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Bloomberg News reports this week on more woes of Glendale, Arizona, a city of 230,500 west of Phoenix. The city agreed to pay $308 million over the next 20 years to keep the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes, which had the worst attendance in the league last year, despite having a good team. (The league is locked in a labor dispute this year.) Standard & Poor's and Moody's, citing the hockey payments, downgraded the city's debt; investors demanded a 7.5% higher penalty on city debt compared with 11 months ago, says Bloomberg. Now Glendale is slashing budgets and planning layoffs. All told, operating costs have been whacked by 25% while layoffs have leapt to 300. Last June, voters rejected a sales tax increase that the council had passed, further complicating financing.

Glendale wooed the team from Phoenix in 1996 with the promise of the new arena. But the team went into bankruptcy in 2009 and was purchased by the league, with Glendale agreeing to cover losses that have amounted to $50 million over the past two years. Tax receipts from the promised surrounding development, now unfinished, was to service debt payments. But the development never got off the ground and was seized by the lender.

Glendale also issued debt to finance a $200 million baseball park that Major League Baseball teams would use in spring training. Taxes from adjacent development were to pay off the bonds, but the development quickly ran into economic woes.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 1, 2013 @ 12:58 a.m.

Munis have no business subsidizing pro sports. It is a fraud perpetrated on the poor and middle class thru sales tax hikes.


Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2013 @ 7:26 a.m.

SurfPup: Subsidies for sports teams owned by billionaires (18 of 32 NFL owners are billionaires) are a complete scam. Yet the teams keep pulling them, despite the evidence from cities such as Glendale, St. Louis, Cincinnati, San Diego....the list goes on and on. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 1, 2013 @ 8:44 a.m.

Don Bauder I don't disagree with the premise of your article. IMO , all things considered, it would have been cheaper to just let the NHL take the team and move it, That said however, part of your article is factually incorrect. Glendale didn't woo the team from Phoenix in 1996. The former Winnipeg Jets didn't even begin playing in Phoenix in until 1996 at which time they played in the old America West Arena, which at the time was a good basketball arena, but an absolutely horrible hockey arena. There was never a discussion at that time involving Glendale. The group that bought the team wanted to move it to Minnesota. It was Jerry Colangelo who talked them into moving the team to phoenix and playing in what was the America West Arena. Talks with Glendale didn't begin until 2001, when the group that purchased the team from the previous Canadian owners resold the team to another local ownership group. Prior to the sale, almost 3 years were spent trying to negotiate a deal to build a new arena in Scottsdale, just south of downtown,at the site of a former mall. The funding for the new Glendale arena was approved in late 2001 and the team remained in Phoenix until completion of a new arena. Again, they weren't "wooed: to Glendale with "the promise of the new arena". They played in Phoenix until the new arena was completed.

You also apparently missed this statement in the article you cited: “If you look back to 2009, they were a perfectly normal city,” said Neene Jenkins, an AllianceBernstein analyst in New York. The company oversees about $32 billion in municipal securities and bought debt offered in Glendale’s latest sale. “It’s a bigger issue than just the arena. The risk, coupled with recessionary factors, has really hit Glendale.”


Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2013 @ 12:51 p.m.

tomjohnston: Your narrative of what happened contradicts what Bloomberg said. As to the statement by Neene Jenkins: I saw it, but didn't use it, partly because the statement that Glendale was normal until 2009 didn't sound right. Also, all these blogs are condensed. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 1, 2013 @ 1:23 p.m.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say my narrative of what happened contradicts what Bloomberg said.The Bloomberg article didn't say that Glendale wooed the team from Phoenix in 1996 with the promise of the new arena. It specifically said the Coyotes relocated to Phoenix in 1996 and that the city of Glendale lured the team there in 2003 when they issued the bonds to finance the arena. Bloomberg's article actually contradicts what you wrote, not what I wrote. If you prefer not to use another part of the story because the quote doesn't fit with your theme, since your the writer, that's your choice of course. That did give me a good chuckle though, in as much that something that was good enough for Bloomberg to use wasn't good enough for you to use, but to each their own. As for all these blogs are condensed, I have no idea what that means. You wrote something that was factually incorrect. The facts are the facts and what you wrote is contradictory to them. I don't see how any "condensing" of this blog has anything to do with that.


Don Bauder Jan. 2, 2013 @ 8:06 a.m.

tomjohnston: The Bloomberg article was 25 paragraphs. My condensation of it was three paragraphs. Obviously, a lot had to be left out. It appears you are right that the article said that Glendale lured the team in 2003. My error. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 2, 2013 @ 10:45 a.m.

