Monday, March 7, 2011

Return of the Jets, pt.1

Many are wondering if the NHL will return to Winnipeg. I am an expert on this. Allow me to tell the story...

The Phoenix Coyotes are in purgatory. Both hockey-wise (desert) and ownership-wise (owned by other 29 NHL teams). They have been for nearly two years now.

Will they escape that quagmire to play in this barren, frozen, hellhole/hockey paradise that we call Winnipeg? The answer awaits!

Hockey in the Desert

Here's the situation. The NHL owns the Coyotes, and that's just pretty awkward. Especially when you consider that the other 29 owners have to chip in to cover the operating losses of $30 million annually - give or take. Therefore its time to sell the team.

Plenty of people would buy the Coyotes, just not anybody who is dumb enough to keep them in Phoenix - or should I say, Glendale - the suburb community with illusions of professional sport grandeur. Glendale, btw, REALLY wants to keep the Coyotes to bring business in its new retail district.

Enter Matthew Hulsizer.

The Deal of The Century?

How much would you pay for an NHL franchise? The correct question should be how much should you be paid to own one - in Glendale, at least. The deal in place is for Hulsizer to buy the Coyotes from the NHL for $170 million. He will then receive $100 million from the City of Glendale in exchange for some parking lots near the arena. The City of Glendale will also pay him $97 million over the next 5 years to "manage the arena". Pull out your calculators!

This says two things: First, everyone involved really expects the Coyotes to continue to lose a lot of money. Second, Glendale is absolutely psycho desperate to keep a tenant in their arena.

Glendale: Screwed Either Way

In the early 2000's Glendale bet heavily on professional sports to transform the local economy from a primarily suburban residential one into a thriving commercial and retail destination.

That was before the world's economy collapsed.

Phoenix was hit harder than almost all other major cities in the US. I imagine the situation looks pretty grim (crippled housing market, diminishing tax revenues, etc) even without considering the Coyotes situation. But if the Coyotes leave, Glendale's city council believes it will ruin the recently built commercial/retail district. They have recently alleged that this could cost the city $500 million in lost revenue over the next 20 years or so.

While that number was probably probably pulled out of somebody's ass, they are willing to hand over $197 million of taxpayer money to this dubious cause - meaning they REALLY believe the Coyotes and their 41 sparsely attended home games will have a serious economic impact if they left. Plus, as bad as this looks, the politicians in Glendale responsible for building the arena and luring the Coyotes may look even worse when the only economic spinoffs from the arena are from the coffee breaks of security guards needed to keep vandals out of the empty building.

* * * * *

I'm tired. More in Pt.2 later.

In the meantime, here's a FastFact!

Media: Get your NHL-related information from guys like Stephen Brunt and Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail. Especially Brunt. He's quality.


  1. First of all, fuck Brunt and Duhatschek, I get my jets news from Michael Friesen. However, I do believe you are missing an important point in your analysis. While the economic impact is believed to be sizable, there are more political considerations. Simply, the Glendale elected officials would look pretty bad spending loads of money on a basically empty arena. After taking a quick look at their census data and seeing a population of only 226,721, the arena is a significant part of the community and would likely be a major black mark for their future political aspirations. With Glendale having a relatively small population, the revenue they can generate from the arena being used is considerable and would go much farther, but I figure they are more concerned with public image.

    Your roomie,

  2. Gary Lawless interviewed a reporter covering this issue for a Glendale newspaper last week. At one point he asked her what the mood was like from the people of Glendale on this, to which she responded,

    "Well, its the key to the brand new shopping district..."

    While I didn't find myself impressed with this reporter's insights (she's an idiot), it struck me how much Glendale invested in this commercial/retail project. As I understand it, they were really trying to change their city and went all in on it.

    If/when this thing comes crashing down, their legacy will be enormous debt, empty buildings, and a city that will be just a little bit shittier than when they got it. Maybe they're worried about getting lynched? It is the States after all.