Coyotes to stay in Arizona thanks to new arena pact

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Updated: 7/11/2013 3:00 pm

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - The Coyotes will be staying in the Valley of the Sun, pending NHL approval of a new arena management deal between the City of Glendale and a company which intends to purchase the struggling franchise.

Just before 2 a.m. ET on Wednesday, by a 4-3 margin, Glendale City Council accepted the terms of a $225 million, 15-year deal with Renaissance Sports and Entertainment to operate arena, which the Coyotes have called home since 2003.

The agreement is final, pending approval from the Board of Governors, which is expected to occur.

"We finally have an opportunity to look forward," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said once the deal was approved. "It's taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get to this point, and we're grateful to the council for all of their efforts on behalf of our fans here in the Valley, on behalf of all the businesses and people whose employment depends on the Coyotes, and on behalf of everything that's gone into this -- all the hard work, all the effort -- it's nice to have an opportunity to focus on the future."

The NHL has been running the club for the last four years after rescuing it from a protracted battle in Bankruptcy Court, and it was in danger of relocating if Glendale did not accept the terms on the table. The Coyotes arrived in 1996 from Winnipeg, and potential destinations for the vagabond club included Seattle and Quebec City.

But RSE, along with help from Global Spectrum -- an arena and stadium management company headquartered in Philadelphia and a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Flyers and their home venue -- combined to secure the future of the franchise.

However, according to the Arizona Republic, there is an out clause after five years, which is also contingent upon any losses totaling more than $50 million. If the Coyotes exercise that option, RSE has promised to make good on all losses from the deal over $6 million.

In addition, on Wednesday, multiple reports indicated the Coyotes are expected to change their first name from "Phoenix" to "Arizona" to mark the relocation of the club from Arizona's capital to one of its suburbs.

"They all took the leap of faith on staying in uncertain times and staying with this team and region," RSE principal Anthony LeBlanc said in praise of fans who stuck through the myriad business entanglements over the years to support their team.

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