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Article:Bailing Out the Coyotes

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The financial problems of the Phoenix Coyotes are well known and have been the focus of efforts by the NHL to salvage the franchise for the better part of the season. It now appears that the City of Glendale, owner of the arena in which the Coyotes play, has been bailing out [1] the team for some time by foregoing rent payments. In 2007, the last full year for which payments were made, the Coyotes paid Glendale lease payments totaling $4.3 million, so we're not talking about pocket change here. The last date through which payment has been made is July, 2008.

Arena rent is one of the two major sources from which Glendale receives the funds needed to pay back the $200 million in bonds it floated to cover the construction costs of the arena. Foregoing rent for any significant length of time would obviously cause a problem with bond repayment and the bondholders would start to get very nervous, if they haven't already. There are unconfirmed reports that the NHL is covering all or a portion of the Coyotes rent payments during this period. Glendale's mayor would not comment on those reports, saying only: "I know who is going to pay the Coyotes' rent. The taxpayers will not lose any money."

There are investor group(s) looking at the franchise and restructuring the arena lease is a significant factor in the viability of any deal. Without a restructured lease, the Coyotes simply can not operate successfully.

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