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Glendale official says new deal could eventually lead it out of the arena business

By Matthew Casey
Published: Friday, February 17, 2023 - 4:05am

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A rendering of Desert Diamond Arena
SIMG, Inc.
A rendering of the new sign at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale.

A top Glendale official says the city has made a deal that could eventually lead it out of the arena business. But the final choice belongs to the long-time operator of the newly rebranded venue that anchors Westgate Entertainment District.

ASM Global, which controls hundreds of venues on several continents, was Glendale’s arena manager. Now the company is the city’s tenant leasing Desert Diamond Arena for more than $33 million.

The new deal runs for 20 years and ASM Global can extend it up to 50.

"At any time, however, if they pay us the full amount of lease payments, and the $10 option to buy, they can own the arena outright,” said Kevin Phelps, Glendale city manager.

Lease payments were based on an appraisal of the arena, and the new deal with ASM Global means the city no longer has to pay for management fees or operational costs, said Phelps.

Glendale and its new tenant plan to renovate the venue from which the city recently expelled a National Hockey League franchise.

Desert Diamond Arena has already been given an initial look by an architecture firm that specializes in venue design. Next in the process is choosing which updates to do, Phelps said. 

“They are going to be focused on guest experience and revenue generating opportunities. So it won’t be going into remodeling corporate offices or things behind the house,” he said.

Glendale and ASM Global have agreed to spend up to $40 million on renovations with the city paying about two thirds and the company covering any extra costs. 

The new lease between the city and the company says work should begin by July 2024.

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