Don Bauder,

I made a simple comment that your timeline on the Coyotes moving to Glendale was wrong. I knew this from having spent a fair amount of time in the Phoenix area over the last 20+ yrs. It wasn't something that was "left out" from the Bloomberg article, you just got it wrong and I was pointing that out, as I said, from personal knowledge. Perhaps you would have been wiser not to proclaimed my "narrative" contradictory to the Bloomberg article, when it actually said the same thing I did, without first revisiting the article.Or perhaps you could have just been a little more accurate in the first place. It was a really silly error that gives a completely different slant to your article than using the correct timeline would have. For example, "Glendale completed it's romancing of the Phoenix Coyotes from Phoenix, where they have played since their move from Winnipeg in 1996, to Glendale, when the arena's construction broke ground on April 3, 2002." gives a completely different feel than "Glendale wooed the team from Phoenix in 1996 with the promise of the new arena". Not to mention, the former is at least accurate. But then again, you're the journalist, not me.

Just my opinion.

Opinions vary.


Burwell Jan. 1, 2013 @ 3:32 p.m.

It looks like Papa Don's version of the history is correct. A bankruptcy judge and the NHL was involved in this complex situation. Glendale was trying to get the team since at least 1999, maybe earlier. See link below. In any event Papa Don's point appears to be that Glendale's involvement in sports has led the city to lay off employees and slash city services. The whole history of this deal is described in the many articles linked at the Canadian website below. These facts are so complicated that nobody could summarize them in a blog



Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2013 @ 3:47 p.m.

Burwell: I think everybody agrees that Glendale taxpayers have been raped -- still another case of subsidization of sports teams that fleeces the public. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 1, 2013 @ 8:46 p.m.

Burwell, I have no disagreement with Don Bauder on the asininity of Glendale and their involvement with the Coyotes. In fact, I think it was a losing proposition bringing them in from the start. But that's a whole different story. Where Don's version of "history" is factually incorrect is his reference that Glendale wooed the team from Phoenix in 1996 with the promise of the new arena. They didn't. They played 7 1/2 seasons in Phoenix before moving to Glendale, AFTER the arena was built, as was pointed out in the Bloomberg article that Don Bauder referred to.The history of the former WHL Winnepeg Jets, their relocation to Phoenix and Jerry Colangelo's involvement in getting them there has been well documented. Colangelo and Betman are good friends and Bettman had told Colangelo in the earlier '90's that he would have a hockey team to add to his empire. From a Feb. 11, 1995, Toronto Star story titled "Phoenix awaits Canadian NHL flop: "The question is only when and how - whether it's two or three years, and whether it's through expansion or relocation," Jerry Colangelo told The Star's Chris Young, adding that he has been approached quietly by Phoenix-area investors interested in bringing NHL hockey here. Glendale may have been trying to get the team since at least 1999, but in 1999 and 200o, the Coyotes ownership was looking at Scottsdale. On September 30, 1998, Coyotes team officials gave a presentation in an abandoned department store in the soon to be demolished Los Arcos Mall. They included artists' renderings of the proposed $600 million redevelopment project at Los Arcos Mall. With demolition providing the backdrop, it was a contrast in what the Coyotes hoped the area will become by 2001 and what was on that day. On May18, 1999 Scottsdale voters approved a stadium district by a 2-1 ratio. Forming the district was the first step in rebuilding the aging Los Arcos Mall area as a hockey-entertainment complex anchored by an 18,000-seat Phoenix Coyotes arena. http://hockey.ballparks.com/NHL/PhoenixCoyotes/articles.htm
As I said, I agree with Don Bauder in his view of Glendale's recent actions. However, again, some of his "facts" involving the relocation of the Jets/Coyotes are incorrect.


Don Bauder Jan. 2, 2013 @ 8:08 a.m.

tomjohnston: I have already done a mea maxima culpa on that 1996 date. Best, Don Bauder


tomjohnston Jan. 2, 2013 @ 10:51 a.m.

Yes, you did. However, upon closer examination, you'll find my above comment was:

A - in reply to Burwell


B - written just under 12 hours before your mea maxima culpa.

BTW, I wasn't looking for your mea maxima culpa but rather simply, as I have said, pointing out and correcting a factual error and supplying addition information. No reply was expected nor needed.


Don Bauder Jan. 2, 2013 @ 12:11 p.m.

tomjohnston: In re 12 hour delay: I don't always get responses up right away, particularly if I have to look something up, as I did in this case. Best, Don Bauder


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