A consortium headed by a former official of the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes is pursuing land in Mesa law amendments to bring more soccer. One of their goals is to see whether the Phoenix region can host a professional stadium, and thus a club. If the measure were to succeed, it would bypass the city of Phoenix in its financing of a mixed-use complex.

Beginning in March 2022 and ending in December 2023, Nick Sakiewicz oversaw the Arizona Coyotes’ business operations. Last month, he spoke in favor of a strike-everything amendment before the Senate Government Committee in Arizona.

He spoke on the proposed law that would alter the state’s approval process for amusement parks and sports entertainment complexes by making it simpler to establish theme park districts. Joe Hoffman, a state senator, proposed the measure.

What is a strike-everything amendment?

To get around a deadline for introducing new legislation, a strike-everything amendment simply substitutes new language—possibly on an entirely unrelated subject—for the whole text of an existing bill. Theme park districts are a particular kind of taxing district that, if passed into law, would alter the procedures for creating such districts.

Such districts may impose a sales tax of up to nine percent on goods and services sold inside its borders. The developer may pay off debt incurred throughout the development process using such funds.

With a majority vote, the committee would send the measure to the full Senate for consideration. It would have allowed counties to create such districts even without the consent of the local governments.

Additional theme park districts inside a county would also be possible under this proposal. However, there is no indication that the Senate will consider this measure anytime soon, says the Sports Business Journal. It would need a House vote and approval from Governor Katie Hobbs for the measure to become law when it passes the Senate.

Sakiewicz is part of a group looking at undeveloped property in Mesa as a potential location for professional soccer clubs. Johnson-Stewart Materials now owns the gravel pit that SBJ claims might be used as the site.

Change in Arizona law could bring professional soccer to area

According to what he told SBJ, the organization is looking into possibilities. Nonetheless, they aren’t limiting themselves to professional soccer as a possible growth option. He also added that The Pinebrook Group will contact MLS and the NWSL to discuss hosting expansion clubs.

“It’s perfect timing for one of those or both of those leagues to land here,” he said. In addition to hosting international matches, Sakiewicz said that the arena may potentially house the USL Championship club Phoenix Rising. They currently play in a temporary facility, as a tenant or partner.

However, their president Bobby Dulle was quick to dispel such rumors.

“Phoenix Rising FC has not had any conversations with Sakiewicz. The city of Phoenix has been a great partner to us.

“One year ago, we opened our doors in Phoenix for the first time and drew a franchise record, 10,437 fans. This central location and our proximity to the Valley Metro light rail gives Rising the best chance to continue to grow its fan base at this time.”