Yesterday was an exciting day for the Arizona Coyotes and their fans, but make no mistake, there’s still plenty of work to be done before that $400 million arena gets built in Tempe.
The big question, as always — who’s going to pay for it?
“What I can tell you is that the Coyotes will be putting in a large amount of the capital cost, close to 50 percent will be on the Coyotes,” club president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said Monday (audio). “We are looking for a public-private partnership with a couple of government organizations. But that is a very typical way of looking at these types of arenas is there’s always some form of public involvement.”
LeBlanc was optimistic that the club would find willing partners in the state of Arizona and city of Tempe, calling it a project that “pays for itself.”
“Call it a form of tax rebate, that is kind of the model that we’re focused upon,” he said. “But there’s no question we’re going to have to have some form of public-private partnership to make this work. But again, that is a very typical model.
“But what we are not doing is we’re not going in and asking for a government to build us an arena. We are going to be the group that takes the risk on the associated costs, and of course the operations of the facilities.”
So no matter how the Coyotes spin this latest project, there will be skepticism. And until shovels are in the ground, that skepticism will remain.
“I think how we can alleviate that is, this is not the same ownership group,” said LeBlanc. “No disrespect to the previous ownership group, in particular the ownership group that was the National Hockey League. But the reality is we have what we feel — and again, I say this as humbly as possible — a group of people that can get this done.”
And if the politicians don’t sign off on it?
“If it doesn’t happen, we will have conversations,” said LeBlanc.