The City Council vote in Glendale, Ariz, last night to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in this suburban venue is no tragedy for Seattle. We were being used as a pawn, with a shaky proto-proposal by a group of little-known “investors.” This was nothing like the great deal promised by Chris Hansen to return the Sonics.
The same can’t be said for Glendale, which went deeply into debt to lure the NHL team from downtown Phoenix in 2003 and has been digging the hole deeper ever since. What passes for economic development in metro Phoenix is the suburbs stealing assets from the city, spec development for back-office operations and house building, also mostly in the suburbs. Plus tourism and retirement. The result is the lowest wages and weakest performance for a metro area this size (larger than metro Seattle). There are no major headquarters. There is the whiff of extremism and bigotry from SB 1070 and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s thug tactics, guaranteeing that the region has a tough time luring young talent. Even if Glendale changes the name to the Arizona Coyotes, it’s an open question as to whether metropolitan Phoenix has the disposable income to support four big-league teams.
Seattle has no such constraints, being one of the richest major metros with plenty of well-paying jobs. Although the loss of the (first) Sonics was painful, it showed us as the first city willing to say no to the endless demands of team owners for new and better arenas. The Hansen deal showed we can do better, and one can hope under a new NBA commissioner we will reclaim our team. If the NHL never comes, we’ll do fine. Have a happy Independence Day.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
PIMCO got wasted
In the bond market shake up
The fallout was Gross