Nothing says closed for business better than a mayor of city with a population of less than a quarter of a million people who happens to have criticized the costs of the Super Bowl and breaks a lease with the city’s National Hockey League team. But the mayor and the city council have done just that and while the complaining about the high cost of big time sports is justified, there is also a message that has been sent out to corporate America. Glendale doesn’t want your business.
Here is the problem. Glendale, Arizona should not be in the big time sports business. Local politicians should never have offered to build a second arena in the Phoenix area and there probably should not be a football stadium there or a multimillion dollar baseball spring training facility. What Mayor Jerry Weiers and the city council did was try and cut their millions of dollars of annual subsidies to the NHL team that was and is required stemming from a contract signed two years ago with a new owner. But what Glendale elected officials seemingly forgot is that sports owners in the United States are captains of industry and they talk to each other. Carping about the Super Bowl and pulling the lease from the hockey team also sends a message to smaller business, we will terminate your deals if we don’t like it.
Arizona politicians have been stupid when it comes to sports. The spending on sports facilities is probably with debt service over a billion dollars. As the Arizona population grew, politicians decided an NBA team wasn’t enough and went after an NFL team, an NHL team along with a Major League Baseball team. And it was not just one team in Phoenix but new baseball spring training camps in and around Phoenix. The state cannot afford the spring training facilities either. Arizona wanted to be big league and they got their wish without thinking of how to pay the bills.