The City Council in Glendale, Ariz. voted 5-2 on Tuesday night to fork over $25 million dollars to the National Hockey League to cover operating losses of the Phoenix Coyotes for the upcoming season, assuring that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the team will stay in Arizona for at least one more season.
Of course, given the mayhem involved in this two-year long saga, there's no guarantee that things will now go smoothly from here on out.
Mayor Elaine Scruggs passionately defended the vote. The basis of her argument in extending $25 million more dollars to the NHL is that Glendale has a very real financial stake in the Coyotes and City-owned Jobing.com Arena, where the team plays.
Should the team pack up and relocate elsewhere, they're stuck with an empty building that cost them nearly $200 million to build and millions more to operate. By paying the extra $25 million, which is in addition to a similar payment given to the league just two weeks ago to cover team losses from last season, they keep people coming to the arena and the Westgate City Center near the arena.
They view it as investment, not subsidy to the league. In fact, they're getting a pretty good deal. The Coyotes lost a reported 36.6 million in 2010-11 and could lose that much or more in 2011-12.
There are legitimate gripes with the logic Scruggs and the five affirmative voters are using here, and several residents voiced their displeasure with it during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting. One such resident, George Sprankle, wore a pretty incredible USA flag shirt while holding a sign that said "NO NHL OR HULSIZER." Another compared the vote to socialism.
But the news is that for now, the majority of the council agrees with it, and as a result, the Coyotes are sticking around for one more season. If they can't be sold to a local buyer like Matthew Hulsizer in the next year, we'll be back here again, only relocation will be almost guaranteed in that instance.
Should that happen, the Glendale Council will have egg on their face, and that $25 million they voted to hand over tonight will be a complete waste. For now, though, they must hope that stable ownership can swoop in and keep them around to the point where they can turn a profit.