All things considered, two years of “certainty” probably feel like a decade to the Arizona Coyotes and their fans. Still, it’s more than reasonable to wonder what happens between the Coyotes and Glendale once that brief, compromised lease deal expires.
Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc emphatically admitted that a two-year lease isn’t ideal and that he’d like to begin negotiations to hammer out something more long-lasting as early as August.
Still, Fox Sports Arizona did a great job of pondering the possibilities in two years. Basically, it comes down to staying in Glendale, moving somewhere else in Arizona or relocating somewhere else entirely.
One interesting thing to consider from that Fox Sports Arizona article is that Glendale might have enjoyed the early advantage in this altered arena lease, yet the city must now consider damage control out of backing out on that deal.
“Even if they eke out a victory in the short term … they could still lose in the long term by damaging their brand for future negotiations,” Rodney Smith, of ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of law, said last month. “Anyone is going to think long and hard before they decide to do business with Glendale.”
If the Coyotes leave town after two years, they’d take various sponsors and even the Gila River Arena naming rights with them, possibly leaving Glendale with a largely ineffective building.
To some extent, it may seem like the team might have some bargaining power, yet the Arizona Republic notes that leveraging situations such as possibly sharing a building with the Phoenix Suns may not be so easy:
The team has explanations and positive spin for everything, but in matters of public trust, deeds count more than words. And if they can’t afford to fight Glendale in the short term, how can they afford to split costs at US Airways Center for a few years until a new arena is built? How can they afford to be partners in a much bigger enterprise? And in the end, can they get Sarver fully on board?
After some contentious moments between the team and city, it might be tough to imagine LeBlanc getting his wish as far as negotiations starting soon. Perhaps it really would be best for everyone involved if they could find a long-term solution, though?