Glendale Keeping Coyotes

Officials in Glendale, Ariz., are keen to keep the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes put for the long term. The city plans to pay $197 million for the troubled team to stay at the Jobing.com Arena.

City councilors recently approved a deal that grants new owner and Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer $100 million for rights to parking lot fees and another $97 million to operate the city-owned venue over the next six years.

Hulsizer, in turn, will reportedly pay $170 million for the Coyotes as part of the deal, which covers the remaining 23 years of the team’s lease at the venue.

The NHL bought the struggling team out of bankruptcy last year. While several groups showed interest in purchasing the Coyotes since then, the league’s been holding out for a buyer that would keep the team in the state. Hulsizer apparently fit the bill.

Following news of the city council vote, the Coyotes released a statement hailing the action as “another step towards securing our future in Glendale and we remain optimistic that a deal will be finalized soon.”

There is one group that could get in the way when it comes to wrapping things up, however.

Local conservative think-tank the Goldwater Institute previously filed suit against Glendale to turn over documents related to its dealings with the Coyotes and it seems the group is at it again.

Goldwater attorney Carrie Ann Sitren told the Arizona Republic the group has examined the team agreement and thinks it may violate an Arizona law that restricts government subsidies for private business.

“There’s just too many red flags to say it doesn’t,” she said.

The deal also raises questions as to whether the arena management fees are comparable to those of other venues and whether the city should seek competing bids before handing over operations to Hulsizer, she added.

Should Goldwater once again file suit and prove the agreement illegal, Hulsizer could reportedly exercise a termination clause that would allow him to walk away from the deal free of any financial obligations.

But officials for the city and Hulsizer don’t appear to be too worried.

“I don’t expect Goldwater will sue and win,” Hulsizer told the Republic.