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Phoenix Coyotes Lease Approved by Glendale

After a long city council meeting, the Glendale City Council voted 4-3 in favor of the lease agreement with RSE.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

After a week of twists and turns leading up to the July 2 deadline imposed by the NHL, the Glendale City Council passed a lease agreement with RSE to run Arena with a 4-3 vote.

Phoenix Coyotes fans had heard that the lease deal had died earlier in the week, then it was brought back to life only to be rejected by both the NHL and RSE. Both sides gave a little in the following days, RSE with parameters around their out-clause and a make whole guarantee if the team relocates after five years (A program that would reimburse the city for any losses beyond $6 million per year over those five years if RSE chooses to relocate), and Glendale with dropping the city's out-clause.

Council members Martinez, Chavira, Sherwood and Vice Mayor Knaack voted in favor of the deal while council members Alvarez, Hugh and Mayor Weiers voted against the lease.

"(I'm) very grateful to the citizens and tax-payers here in Glendale," RSE's Anthony LeBlanc said upon meeting's end.

RSE will be paid $15 million annually (amount for year one will be prorated) to run Arena and in turn will guarantee 41 NHL games per year. In the event they do not provide 41 games, RSE will pay a $150,000 penalty for each game missed below the 41-game mark.

RSE will provide other revenue streams to the city including surcharges on parking and both hockey and non-hockey event tickets.

Earlier in the day, it was learned that RSE had partnered with Global Spectrum, an international venue manger that manages the Wells Fargo Center (home of the Philadelphia Flyers) and University of Phoenix Stadium, which is just across the street from Arena. Global Spectrum currently manages over 100 venues and is a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor.

"It's nice to have an opportunity to focus on the future," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "(We are) finally able to begin focusing on life without all of the uncertainty."

Ownership will not be finalized until RSE signs the lease with Glendale and completes the purchase of the Coyotes from the NHL by or before August 5. Failure to do so would void the currently-passed lease agreement.

When asked why he continues to support the Arizona hockey market, Bettman said that he believes the team can succeed because of how well the franchise has been supported over the last few years, in spite of all the ownership drama and uncertainty.

LeBlanc seconded Bettman's statements by saying that Arizona is, "a wonderful market" and that he truly believes in Arizona.

Bettman mentioned that there is still some i's to dot and t's to cross before the sale becomes official. He said finalization should only take a couple weeks to complete, which is well before the August 5 deadline.

LeBlanc said he will sit down with General Manger Don Maloney on Wednesday to begin discussing the direction of the team on the ice. Free agents can be signed starting at 9 A.M. Arizona time on Friday.

The team's name will change to the Arizona Coyotes, as was expected, but LeBlanc assured fans at the meeting that the logo would not.

Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris was in attendance along with Maloney and team C.O.O. Mike Nealy.

Glendale resident Ken Jones vowed to begin the process of a referendum on the lease deal. Jones has tried and failed in his previous attempts to get a Arena lease agreement on a ballot for a public vote.