The Phoenix Coyotes are likely going to have a new name in the near future, whether they move out of Glendale or stay.
That's because in the lease that the Glendale City Council just approved in order for the team to be (potentially) sold to Greg Jamison, it carries a clause that stipulates as much.
Before you start getting all
terrified excited about the team becoming the Cactus or something else equally atrocious, it's not going to be that big of a change. Here's what the lease says, as it was dug up by Sports Documents.
The Team Owner shall use commercially reasonable efforts to have the name of the Team changed to the "Arizona Coyotes" as soon as is commercially feasible.
While not everything in the lease can be described as such, this actually seems pretty reasonable. The City of Glendale built the arena and is going to pay a lot of money every year to keep the team in its city, after all. It makes sense they wouldn't be too appreciative of the franchise continuing to bear the name of another city when Glendale is taking such a big risk and paying so much out of its stretched budget to keep the team.
This is hardly anything new in sports. In fact, we just saw it in baseball within the past couple of years. After Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria swindled the city of Miami into financing a new stadium for his baseball team, the city had one request: the team would be called the Miami Marlins. It sounded a touch unnatural at first but it works, even if the team didn't.
One thing that would be different for the Coyotes compared to the Marlins is that they wouldn't have to go through a total rebranding like the Marlins did. Because the Marlins used the letter F prominently in their logo, it didn't hold up. But instead of changing the F to an M, they went for a total redesign that was rather hideous. The Coyotes don't have much that identifies them as being from Phoenix either on their sweaters or on their logos.
Perhaps fans who are so used to calling them the Phoenix Coyotes will not like the adjustment to Arizona Coyotes, but really it's a small price to pay to keep the team in the desert.