Today is the big day in which the Glendale, Arizona city council is expected to vote yea or nay on a proposed arena management deal intended to keep the NHL from carrying through on its threat to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Seattle's KeyArena. But don't expect to get a clear picture of the outcome of tonight's council vote from the rush of immediate coverage.
As I've previously posted, the deal that is on the council's agenda tonight is not the deal that the Coyote's potential buyers, Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE), says they need. "We're not going to agree to it," RSE said about the amended deal that gives Glendale a five-year out if losses to taxpayers exceed $50 million. So unless the council amends the revised deal to revert back to its previous language, it's not clear that a yes vote is enough to save the team.
As for the likelihood of the council approving a deal, that probably got a boost today from a last minute announcement that Global Spectrum would partner with RSE to manage Glendale's Jobing.com Arena. Global Spectrum operates the University of Phoenix Stadium next door, and is one the world's leading arena management firms. It is also part of the Comcast-owned subsidiary that owns the Philadelphia Flyers. So that's a pretty big endorsement of keeping the team in Glendale from one of the league's most powerful owners.
That said, if the council fails to approve an arena deal that is acceptable to RSE, we should know soon if the Coyotes will be playing in Seattle next season. KeyArena had originally been holding dates in anticipation of the possible return of the NBA, and has continued to hold those dates at the request of the NHL. But with the NHL preseason just a couple months away, the league would have to make its scheduling decisions awfully damn soon.