Daily Archives: December 23, 2008

Viewpoint: Will the Phoenix Coyotes become extinct?

[Source: Total Pro Sports, December 8, 2008] — With the economy headed for the second great depression, it seems only fitting that teams in the big four sports leagues (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB) start filing for bankruptcy and suspend operations.  The NBA is already feeling this with arenas that are empty and ticket sales declining on a game to game basis.  Just take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, and Sacramento Kings attendance decline.  The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL are one of the teams headed for extinction, this year they are expected to lose anywhere from $25 to $35 million.  After seeing a slight increase in ticket sales in the beginning of the season the Coyotes have cooled down and ticket sales have dropped severely.

Two sources said [owner Jerry] Moyes is so eager to unload the Coyotes that he approached his former partner, Steve Ellman, about buying the team back wrote the Globe And Mail.  The Coyotes management has a different outlook on the economy and the future of the team.  “I am confident not only that hockey will be here in five years, but that we will be doing well in five years,” Coyotes governor and chief executive officer Jeff Shumway said, pointing to improved ticket and suite sales and fewer giveaways.  “We run a great franchise in a great sport, a sport we love.  And we’re in one of the fastest-growing markets in the U.S.”

Since 2001 the Phoenix Coyotes have lost more the $200 milliion, that’s $80 million more then the team was orginally purchased for.  What we still don’t understand is that day when the NHL commissioner decided to move the Winnipeg Jets to the Phoenix, Arizona area.  A city of Winnipeg that loves snow and ice to a city that averages 100+ degree weather.  Make sense?  Yes, the Jets were struggling in Winnipeg but we highly doubt they would be in such a financial crisis that the Coyotes are right now.

The problem with the Coyotes is that they play almost 25 minutes out of downtown Phoenix in Glendale, Arizona.  When you’re bringing a team into a new market, it’s best to situate the team in the downtown core.  Where big business can buy suites and season tickets for the business.  This would not end the financial crisis of the Coyotes, but it would eliminate some of the financial stress they are enduring right now.  The big-money guys, the corporate guys, don’t live in Glendale,” Paul Kelly (NHLPA Executive Director) said.  “If you live in Scottsdale, Glendale is not an easy place to get to.  That hurts them in the area like club seats and boxes.  You could see evidence of that the other night [at a Coyotes game].”

Reports now out of Phoenix is that they are seeking a loan from Citibank, but with all the banks problems in the United States it’s highly unlikely they will get approved.  So if anyone is interested Total Pro Sports is looking at putting together a group of investors to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.  We can probably buy them undervalued at about $85 million.  If anyone is interested please contact us…just kidding.  [Note: Updates: ESPN (12/23/08) and Globe and Mail (12/23/08).]

Share your opinion online about Arizona’s transportation needs

[Source: Arizona Department of Transportation] — Your input is needed to help shape Arizona into a more desirable home for future generations.  The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is making progress on a Statewide Transportation Planning Study developing a long range vision for future transportation needs in Arizona.  “Building a Quality Arizona” (bqAZ) focuses on needs in the year 2050 and is a statewide collaborative process to identify the full range of options to address future needs.

ADOT has made it easy to participate in the Statewide Transportation Planning Study.  By visiting the bqAZ website between now and January 31, 2009, you can review all the information presented at the most recent community workshops and provide your input.

Online participation is available for each of the four Regional Studies: Northern, Western, Eastern, and Central.  You can choose which Regional Study you would like to participate in depending on where you live, work, play, or wherever you would like to provide input.

Small businesses have high hopes for downtown Phoenix

[Source: Betty Beard, Arizona Republic] — For all its looming high-rises and growth, downtown Phoenix hasn’t become so big that entrepreneurs feel squeezed out.  In fact, owners of small businesses in and near downtown Phoenix see only opportunity in the urban professional workers; the growing nightlife; the expanding Arizona State University campus; and the tripling of the Phoenix Convention Center coupled with a new 1,000-room Sheraton hotel.  They watch optimistically as new offices and residential and retail buildings are being constructed, and they’re especially eager for Saturday’s arrival of light rail.

Progress in downtown Phoenix is noticed, though some say it hasn’t come quickly enough.  The area is not yet the vibrant, 24-hour urban core many expected.  One big challenge is increasing pedestrian traffic because downtown Phoenix isn’t as compact as other downtowns in the Valley.  Most small businesses are on the fringes of downtown, where owners still can find an old building with character that can be leased cheaply enough (maybe in the range of $15 to $18 a square foot) to allow the property to become profitable.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.] 

Editor’s Note: Downtown Voices Coalition has long called for investment in and promotion of Phoenix’s locally owned businesses.  Summary recommendations from the 2004 “Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown” report are highlighted below.  To review the full report, click here.

Locally Owned Business: Sustain a unique and thriving downtown by choosing to invest in our local economy, cultivate consumer choice, and encourage cultural diversity by nurturing small, locally owned businesses.  The City should be willing to effectively “co-sign” for any developer who is willing to place locally owned businesses in new projects, and offer incentives to developers who seek out local businesses as tenants.  Fifty percent of the businesses located in the Phoenix Convention Center should be locally owned.  A study should be initiated to show the positive impact locally owned businesses have on the economy and use these findings to engage potential lenders and developers, and to inform policy makers.

Thinking ahead… recycle your Christmas tree Phoenicians

The city of Phoenix and A to Z Equipment Rentals & Sales will provide opportunities for residents to recycle Christmas trees.  Fourteen city parks will accept single trees from residents any time beginning Friday, Dec. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 4.  Click here for more information.