July 2, 2008 was a day in Seattle sports history that crushed an entire fan base and city. After a tumultuous time dealing with Howard Schultz, Clay Bennett (the devil), and the ill-begotten, lowly, and degraded David Stern (gollum), the Supersonics saw their storied franchise torn away from their hometown and moved to Oklahoma City. Five years to the day after, the hearts of basketball fans in the Emerald City have not yet healed.
But, could something be in the works today that would bring something positive to this day in Seattle sports history?
No, Mariners fans, Brendan Ryan isn’t going anywhere (at least for today) and the rest of the AL West won’t call it quits on the season. Rather, in what could be a pivotal move in getting the NBA to look at the possibility of expansion in Seattle further, the City of Glendale will vote today on a lease agreement that will decide whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes stay where they are. Should the two sides be unable to reach an agreement, it is highly likely, and some would say almost certain, that Phoenix gets relocated to Seattle.
Let’s talk about the details of the move.
Behind the move
As I detailed in an earlier post, a Canadian ownership groups that is comprised of George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc recently came forward and offered to purchase the team for $170 million, in the hopes of keeping the team in Glendale. There have been issues, however, with the amount of money the City of Glendale has offered to put into the arena each year. Whereas the NHL wants to see a city put between $13 and $15 million into an arena every year, Glendale said they could spend around $6 million, obviously creating a conflict that needs to be resolved.
However, after numerous talks, it appears as though Glendale will be offering on the lower side of things in a move that will not please the potential owners.
Whether or not the Coyotes move is an issue that will spawn off a vote tonight, as the city will reveal its offer at 7 pm local time with plenty of discussions to follow that vote. It is currently believed that if the city’s offer is not suitable to the owners who wish to keep the team in Glendale, the Coyotes would be relocated to Seattle.
In order to facilitate a team in Seattle, a New York ownership group has come forward and offered to purchase the team and have them play in Key Arena for the time being, with the hopes that they would eventually see Chris Hansen’s multi-functional arena built. NHL executives have stated that they would not mind having the Coyotes play in Key Arena for 2-4 years.
As was reported earlier, it appeared as though Glendale and the Canadian ownership group would not see eye-to-eye, resulting in the likelihood the team would be moved to Seattle.
The likelihood of that occurring, however, looks as though it may have changed with a partnership between two businesses, one of which has documented success in sports and the worldwide market.
Global enters the picture
First tweeted by Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona, Renaissance Sports & Entertainment (RSE) has partnered with Global Spectrum to help with the financial success of the Phoenix Coyotes and the City of Glendale.
Renaissance Sports & Entertainment (RSE) has hired industry leader Global Spectrum to ensure the financial (cont) http://t.co/wvJ7ZUKeYU
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) July 2, 2013
For those of you who don’t know who Global Spectrum is, they are an industry leader in sports facilities and facilities in general, as the group already operates and manages the Wells Fargo Center (home of the Philadelphia Flyers) and the University of Phoenix Stadium (home of the Arizona Cardinals). The partnering of RSE and Global Spectrum is expected to bring in a lot more revenue to Jobing.com Arena as well as Glendale, giving the city more incentive to up their side of the deal.
This is obviously a huge move for those who wish to see the Coyotes remain in Glendale, as it creates a huge incentive for the team to remain in place. Already operating the UOPS, Global Spectrum can designate events from UOPS to Jobing.com Arena to facilitate greater economic success at its other venue.
The only thing that really needs to be cleared up, however, is how much the city will weight this move in respect to potentially offering more annual support for the arena.
When I first began writing this post, things were looking great for Seattle sports fans who would like to see an NHL team in the Emerald City. However, not even 10 minutes into writing it, everything changed.
But so goes the way of the sports world, especially in relation to the City of Seattle.
The new partnership between RSE and Global Spectrum definitely appears to be more than enough to keep the team in Glendale. There is too much of a shot for a lot of revenue at their current location, even without high annual support by the city. So while I was previously ecstatic about July 2nd becoming at least a little more positive in the minds of Seattle-ites, it appears as though this day will always mean one thing to us: the end of the Sonics.