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The Arizona Senate president says a bill to provide $225 million in public funding for a new Arizona Coyotes arena is likely dead. The team says it can’t survive playing in Glendale.

Legislation that would give the Arizona Coyotes $225 million in public funding for a new arena is nearly dead, Senate President Steve Yarbrough told The Arizona Republic Thursday.

“At this point, I have no expectation that that bill is going to move,” Yarbrough said.

The Chandler Republican said Sen. Bob Worsley, the bill’s sponsor, could not muster the necessary 16 votes for passage in the Senate. He also had difficulty getting help from his Republican colleagues, who control the chamber. House Republicans also have expressed opposition to the bill.

Coyotes in Glendale

Worsley, who pushed the bill through a committee he chairs in February, said it “may be the case” the legislation is in trouble. Yet he noted that no bills truly are dead until the Legislature adjourns.

Yarbrough said one of the few ways the bill still might pass is if it were included in the state budget. But he called that extremely unlikely.

Some lawmakers may be convinced to support the legislation if the Coyotes would put more money into the project and seek less public financing, he said.

“If you are getting no traction the way the bill is designed, you could see if the hockey team paid a greater portion,” Yarbrough said. “I have been around this business long enough to know that if it’s not working in this format, you change the format to make it more attractive.”

In the current plan, the team has pledged to pay $170 million toward what is envisioned as a $395 million arena that would be located in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley. The team also would control the retail development and hotel within an “engagement district” that would generate new sales taxes to also pay $170 million toward the arena. The remaining $55 million would come from the host city.

Sen. John Kavanagh, another influential lawmaker, said the bill will not pass in its current form.

“As far as I know, it’s finished,” said Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who opposed the measure.

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The Coyotes did not immediately answer The Republic‘s questions about the legislation. The team has repeatedly said it is not financially viable to keep playing in Glendale’s Gila River Arena.

The team and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman earlier this month threatened to move the franchise out of Arizona if the Legislature did not approve the funding bill for a new arena.

Check back for updates on this story.

Reach the reporter at [email protected]zonarepublic.com or 602-444-8478.

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