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NHL closer to Seattle? Deal to keep Coyotes in Phoenix hits ‘potential snag’

It’s reportedly “D-Day” in Phoenix for efforts to keep the NHL’s Coyotes from leaving town. Speculation grows the team could soon be relocating to Seattle.

The NHL has operated the money losing franchise since 2009, and is in talks to sell the team to the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group.

But the league has given them and the city of Glendale, which owns the Arena, a firm deadline of July 2 to reach agreement on a new lease. reports those talks have hit a “potential snag” over about $8.5 million per year in revenues.

RSE is seeking a guaranteed $15 million annually to operate the arena. But the Glendale City Council has budgeted just $6.5 a year. A source tells columnist Dan Bickley that makes a negotiating session scheduled for Friday critical.

“It’s the most important 24 hours in the history of the Phoenix Coyotes,” the source said.

The city and RSE have reportedly been talking about a deal to create upwards of $8 million in new revenue through parking, naming rights and a cut of a ticket surcharge. But Bickley says the city wants that guaranteed and RSE refuses.

“Some fear that snag could be a potential deal-killer,” Bickley says.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said last weekend the city has had discussions with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about moving the team.

McGinn said that a proposal is on the table for the hockey team to initially play at KeyArena and later move into investor Chris Hansen’s proposed arena in the SoDo district.

“Our message to all parties has been the same: We believe we can support an NHL team as a tenant at KeyArena, and as a potential tenant of a new arena, subject to all parties reaching agreement on terms,” McGinn said.

The Glendale City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday to formally unveil a potential agreement with RSE.

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