several” over three years, which isn’t that impressive. That’s because I lived in the Tempe/Chandler area (y’know, where the population is), and I didn’t enjoy driving an hour (depending on traffic) to a game I couldn’t have a pint at (because I’m not getting on Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s highways with so much as a beer in me). I’d rather watch from home.

However, I can tell you this: once you get to a Coyotes game, it is a blast. Westgate Plaza, the area that surrounds the arena, is terrific. Jobing.com Arena is excellent. And, there is a real core of fans there, who know the game and attend religiously. I’m interested to see if that core swells with some stability there.

As silly as everyone thinks the city of Glendale is for scrapping to keep the ‘Yotes, I have zero doubt that their huge, Vegas-esque investement in the Plaza would go right to hell without the team. The pubs and restaurants are jammed on gamedays. While it may cost them some dough up front, in the long-term they need that team to survive.

Once this deal goes through, it’s on to the marketers. The building is where it is in the city (on farmland north of Phoenix). The team is what it is on the ice (solid, well-coached). And things aren’t going anywhere. They’ve got to find a way to fill that building with some consistency (may I suggest some shuttles, perchance?).

If this is happening – and it appears that it is – Glendale has a lot of work to do to make things right.

Comments (15)

  1. not know what was going on but it looks good

  2. After watching Loria burn it to the ground in Miami after pocketing the tax payer money I cannot believe there are people still believing this is a good idea.

    A population that small supporting such a large tax bill is mind boggling, I think you nailed it when you said who needs police or firemen (firepeople in our politically correct society?).

    I feel really really bad for the people of Glendale today, although they elected the idiots (see Joyce Clark).

    • I think you missed the part where the city is actually more in the hole without the team there.

      • I learned a long time ago when you are in a hole and struggling, it’s not wise to continue digging that hole deeper.

        The municipality will be defaulting within 5 years max

  3. Light Rail should be getting extended out to westgate.

    Then you can ride our there and not whine all the damn time.

    • “Hey, they could use some tax dollars to build that Light Rai…… what?……. there are no tax dollars left?…… so not only can we not build LRT to stadium but we have to cut existing programs?” – Matt as he thinks through this dilemma

      • If there wasn’t a reason to go to the stadium why would you need a lightrail train to go there?

        • I have no idea where you are going?

          My point is Matt suggested that LRT should be extended to the stadium. That’s like me going mortgage broke on buying a house, then pondering the idea of building a swimming pool in the backyard because it would increase resale value.

          Whether there is something worth extending the LRT to is irrelevant if you can’t afford to buy the LRT in the first place.

  4. If — Big “IF” — This ongoing trainwreck finally finds resolution, let’s hope that Jamison doesn’t come up with any whiz-bang ideas about replacing Maloney, Tippett and Sean Burke with his own management cronies.

    For the love of all that is good in Glendale, let’s all pray he doesn’t decide to tinker with that, at least. And, if he does, then it should signal another cycle of crash-and-burn, cellar-dwelling dysfunction that would surely hasten this franchise’s long-forestalled demise.

    He hasn’t got deep pockets (slightly above purchase-price, and barely enough for any operating capital) a single vainglorious misstep would certainly be enough to send the Dogs to history’s scrap-heap.

    …Waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop”.

    • That would be the worst idea since they hired Gretzky to coach. I very much doubt that would happen though, why mess with a winning formula.

      • One doesn’t know (yet) what kind of a “coalition of fools” Jamison’s had to assemble – It may well be that $45 million in investment-money is directly tied to someone’s Uncle Herman being named President of Hockey Operations, because he once coached Midget Minor Hockey in Wilkes-Barre PA, during the mid-’80′s…Who the heck knows?

        The deal is bound to have some kind of “Faustian” component to it.

        • I doubt anyone involved is that stupid. Nepotism has its limits in this world.

          • You’re right, of course — And I was employing an absurd hyperbole, to be sure.

            But, the unfortunate truism about “common sense being uncommon” (and “hindsight being 20/20″) is (perhaps) what I was leading the discussion towards.

            Jamison has a history with (the currently unemployed) Ron Wilson, and the fact that Maloney and company have done a magnificent job with the on-ice product (plain as it is, as the noses on both our faces) may escape a new ownership group intent on re-branding the Yotes in their own image – As is the superficial wont of most fledgling enterprises.

            Taken too literally “Under New Management” might foreshadow a decline in quality of play, reversal of fortune in the standings and a resultant disinterest and apathy in a fanbase bewildered and exhausted by years of disorder – With the debacle of the current lockout further fueling the disaffection.

            It’s strictly up to Jamison to corral the however many egos in the name of “uncommon” sense — Using the bellwether of Maloney’s business-plan, and steering a narrow and sensible path to a modest, incremental success and a measure of stability – Especially as regards the preservation of the gains that have methodically given rise to successive playoff-appearances.

            Messing with the “Golden Goose”? Most likely inadvisable – Though, 75 days of dark arenas might provoke a different opinion, as to the general state of NHL ownerships’ “sensibility” and Hockey savvy.

            I’m just skeptical.

  5. Its true that Jamison could come in and decide to shuffle the staff around but I think that would be unlikely as long as the Coyotes continue to have success on the ice. If the team misses the playoffs for a couple years I can see the “old guard” being moved. After all Tippett was let go from Dallas after the team missed the playoffs one year and got a new GM, he has yet to miss the playoffs with the Coyotes and the Stars have yet to return since he left. I think its likely that the status quo will be maintained until something happens which results in people thinking it needs to change.

    • I like your optimism.

      However, I believe the situation depends on how Jamison (and the competing interests of his investors – larger groups rarely “play well” together) view the Maloney team: As a caretaker group, with a “maverick” streak (they have been largely unsupervised and unbeholden to ownership for some time, now)? Or, as the sole, sound organizational asset; surviving (and thriving in) the post-Jerry Moyes turmoil?

      If the (purported) new Phoenix ownership lacks the perceptiveness to look beyond the immediate roster and its’ recent successes — recognizing the consistently-shared clarity of vision that assembled it, honed it and set it in motion — they will view Maloney, Tippett, Burke and King as an inconvenient afterthought. Something to be “dealt with” in due course, rather than the valued foundation of a potential Cup-contender.

      A classic case of: “We’ve got the recipe. Remind me again why we should keep the chef?” – See: Stan Bowman’s (uninspired, uninsightful and apparently unsuccessful) mimicry of Dale Tallon’s management philosophies, with the Chicago Blackhawks.

      I can tell you this: If I’m John Davidson, sitting in my office at Nationwide Arena, trying to figure out what to do with the mess that is the Columbus Blue Jackets, I’ve definitely put Don Maloney on speed-dial, and am a hair-trigger away from gutting my front office, coaching and scouting staffs upon learning of the Coyotes’ (hypothetical) “New Direction” announcement….should it occur, of course.

      And, it shouldn’t. Of course.

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