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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Coyotes Arena Ballot Measures Fall Short

  • Tempe voters reject three ballot measures on Coyotes' proposed $2.1B arena project forward.
  • Meanwhile, four groups submit bids for Ottawa Senators ahead of Monday deadline.
The final bids for the Ottawa Senators are do Monday as the Phoenix Coyotes prepare for crucial special election over planned arena.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports/Arizona Coyotes

Tempe voters chose to leave landfill as is instead of the Arizona Coyotes’ proposed privately funded $2.1 billion arena project.

None of the three ballot measures in the mail-in special election passed, according to the unofficial results released Tuesday night. None of the measures received more than 44% “yes” votes.

Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said in a statement that the next move for the franchise “will be evaluated by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks.”

The Coyotes have called the Phoenix area home since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg after the 1995-96 season — and the franchise never found a foothold. The Coyotes moved out of downtown Phoenix for Glendale in 2003 where the team languished, and went bankrupt under former owner Jerry Moyes in 2009.

Despite those issues, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman remained hesitant over allowing the team to relocate.

“The National Hockey League is terribly disappointed by the results of the public referenda regarding the Coyotes’ arena project in Tempe,” Bettman said in a statement. “We are going to review with the Coyotes what the options might be going forward.”

After a falling out with Glendale, the team played the most recent season at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullet Arena

Billionaire Cuban-American Alex Meruelo purchased the Coyotes in 2019 for about $300 million.

“We are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303,” Gutierrez said. “As Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said, it was the best sports deal in Arizona history. The Coyotes wish to thank everyone who supported our efforts and voted yes.”

The ballot measures dealt with changing Tempe’s general plan to add the project, rezoning and clearing way for the Coyotes to develop the project site.

Senators Sale Update

Six months after the Ottawa Senators went on the market, a least three bids were submitted at the deadline with one of the bids at or above $1 billion, a source told Front Office Sports.

There were six six groups still in the mix before the final bid deadline at the close of business on Monday.

The next step is for Galatioto Sports Partners, the New York-based firm tapped to handle the sale, to review all the proposals.

According to a source, one of the bids submitted was structured in a way that could lead to issues with its viability. It’s not clear which group hit $1 billion or the which will be busy in the interim trying to address questions with its bid as the vetting process ramps up.

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported the following groups submitted bids:

  • Toronto businessman Steve Apostolopoulos, who was interested in the Washington Commanders 
  • Billionaire Montreal Canadiens minority owner Michael Andlaue
  • Former Pittsburgh Penguins minority owners Jeffrey and Michael Kimel
  • Los Angeles-based businessman Neko Sparks, whose group includes rapper Snoop Dogg

A final announcement on a winning bidder likely won’t arrive for several days. Galatioto Sports declined comment on Monday.

It was clear last week that actor Ryan Reynolds wouldn’t be among those submitted a final bid as his group withdrew from the process.

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé also had interest in the Sens.

Editor’s note: This story was updated late on May 16 with the unofficial election results.

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