Header image alt text

Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Today, October 8, 2014 is a grey, overcast day in the Phoenix metro area…a rarity to be sure. Anywhere else it would portend a day of steady rain but Phoenix is a desert and because it looks like rain, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. It’s a good day to let thoughts rumble around.

A blog reader recently sent me two news stories of interest. One is from the October 5, 2014 Seattle Times entitled Key Arena turns a bigger profit than it ever did with the Sonics by Ashley Scoby. Here is the link: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024708723_keyarena05xml.html. The other is a Deadspin article entitled The Coyotes were damned close to moving to Seattle by Barry Petchesky dated October 8, 2014. Here is the link: http://deadspin.com/the-coyotes-were-damned-close-to-moving-to-seattle-1643791488 . Each article compliments the other.

In the Deadspin story three sources confirm that the Coyotes were a hair’s breadth from moving to Seattle. Ray Bartoszek and Anthony Lanza had formed a buyers’ group with plans to move the Coyotes to Seattle’s Key Arena the day following the Glendale City Council vote on the IceArizona arena management agreement if it had failed to gain approval. The new information in the story is confirmation that the NHL had blessed the scheme. Everyone knew how imminent the move could be….the NHL knew; the presumed buyers had moving trucks on standby; Glendale senior management knew; the Glendale City Council knew; and IceArizona knew. The only ones in the dark were Glendale residents.

Which leads to the second news story about Seattle’s Key Arena. Everyone presumed in 2009 without the Sonics as an anchor tenant the arena would die a pitiful death. How wrong. An average annual loss to Seattle with the Sonics was $1.5 million. In 2013, without the Sonics, the arena generated $1.2 million in profit. The loss of the team didn’t hurt for it opened up more desirable dates for performing artists to utilize the arena. Artists such as Kanye West, Rihanna, Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars performed at the Key in 2013.

I had always supported keeping a professional sports team at the Gila River Hockey Arena because it was my belief that the arena and Westgate could not survive without one. Seattle’s Key Arena disproves that belief. If the Coyotes arena management agreement had failed on that fateful July, 2013 day Glendale would have moved on, just as Seattle did. Glendale would have joined with an AEG-type partner and could have enjoyed the same kind of success that we see today at Seattle’s Key Arena.

P.S. Here’s a link to yet another Seattle Times news story about an almost move to Seattle: http://seattletimes.com/html/hockey/2024716050_seattlenhl07xml.html#.VDWTTHFMEBI.twitter

© Joyce Clark, 2014


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On Sunday, April 7, 2013, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman gave the following interview. I have taken the liberty of transcribing it and then commenting on his answers to the questions posed to him. Here’s the link if you wish to listen and follow the transcription:


Bettman Interview from King5.com by Chris Daniels, April 7, 2013 (3 minutes, 40 seconds)


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

Reporter (R) Question 1: Unintelligible

Bettman (B) Answer: “We’re not planning on changing the realignment and we’re not planning on moving Phoenix, as we stand here today.” (Italics and bold mine)

Please note that I have italicized and boldened  Mr. Bettman’s last phrase. He could have ended his comment after he said we’re not planning on moving Phoenix but he threw in that last phrase, “as we stand here today.” That does not seem to omit future consideration of moving the team.

R Q 2: Is any decision on Phoenix imminent?

B A: “No, when it becomes imminent we’ll tell you. We apparently aren’t operating on the same time frame that a lot of your colleagues are.”

R Q 3: Well, what time frame are you operating on?

B A 3: “On one that works on getting the project completed in a successful light.”

R Q 4: Do you have multiple…Can you give us an update on Phoenix?

B A 4: “As Bill Daly said, quoting him who was quoting me, this is a work in progress and it remains such and Frank hates that when I use that over and over again. But we’re continuing to work on it and there are a lot of things that are in play.”

In Commissioner Bettman’s answers to Q 2, 3 and 4, I would bet you he said the same things in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

R Q 5: In terms of keeping the team in Glendale or…?

B A 5: “Well, we haven’t been exploring the alternatives.”

What is unsaid is just as relevant as what was said in this response and that is we haven’t been exploring alternatives right now.

R Q 6: You haven’t explored relocation?

B A 6: “We are exploring everything we can to work this out and there seems to be considerable interest. You know, if you go through the history of this, there have been lots of reasons this has taken lots of time. There seems to be now, calm at the moment, a lot more interest than we’ve ever seen.”

It is interesting that this question went unanswered and was meant to direct attention away from relocation. Apparently it was successful because the reporter’s follow-up question is related to the time it has taken.

R Q 7: Why do you think that is…going for a long time?

B A 7: “Because there are a lot of things that happened. Some were with our control, some were beyond our control. Whether or not it was third party intervention, whether or not it was the work stoppage, whether or not it was the deal that went bad for a variety of reasons, the fact of the matter is, there seems to be more interest at this particular point in time than we’ve seen throughout the process.”

R Q 8: Is the city any more cooperative?

B A 8: “Well, I’ve been in regular touch with the mayor and we agreed that when we get a framework lined up then we would come see the city. We don’t want the city to have to expend resources and time getting involved until there’s something concrete to present to them.”

The Commissioner’s response corroborates what has been widely suspected and that is the NHL will select a buyer and bring the deal to Glendale to take it or leave it. The NHL certainly wasn’t this solicitous of the time and resources the city used on a parade of previous suitors.

R Q 9: Could there be some kind of combination of previous suitors?

B A 9: “That would require a lot of speculation and information that might not be constructive to the process.”

R Q 10: I’m coming to you so that I don’t have to speculate…

B A 10: “And I would prefer that we not talk about it because what’s more important is that we get through this process and I think we’ll have a better indication from these meetings this week as to whether we’re getting closer to resolving it.”

The Commissioner is reluctant, as obviously anyone would be at this point, to reveal any of the suitors or their deal points.

R Q 11: Is insurance the main issue this week?

B A 11: “There are lots of issues. I know in your business it’s more interesting for the people that follow you to have specific things to focus on. This doesn’t get done until all of the essential elements get done and so it doesn’t take a focus on any one of the issues.”

R Q 13: Can you tell us when the meetings are and who is meeting?

B A 13: “I think the meetings are either Wednesday or Thursday. NHLPA, IOC and double IHI.

R Q 14: How close are you following the NBA Board of Governors and the potential of the Seattle arena going in?

B A 14: “Just from afar.”

Do we really think so?

R Q 15: Does it affect Phoenix?

B A 15: “Not really. Phoenix is Phoenix. They’re gonna, I assume the NBA Board of Governors will make whatever decision they think is in the best interest of the league and the franchise involved.”

I wouldn’t be commenting on Seattle as a relocation possibility for Phoenix either.

R A 16: Seattle in general. Do you have any thoughts on that as a potential hockey market?

B A 16: “The research I’ve seen tells me that it would be a very strong hockey market. I haven’t looked at it in detail but it’s all anecdotal and third hand and obviously, if there were a team in Seattle it might foster a pretty decent rivalry with a northern neighbor, namely Vancouver.”

Look for a team in Seattle in the future. Whether it turns out to be the Coyotes or another team, only the Commissioner knows and he’s not telling.

———————————      END    ————————————


%d bloggers like this: