Report: NBA, NHL commissioners working with Suns, Coyotes on joint arena

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 16:43:33-04

The Arizona Coyotes are still looking for a new arena in the desert. According to a report, the solution may be a joint venue with the team they used to share a home with.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote Tuesday that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman are working together to help facilitate a new joint venue for the Coyotes and Phoenix Suns. 

Friedman reports Bettman and Silver "have taken the lead" on a new arena from Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway and Suns owner Robert Sarver. Friedman did not specify where that arena would be located, but he suggested an agreement could be an uphill battle, as Sarver "is notoriously difficult."

Barroway became the the sole owner of the Coyotes when he completed a buyout of the team's minority owners two weeks ago. Friedman reported Bettman "wanted one owner" for the team and backed Barroway's buyout.

ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy reported last year that a joint arena with the Suns in Phoenix was among the possibilities on the table for the Coyotes, but it was considered a less viable option compared to possible locations in Tempe and Scottsdale. The Coyotes announced plans last year for a joint venue with ASU's hockey team in Tempe, but those plans later fell through.

The Coyotes have played at Gila River Arena in Glendale since the 2003-04 season but made plans to leave Glendale after the team and the city renegotiated its arena lease due to legal differences.

The Suns began play at what is now called Talking Stick Resort Arena in 1992. The Coyotes moved into the arena when they relocated from Winnipeg in 1996, and they shared the arena with the Suns until they moved to Glendale in 2003.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has been a vocal advocate for a joint Suns-Coyotes venue in downtown Phoenix.

In March, the Arizona State Senate considered SB 1149, which would pave the way for $395 million in funding for a new Coyotes arena in the Valley. The bill would require Coyotes ownership to contribute $170 million of that funding, while the host city would pay for $55 million and the remaining $170 million would come via sales taxes. However, the Senate did not vote on the bill, as it was considered unlikely to pass.

In a letter addressed to Arizona's senate president and speaker of the house in March, Bettman made it clear that Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale for the long term.