Tag Archives: Phoenix Coyotes

About That $1.3 Million Bill You Forgot…

According to multiple media reports from yesterday, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes owe $1.3 million in tax arrears. In a statement from the club, the Coyotes blame “human error” for the outstanding bill.

In my past life as finance manager, I’ve done a ton of collections. But I’ve never had a company tell me tell me they “forgot” a bill for over a million bucks. You’d think that someone, somehow would remember… The club claims that they’ll do an immediate investigation, “deeply regret the inconvenience” and will have the state and local taxes paid today.

Well, yes. That’s a given since the City of Glendale has told the team that they wouldn’t be allowed into the building if the outstanding amount isn’t paid by December 20th.

In the last few years, the troubled Coyotes have certainly been getting a lot of media attention. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been in the sports section. It’s been in the business section outlining their financial troubles.

Paying the arrears is just a band aid for the team. At the end of this season their lease of the Glendale arena is also expiring. And having this financial story at the same time as they’re working on a $1.7 BILLION arena area proposal with the City of Tempe isn’t great timing.

Of course, any financial trouble story involving the Coyotes brings up the inevitable questions of how long they’ll stay in Arizona, whether they’re for sale, or moving the team (the latest rumour is Houston). All of which are, once again, being denied by the team. I’ve been to a few Coyote home games. I love the arena and the surrounding restaurant/shopping/NFL team area. I just don’t love the drive from Phoenix or Scottsdale. With attendance averaging around 12,000 it’s easy to get a below-face value ticket. But it’s not a recipe for success or for paying a lot of million dollar bills on time…

Six Short Stories Worth Talking About

It turns out that all that economic happy-talk is mostly that – talk. The U.S. Federal Reserve just released the minutes from their last meeting, and don’t really see much light – just more tunnel. They now expect the economy to shrink by over 2% this year and don’t see much improvement in consumer spending. That’s something I said for two months. About 95% of people get a tax refund this time of the year. Of course consumer spending looks good in March and April. But that’s not a trend.

Newsweek actually ran a story a few weeks ago with the headline: Stop Saving Now! Here we go again, politicians and now the media telling us to spend money to help the economy. Sorry, you gotta look after yourself first, and spending money we don’t have is exactly why we’re here in the first place.

We talked a few weeks ago that for us, just like businesses, debt is a house of cards that won’t last forever. By now, we’ve all heard the stories of the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy. The NHL team had over $80 million in debt, and was losing $30 million a year. That’s on top of the City of Glendale, where the Coyotes play, who borrowed $180 million to help build the arena! It’s another example of a business model based on debt that doesn’t work.

If you thought you’d heard of everything in the world of internet dating, think again. There is now a website, creditscoredating.com, where you’ll find dates based on your credit rating. Yes, this site does believe that romance and a good credit score equal success. I’m not sure how or why, but NOW maybe you’ve heard it all – for a while at least. I’m single but someone’s credit rating isn’t going to attract me to someone – sorry.

In this recession, our definition of what we think of as necessities versus luxury items is rapidly changing from three years ago. A Pew Research poll from April shows that our finances definitely influence what’s a must have, instead of a want-to-have:
We think of necessities as a home computer, high speed internet and our cell phone.
But what’s now considered luxury items include microwaves, televisions, dishwashers, and air conditioning.

No More Lineups?
IBM, and the grocery chain, Giant Foods, in the Mid Atlantic area, have rolled out a new way to get in and out of the grocery store in one-third of their stores.
What do we do now? We load items into a basket. Line up at the cash register and unload everything so it can be scanned. Then everything gets re-loaded into bags.
Well, a few years from now that will be about as antiquated as a typewriter. Instead, you’ll get a small portable scanner as you enter the store. Just pick what you’re buying off the shelf and scan it. The scanner will show the price of the item and keep a running total of what you’re purchasing. Put everything you’re buying into a bag, and walk out of the store. That’s it! The total will be debited right out of your bank account, or off your credit card – whatever you have already set up with the store.

Just imagine – no more lineups, no more cashiers, no more unloading and re-packing everything. It’s literally as simple as pulling your purchases off the shelf, scanning them and getting out of there.

Producer Michael Moore, who has done documentaries on President Bush, the U.S. healthcare system and GM, is now making one about Wall Street and the meltdown. It is still unnamed, but scheduled for release in October, and you have to know it’ll be controversial.