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Proposed tax zones could benefit Phoenix Coyotes and Suns arenas

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — A measure put forward at the Arizona Legislature would allow the city of Glendale to create a special tax district to help the Phoenix Coyotes and Jobing.com Arena.  The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Phoenix, also could allow the city of Phoenix to establish a similar tax zone around US Airways Center downtown, where the Phoenix Suns play.

House Bill 2193 would allow Arizona cities to create special tax districts around enclosed, city-owned sports arenas.  Sales tax revenue collected within two miles of those venues would be earmarked for use by the arenas and for public infrastructure within their zones.  The cities also could issue bonds against the money to finance projects and the sports complexes’ operations.

Weiers said earlier this week the bill is aimed at helping the Coyotes hockey team stay in the Valley.  The Coyotes are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and have lost more than $300 million since moving to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.   The team currently is owned by the National Hockey League…

The bill would exclude University of Phoenix Stadium from a Glendale tax zone, Weiers said, because the measure limits the taxing districts to areas around enclosed arenas owned by Arizona cities.  That could allow a tax zone in downtown Phoenix, as US Airways Center is owned by the city of Phoenix.  But Chase Field and the Phoenix Convention Center would not be included in that tax zone.  [Note: Read the full article at Proposed tax zones could benefit Phoenix Coyotes and Suns arenas.]

UOP Stadium outranks downtown Phoenix arenas in fan survey

2007_BCS_National_Championship.JPG[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — The University of Phoenix Stadium outranks the region’s other pro sports venues, according to fan surveys conducted by ESPN and the University of Oregon. The ESPN magazine survey asked 5,000 fans nationwide their impressions of pro sports teams, owners, stadiums, and arenas.

The UOP Stadium in Glendale, home to the Arizona Cardinals, ranked 24th on the list.  The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in downtown Phoenix came in 39th for stadium experience. Jobing.com Arena where the financially struggling Phoenix Coyotes play came in 72nd ahead of the Suns.  The Phoenix Suns’ US Airways Center ranked 88th among the 122 pro sports franchise stadiums and arenas. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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).]