June 15, 2024

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Voters reject plan for new Coyotes arena in Tempe: Where does franchise go from here?

Voters in Tempe, Arizona, rejected a recreational neighborhood proposal on Tuesday that included plans to build a new home arena for the Arizona Coyotes, indicates early returns. Here’s what you need to know:

  • “We are very disappointed that the voters of Tempe did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303,” Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez He said Tuesday. “What’s next for the franchise will be assessed by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks.”
  • NHL Commissioner Gary Pittman said the league was “deeply disappointed” in a statement of his ownand will “review with the Coyotes what options might be moving forward.”
  • The proposed $2.1 billion privately funded project included a 16,000-seat arena, two hotels, retail, restaurants, and up to 1,990 condominiums.
  • The Coyotes played the 2022-23 season at 5,000-seat Mullett Stadium, home of the ASU Sun Devils, after being evicted from their longtime arena in Glendale, Arizona.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

Where do coyotes go from here?

The most important piece of data from Tuesday’s poll, from both the team and the NHL, is what isn’t said. There have been a lot of pivots for the Coyotes over the past two decades, and a lot of official releases from key stakeholders.

They always contained some variation of the phrase, “Our focus remains on securing the future of the franchise in Arizona.” This time, her absence is conspicuous. – gentle

Evaluate transportation options

Word of resettlement had already been spreading, and now it’s likely to start picking up speed. Without a doubt, Houston and Atlanta top the list.

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Both are giant US media markets. The former has a hockey arena ready at the Toyota Center, and in Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta, a potential buyer. Atlanta has a yard deal in action in suburban Alpharetta, led by a group that wants to give the region a third chance in the NHL.

Quebec City will appear, too, as has the Vegas and Seattle expansion, but the feeling is that the city’s time has passed. There is an arena, sure, but no corporate base to speak of and a metropolitan area of ​​about 800,000 people. – gentle

Why this is not surprising

The result here, for hockey fans in the Valley, is heartbreaking — but it shouldn’t be surprising. So far, the Coyotes’ long-term success has been capped by a combination of arena drama, bad ownership, and mediocre (or worse) on-ice product.

Is there a lot to like about the concept of the NHL in Arizona? certainly. The area has produced Auston Matthews, among other NHL players. Phoenix is ​​a huge television market. The fans out there care, they care.

In a league hungry for variety, the Coyotes are led by Latinos (owner Alex Meruelo and Gutierrez). A great deal of capital, effort and time has been invested in making the whole deal work. But sometimes, the pit is just too deep, and the audience speaks for itself. – gentle

background story

Tuesday’s vote comes nearly six months after the Tempe City Council voted unanimously (7-0) in favor of approving the proposal in November.

according to Proposal or offerThe team would have used private funds for the arena project, which “would not require a provincial or Tempe-specific tax.” The 46-acre parcel of land that is currently the city’s landfill was the proposed site for the new development, which would have an estimated economic impact of $13.6 billion over 30 years, according to the proposal.

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opponents of the deal said It could have awarded Meruelo over $500 million in tax credits and called the team up for unpaid bills while they played Glendale.

Pittman publicly endorsed the proposal in November, calling it “a win for the community.” He added at the time that the league was committed to holding a future draft or All-Star Game in Tempe, and that the Coyotes would be in play for 30 years, without transfers.

In August 2021, the city of Glendale notified the Coyotes that it would cancel the joint lease agreement for the Gila River Arena, essentially forcing the team out of the building after the 2021-2022 season. The Coyotes played their final game at the Gila River Arena on April 29, 2022.

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(Photo: David Kerouac/USA Today)