On Wednesday the Glendale City Council voted to end its arena agreement with the Arizona Coyotes hockey team. On April 1, 2016 the MGM – AEG Arena will open on the Las Vegas Strip with enough seating for 17,500 fans.
The Coyotes have no home ice. Las Vegas can make it by opening day. Glendale city officials voided the 15 year Gila River Arena deal saying that there was a conflict of interest as a former city attorney now works for the hockey team.
Developers of the $375 million Las Vegas Arena say they don’t need a home hockey or basketball team for the privately financed venue to be economically viable – but it wouldn’t hurt their chances either.
Las Vegas businessman Bill Foley has been speculating. He’s already collected over 13,000 ticket deposits to start a new hockey team in Las Vegas. He has a deal with MGM and AEG to have that as yet unrealized squad play at the MGM – AEG Arena. Foley isn’t alone, his partners in the venture include the Maloof brothers – owners of the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings of the NBA. The Maloof family also developed the Palms Casino Resort in 1999.
If Foley were to be able to buy the team he may not need to wait for the new arena to open if a rental agreement could be struck with MGM for thier exisiting MGM Grand Garden Arena just up the street. The last pre-season hockey game to played at the current arena was in October 2014.
Were Foley et al to create an expansion team the NHL franchise could cost as much as $500 million.
On Friday a Maricopa County Superior Court judge issued a temporary injunction against Glendale killing the team’s Gila River Arena deal.