GLENDALE, Ariz. – City officials approved a $320 million deal Tuesday night to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in the city’s arena.
The city council approved a 20-year, $324 million deal for Jobing.com Arena in June, but city leaders sought to renegotiate it. The newly approved proposal would help Glendale because it would reduce payments in the early years of the 20-year deal and save the city $4 million.
Council members debated the proposed arena-management agreement with potential Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison and whether the city can afford the agreement.
The deal requires Glendale to cut $20 million from the general fund. That means trimming dozens of positions within city government over the next five years. Without the team, Glendale would still have to trim $12 million.
The council approved the deal on a 4-2 vote.
Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete did not recommend the proposal, according to The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/U1Goov). He said keeping the team may be in the long-term best interest of the city, but it would require too many cuts in the near future.
Glendale has twice pledged $25 million to the NHL to operate the arena and keep the team in Glendale. The NHL has operated the Coyotes since former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009.
Jamison said Tuesday night that he’d like to buy the team and close a deal within the next month or so.
The deal came on the 73rd day of the NHL’s player lockout. All games have been cancelled through Dec. 14 in the labour standoff.