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Arizona Coyotes In Penalty Box Over Unpaid Tax Bills, Arena Charges


In the latest headwinds for the National Hockey League team, the Arizona Coyotes could be locked out of their arena later this month as a result of unpaid tax bills and arena charges. 

The city of Glendale, Arizona, has threatened to lock the NHL team out of Gila River Arena after it failed to pay north of $1.3M in state and city taxes, according to a tax lien notice filed last week by the Arizona Department of Revenue, as first reported by The Athletic.

In a statement provided to The Athletic, the Coyotes said the delinquent payments are a result of “an unfortunate human error.”

“We will make sure that by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again,” the team said. 

The tax lien notice filed Dec. 3 by the Arizona Department of Revenue claims the Coyotes owe taxes dating back to June 2020, including $250K in unpaid city taxes and the rest owed to the state. The team will have until Dec. 20 to pay the outstanding bills; if they fail to do so, all employees will be denied access to the arena.

The Coyotes have played at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, just northwest of Phoenix, since 2003, according to CNN, and have been leasing the arena on an annual basis since 2016, when the city voted against a long-term leasing deal. Glendale has since announced it won't renew its agreement with the franchise next year, prompting the team to look at other arena options.

This includes a proposed $1.7B development in Tempe, which would include a new hockey arena plus retail and residential components on a 46-acre parcel, according to Sportsnet. Most of the funds would come from private investors, the Coyotes said, but city sales tax revenues would be used for a $200M portion of the project.  

It is unclear whether the Arizona arena troubles will impact the Tempe deal for the team, which has traded hands twice over the past decade. 

Forbes estimated the value of the Coyotes at $400M in a report released this week, making it the least valuable franchise among the NHL's 32 teams.