Glendale City Council approves Coyotes arena lease deal with city

Gila River Arena is owned by the city of Glendale but operated by IceArizona, the Coyotes’ ownership group. (Photo by Tyler Freader/Cronkite News)

The Glendale City Council on Friday approved four measures that will keep the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale — for now.

The Arizona Coyotes and the city of Glendale announced Thursday that they have tentatively agreed to a restructuring of the lease agreement that the Glendale City Council voted to void last month.

The City Council on Friday unanimously apporved the agreement, which will end in just two years rather than original end date of 2028. The new deal will reduce the yearly management fee paid to the team by the city, from $15 million to $6.5 million, and also includes language dealing with revenues from parking and ticket surcharges, two other issues in dispute.

The City Council voted June 10 to void its 15-year, $225 million agreement with the team on the basis of a state conflict-of-interest state statute.

Former assistant city manager Julie Frisoni and former city attorney Craig Tindall have both worked with the Coyotes since leaving the city, with Tindall serving as the team’s general counsel. If either were significantly involved in the initial agreement, the city reserved the right to cancel the deal.

As part of the new lease agreement, the Coyotes agreed not to employ or retain the consultation of Tindall or Frisoni in the future.

In a news release, the team’s co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc thanked Coyotes fans for their support and said the new agreement is mutually beneficial to the club and city.

“What’s important is putting this dispute behind us and focusing on growing the Coyotes business and, in turn, further growing revenues for the entire Westgate Entertainment District,” he said in the release. “This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action. We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long-term.”

In the release, Glendale’s acting city manager, Dick Bowers, said he believes the Coyotes provide value to the Glendale economy.

“This revised agreement represents a positive outcome for both the city and the Coyotes,” he said in the release. “It also allows us to move forward in a way that keeps an important economic driver in our community. That’s important for business and it’s important to our citizens.”

Both the Coyotes and the City Council declined to comment beyond the release in advance of Friday’s meeting on the agreement.