Renaissance and Glendale Discussing Arena

One of the principals of Renaissance Sports and Entertainment, Anthony LeBlanc, is scheduled to be in Glendale today to meet with Glendale interim (is everybody “interim” or “acting” over there?) City Manager Dick Bowers and (I believe) Executive Communication Director Julie Frisoni.

Hey You Can’t Look

The main topic of conversation will surely be the amount the City is willing to pony up for the arena management fee. Despite some protestations to the contrary, it’s very likely the “non-hockey” bids have been presented to the City Council during their super secret cone of silence executive session yesterday. That means the important cards are probably on the table, even if that table remains invisible to the public.

I think it probably also means CM Norma Alvarez wasn’t involved in that meeting, since she was absent from yesterday’s workshop.

I’ll Show You Mine

33702154Mr. Bowers will have his:
“Hey, Anthony, look at these four arena bids! We can deal with our arena for $x, and those guys all say they can produce 100 events a year in our arena. Who needs hockey?”

Mr. LeBlanc will have his:
“First of all, there are NOT 100 events in the Valley that will be available to arena, especially considering the the Live Nation arrangement with US Airways Center. But we can provide a guaranteed 40+ nights per year of people who eat and drink and park and we’ll even throw in some naming rights moolah and other revenue to make this arrangement beneficial to both of us.”

And so on. How much progress they make today will depend on how communicative they have been already and how willing they are to cut to the chase. Could they FINISH up today? Not a chance, but they could get a framework finished that’s really close. Assuming they skip lunch.

That’s great, but the elephant in the room is what, boys and girls?

The clock.

Time constraints are certainly going to get close to top billing in the chat over in Glendale today. The time pressure has more effect on the RSE side of the table than the Glendale side, after all it’s possible Glendale could just decide to lock the doors of the arena and shut off the air conditioning until they figure out what to do with it. RSE doesn’t have that luxury, the Coyotes have to be dealt with on a nearly immediate basis.

Tick Tick

Glendale's Julie Frisoni

Glendale’s Julie Frisoni

July 1 is the date Glendale has stated a new arena manager will be taking over their duties. The fiscal year for Glendale begins July 1. Dave Tippett’s contract expires July 1.

Today is June 5, leaving 26 days (depending on how you count) until July 1. There are three Tuesdays, the date for regular Glendale City Council meetings, before July 1. If Glendale is to maintain their own schedule, the last regular date for a vote on an arena management deal is June 25. Twenty days from now.

Rumors abound that the NHL is pushing hard for a concrete agreement to be in place very soon, perhaps as early as this week. Some might question the fairness of such pressures considering the legal constraints that bind municipalities and the NHL’s own lethargic progress completing their work with the Renaissance group.

Glendale isn’t blameless in the brinksmanship game, either. They recently delayed their deadline a week for accepting bids for their arena management RFP to be turned in to Beacon. There could be no possible resolution to the arena problem without those bids turned in, so Glendale obviated real negotiation progress until those bids were provided. Have they been handed over to the City Council even now? We don’t know, although I assume they have.

Meetings with the NHL and RSE and Glendale were postponed earlier. The Coyotes can has been kicked down the road for more than four years now, leaving the team and the arena staff in a state of perpetual limbo. Young Coyotes staffers have come and go, deciding to pin their future hopes on a more stable platform. Most of the upper level staff has hung around and even managed to improve the performance of their attendance and TV numbers in a nearly miraculous fashion.

Limbo is nothing new, but it’s time for it to be done one way or another.

Gary Bettman and crew have been denying the existence of their relocation Plan “B” seemingly forever. Even their mothers don’t believe them anymore.

Work The Steps

Is this thing “doable”? Absolutely 100%, without a doubt.

All the “numbers” support keeping an anchor tenant in Glendale is the best way to support the arena and the surrounding area. While these numbers receive significantly less local press support than placeholder budget numbers, they are legitimate and have growing support on the City Council.

There are three more Glendale City Council meetings scheduled before July 1. If there is progress made on arena negotiations, discussion of same could be on the agenda for any of them. It’s highly unlikely anything could be in place for the June 11 meeting, although the agenda could certainly include the bids for the RFP among other things. The June 18 workshop is also probably out, leaving the June 25 evening meeting as the probable date for a vote.

Because the framework for the Hockey Partners (Jamison) deal will almost certainly be the starting point for talks, most of the work has already been done to get a deal done. It’s significantly simpler to start with something that works and had a LOT of time and effort poured into it than it is to start from scratch.

It will just take effort, cooperation, and a will to complete the task.

Simple, right?