Photo of downtown Tempe, Arizona.

Image Credit: Tyler Bolkin (CC BY 2.0)

The Arizona Coyotes are taking a page out of the Florida Panthers' book and requesting funds for a new home arena miles from downtown Phoenix. (The Florida Panthers' home arena is in suburban Sunrise, Florida). CEO Anthony Leblanc and the Arizona Coyotes front office are seeking a brand new arena in Tempe, Arizona near Arizona State University. The proposed arena is estimated to require $400 million for construction, half of which will be paid by local taxpayers, the other half by the Arizona Coyotes organization. 

The public funds needed to fund the arena would come from sales taxes generated by the arena, taxes from a hotel adjacent to the arena and mixed-use commercial establishments which would also be on site. If all of the pieces fall into the rights places, the Arizona Coyotes owners (IceArizona Holdings) are confident that the arena could be completed in time for the 2019 NHL season. Gila River Arena, the current home of the Arizona Coyotes, still has $145 million of outstanding debt and was only built in 2003. The Arizona Coyotes had no plans of leaving Glendale until the city of Glendale recently terminated the remaining 13 year lease with the Coyotes. The lease was originally set to expire in 2033.

To make matters even worse, both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns are seeking new home stadiums as well. In a perfect world, the Coyotes and Suns would share an arena in downtown Phoenix near the city's nightlife and central business district. Since arriving in Arizona, the Coyotes have struggled with attendance and often draw some of smallest attendances in the National Hockey League. They Coyotes are almost always the team rumored to be locating to cities such as Quebec, Seattle or Hamilton which desperately want a professional hockey franchise. Hey! It's hard to get excited for ice hockey when you live in the desert.

Tempe Town Lake, which spans nearly 60 acres, is the name of the proposed construction site for the new venue. The site currently serves as a golf course. Arizona State's athletic teams will also share the site which will also include the Coyote's practice facility. The arena's proposed capacity would be just over 16,000 making it one of the smallest arenas in the National Hockey League. 

Like the Florida Panthers and Atlanta Braves, the Arizona Coyotes want to put their home arena in close proximity to the majority of their fans. Data suggests that the overwhelming majority of the Coyotes' fan base lives in the East Valley area near Tempe. The NHL season also operates entirely during the collegiate school year and will be able to attract young fans from nearby Arizona State University. When the Coyotes played downtown at Talking Stick Resort Arena many years ago, their season ticket base was much larger due to it's centralized location. 

Photo of Arizona Coyotes players skating on the ice during a game.

Image Credit: 5of7/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you're a disgruntled sports fan that thinks the Arizona Coyotes should just stay where they're at, you're not alone. New stadiums and arenas are popping up all over the country with the hopes of luring additional revenue from private suites and club seating as well as new naming rights agreements with corporate sponsors. 




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