5 Reasons the NHL Should Look to Move Phoenix Coyotes Franchise
It's normally one of the most traumatic events in any community when a professional sports teams leaves one city and moves to another.
For business reasons, these moves almost always make sense and are logical. However, when you toy with the emotions of ticket buyers who have supported your team for years, there is something quite heinous about the process of franchise transfer.
In some cases, it can't be helped. Moving a franchise is the only alternative.
In the case of the Phoenix Coyotes, you have to wonder why the team has remained in the desert for 16 years after the team once known as the Winnipeg Jets pulled up stakes and moved to the American southwest.
The team has lost millions of dollars and has not been able to close on an ownership deal, and other cities may have a much greater desire for a hockey team.
The Phoenix Coyotes have been in bankruptcy for three years, and the team has been operated by the NHL for the last three years.
That journey may be close to an end as Greg Jamison is reportedly very close to taking the team over from the league.
Jamison had issues with financing until recently, but he apparently has put together enough money from his investors to satisfy the NHL (source: thehockeywriters.com).
However, the fact that Jamison had to struggle so long to put his financing together for a team that has consistently lost money in the Phoenix area is a major concern and does not speak well of its future in the desert.
In the deal to purchase the team, Greg Jamison made a deal with the city of Glendale, Ariz. that pays him an annual management team to offset the losses the team are expected to incur.
One of the sources for the fee is a temporary sales tax increase that the city has imposed.
However, that sales tax is one of the issues that will be on the local ballot in November. If residents vote to reverse that sales tax, Jamison's deal to purchase the Coyotes would be in serious jeopardy.
You've been looking forward to that barbecue in the neighborhood all week.
Your friends are going, your family is going, and everyone has their responsibilities. Great food, great drink, great company, and the weather is cooperating.
But once you get to the barbecue, there's a nasty problem. Wasps are flying all around, and whenever you sit down to eat or have a conversation, those nasty, stinging wasps come buzzing by your head.
They ruin the barbecue.
That's what the Goldwater Institute is doing to the NHL and the Phoenix Coyotes. While the scenario is far from the perfect one we outlined above, the Goldwater Institute is trying to stand up for the Arizona taxpayers by pointing out how much it is costing to support the Coyotes (source: tsn.ca).
The Goldwater Institute opposes any advantages the Glendale City Council bestows upon the team and has sued to invalidate the lease agreement between the Jobing.com Arena and the team.
Greg Jamison has had to deal with his own funding issues and political issues with the city of Glendale. However, dealing with organized outside opposition makes it even more difficult to run the team successfully.
No Long-Term Roots
There's nothing wrong with the NHL trying to expand the game to non-traditional cities like Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix. Those moves don't always work.
The Flames and the Thrashers both moved from Atlanta. The Coyotes averaged 9,825 fans in attendance per game through the 2009-10 season (source: theglobeandmail.com). That's not going to get it done.
Even with tax breaks from the city, it makes owning the team a money-losing proposition. No matter how much you want something to succeed, it won't unless it can stand on its own.
That seems to be the case with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Quebec City has been without an NHL team since the Nordiques left the province of Quebec for Denver at the conclusion of the 1994-95 season.
At the time, the Colisée de Québec was not deemed an NHL-worthy arena, and the team was not making enough money to sustain itself.
It left behind a slew of hockey-loving fans who have survived without major league hockey for the last 17 years.
However, NHL dreams are still strong in Quebec and a new $400 million arena is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2015 (source: cbc.ca). This would be a sensational location for a team that would almost certainly be much loved by its supporters.
Quebec City would make a great new home for the shaky Phoenix Coyotes franchise.