The ownership group may have several spots in mind.
It has been very quiet in terms of the news of what the National Hockey League’s Arizona franchise ownership’s plan is for the future after the May 16th defeat of a Tempe, Arizona arena referendum. But some news has emerged, the franchise ownership is looking around the Valley of the Sun area and franchise representatives could be talking to people in Phoenix, in Scottsdale, in Mesa, and to negotiators from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. No one knows what the status of any arena negotiations is but Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics’ franchise owner John Fisher was able to get a commitment from Nevada lawmakers to partially fund a Las Vegas baseball park in about six weeks’ time. A deal could be very quickly materializing in the greater Phoenix area for the NHL franchise following the Las Vegas playbook.
Everyone from the NHL offices to MLB to the NBA to the NFL and Major League Soccer is reviewing what happened in Tempe with the voters saying no to building an arena in town and figuring out how to keep the public from voting on arena and/or stadium construction public funding. Putting up the question of whether a local community wants to spend money on a sports venue is a sure loser. The Arizona owners and the NHL negotiators want a public-private partnership and getting a deal done has to include some perks like creating an entertainment zone or granting a franchise the right to operate a casino on the property or being allow to skip property tax payments on the land. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community site would not have a sports gambling option for the hockey team owners. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman does not want to walk away from a market, the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, that he thinks with the right arena the franchise would be viable. The Phoenix market arena saga continues.
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