Playing Soft Ball

On December 15, the Arizona Republic published a story by reporters Eric Miller and Bill Muller headlined "Arena Profit Proves Elusive for Phoenix." The thesis: The City of Phoenix likely will receive only a small percentage of the $128 million in shared profits promised by the Phoenix Suns, because profit-sharing increases gradually over the next 30 years, with 81 percent of the money to be paid in the final 10 years of the Suns' 40-year contract. There is no guarantee that the Suns will still be in the facility at that point. Messrs. Miller and Muller observed that few arenas last 30 years.

To date, the city has received $200,000 in profit-sharing. (The next payment isn't expected until this summer, after the end of the fiscal year, city officials tell New Times.)

In addition, the Republic dutifully reported that in addition to profit-sharing, the Suns pay the city $500,000 in rent each year, with an annual 3 percent increase. And that under a 1988 profit-sharing agreement--renegotiated to the current status in 1994--the city would not have received any profit-sharing revenue by now.

By most accounts, the article was fairly positive--or at least, positively fair--with regard to the Suns and Jerry Colangelo. But not the glowing treatment Colangelo has come to expect.