Phoenix Coyotes' future to be decided July 2 (BLOG)

The City of Glendale will determine the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday, July 2, 2013 when the City Council votes on a prospective Arena management deal with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (also known as IceArizona).

The latest twist in the four year, on-going ownership saga, a counter proposal from the City of Glendale sent late Friday to RSE. In that counter proposal, the City of Glendale wants a five year "out clause" just like the one RSE has in the original proposal.

The City also wants the deal to be signed by July 8, 2013 and to close by August 5, 2013. In addition, the City is asking for an increase in building naming rights from 15% to 20%. Glendale is also asking for its share of parking revenue be a percentage of the gross proceeds, not the net profits.

The City is also asking to be compensated at the rate of $150,000 versus $60,000 if for any reason, the hockey team plays less than 41 home games (as in another lockout).

There are a few other issues outlined in the counter offer, but the biggest sticking point will be the "out clause" for Glendale. The NHL currently doesn't allow City's or Municipalities to enjoy "out clauses". At this point, they are reserved for team owners. This one topic could extend the meeting beyond midnight.

In addition to the counter proposal, it seems contract language will also be an issue for Glendale. According to some insiders, City lawyers seem think the entire contract needs to be re-written and that could take days. Others feel that a few handwritten notes will suffice in order to get a deal done. Expect more concern and possible delays based solely on contract language and rules of order for a public meeting.

Added to all the confusion is the fact that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has issued a July 2, 2013 deadline for a deal to be completed. If it is not, it looks like Seattle will be the League's "Plan B". Seattle officials say Key Arena is ready to go and the Emerald City is ready to host an NHL team.

Glendale Mayor, Jerry Weiers put it this way on Friday, "We're trying to make certain that the city is left as whole as possible, because right now, the city is carrying all the burdens, has all the liabilities, and that's not a good place for the city to be."

RSE Spokesman, David Leibowitz responded to the City's request for an out clause of its own, "The city must remove that and return to the initial framework of the deal that was already negotiated."

Sound interesting? From my perspective, this deal is a long way from being a done deal. Hopefully, lawyers and negotiators from both sides will work long into the night in order to come to an agreement on keeping the Coyotes in Glendale.

The other thing to be aware of is the fact that both supporters and non-supporters of this deal will have an opportunity to speak at tomorrow nights' Council Meeting. That alone, could extend the length of the meeting to well beyond the deadline. At least, those who decide to speak will have a time limit so they can't get into filibuster mode.

According to Mayor Weiers, "We're going to vote on Tuesday." That is apparently a must, because on Friday, NHL Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly wrote, "He can characterize it the way he wants (referring to Mayor Weiers), but it is what it is. We either get certainty in Glendale by July 2, or we immediately pursue our other options outside of Glendale."

Get ready for some early Fourth of July fireworks… it sounds like things could explode at Glendale City Hall on Tuesday night!

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