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Glendale City Council holds public meeting over arena deal

GLENDALE -- Over 100 people, including dozens dressed in Phoenix Coyotes jerseys, showed up at the Glendale City Hall Friday to hear details of a proposed management deal for Jobing.com arena.

The 15-year agreement with the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group would keep the Coyotes in Glendale and cost the city $15 million a year.

The city could recoup the costs through ticket surcharges and parking and naming rights fees.

Those surcharges would amount to $4.50 a ticket for hockey and $6.50 a ticket for other events. Parking fees would range from $10 for Coyotes games to $15 for concerts and other attractions.

Attorney Gary Birnboum told the council that if it approves the deal, there could be another way for the city to make money off of it.

"The arena manager (Renaissance Sports and Entertainment) has at least a plan to create a second venue inside the arena's main bowl for a theatrical event or a smaller concert," Birnboum said. "The naming rights to that smaller venue would be sold, and the city would get 100 percent of the naming rights revenues."

Under the plan, both parties could opt out of the agreement after five years if either of them lose $50 million dollars.

Acting City Manager Dick Bowers told the Council by phone that rejecting the deal could leave the city with an immediate financial problem. That's because Glendale already owes the National Hockey League $25 million dollars for running the arena for two years.

"If this agreement is signed, we will pay that $25 million over the course of five years at $5-million per year," Bowers told the Council. "If the agreement is not signed, then that $25 million payment is due immediately. "

City attorneys told the council that the city has never made any money on the arena since it opened in 2003. But Councilman Manny Martinez said that without the Coyotes and the arena, several nearby businesses would never have opened, including the Tanger Outlet Center and Cabela's.

Martinez thinks that approving the agreement and keeping the Coyotes would be good for business.

"I've been told that there's some businesses that are waiting to see the outcome of these proceedings, and, if the Coyotes stay, there will be an announcement that other businesses are coming in," Martinez said.

Martinez did not name which businesses might be open in the area.

The Glendale City Council will vote on the proposal at a public meeting on Tuesday night.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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