Caitlin McGlade has an article in the January 25, 2014 edition of the Arizona Republic. The information she provided is old news – stale. Must be a slow news day and therefore a good day to bash Glendale again. I would imagine Coyotes fans are in a dither while Glendale’s citizens are just shaking their heads. There is no need to become hysterical – just yet.

The information used has been up on the Glendale website for quite some time and the numbers have not changed. Do not expect to see any new numbers until after January 31, 2014 when the December 2013 Arena Monthly Report and the first quarterly (Oct-Nov-Dec 2013) parking revenue numbers will be posted. Here are the numbers as they are presented on the city’s website today:   

  Fund ID     Amount  
Arena Event Operations


Arena Special Revenue




Arena Annual   Rent


Arena Base Team   Fees


Arena Naming   Right Revenue


Arena Parking   Fees


Arena Parking   Rev-Hockey Games


Arena Parking   Rev-NonHockey


Arena Ticket   Surchg-Hockey


Arena Ticket   Surchg-NonHockey


No where could I find what the city has spent to date in capital improvements to the arena. I am sure the numbers are there — somewhere. It may be labeled as Arena Event Operations although that may be the costs of providing public safety or it could be the first quarterly payment of the capital improvement bill. It’s hard to tell.

The picture as it stands today is incomplete and no one will have a good idea of revenues and expenses until after the end of the current Fiscal Year, June 30, 2014. If the current trend holds it will not be a pretty picture for Glendale’s financial health.

Glendale must pay IceArizona $15 million dollars a year for arena management. It is smoke and mirrors. IceArizona has assigned its entire rights over to Fortress Lending and the National Hockey League and that $15M is the payment on the interest on the loans it has with both entities. IceArizona has become a “pass through” for the $15M. In this current Fiscal Year the council budgeted $6 million toward the arena management fee. The remaining $9 million to cover the management fee is to come from “enhanced revenues” produced by IceArizona. As you can see it doesn’t appear that IceArizona will produce the much needed $9 million. What about the supplemental ticket surcharge of $1.50? It appears that it will come in under $1 million for the Fiscal Year.

Under a generous scenario it looks like this:

  •      $15 million to be paid each year to IceArizona for management of arena
  •    -$  6 million in city budget to pay management fee  
  •      $ 9 million not in city budget to pay management fee
  •     -$ 4 million received from IceArizona as “enhanced revenue” (approx. estimate)
  •     -$ 1 million received from IceArizona from supplemental ticket surcharge (approx. estimate)
  •     $  4 million shortage of revenues not covered by city budget or receipt of revenues from IceArizona (approx. estimate)

These figures are estimates and we will have to wait until the final numbers are available. The estimated $4M shortage could end up being lower or higher. Where will the payment of the shortage come from? There is only one place – the city’s Contingency Fund (rainy day fund). No wonder there will be little to no money in Contingency this Fiscal Year (the year end estimate is approx. $800,000).

Two other financial debts associated with the arena are the construction bond payments of approx. $12 million a year and the obligation of the city to pay for capital improvements to the arena. This year it is a million dollars and in the next few following years it is half a million. Then it cycles up to a million followed by another couple of years at half a million. 

Immediately some will point to Camelback Ranch as the 800lb. gorilla and it is. Keep in mind that the city does not have to pay annual operating and maintenance costs for the facility. They are paid by the two teams: the Dodgers and White Sox. What the city does pay in the construction bond debt annually and that too, is a substantial payment of approximately $13 million. The sales tax generated which is very small in the scheme of things does go toward the bond debt. The only light at the end of this tunnel is that in the future, way in the future, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) has an obligation to reimburse Glendale for approximately 70% of the cost of constructing the facility.  In the meantime, it is another debt that Glendale can ill afford right now.

So, everyone take a deep breath, relax and wait until we have a complete picture of the numbers at the end of the Fiscal Year. 

There is a new poll to the left of this column asking if you believe that Glendale can straighten out its fiscal mess. To the upper right of this column you can sign up with your email address to subscribe to notifications of my upcoming blog post. Check them out!

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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