MONTREAL — Arizona Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez said the team could generate more revenue at its temporary Arizona State University arena than it did playing in Glendale.
“From a revenue perspective, it’s going to be at the same if not better than where we were before,” he said before the NHL draft Thursday.
The Coyotes will play in a new multipurpose facility on ASU’s campus for at least the next three seasons while seeking to build an arena on city-owned land in Tempe. The Tempe City Council voted in favor of a bid last month to move forward on negotiations for the new arena and entertainment district. The Tempe project has been estimated at $1.7 billion.
“It’s a temporary solution. We made that clear,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve wanted to be transparent since day one. This isn’t something where we tried to hide the ball.”
Gutierrez said the Coyotes are “two-thirds” sold at ASU before going to the public with full- and half-season ticket plans. He said the student section that the team intends to have at home games, which was projected to be 600 seats, will actually come in around 350-400.
“The NHL is trying to figure out where the best locations are for all their cameras, all their lighting. It’s still going to be around 4,700-4,800 [fans],” he said.
Gutierrez reiterated that the Coyotes want to keep the tickets affordable even with the limited capacity.
“We never wanted to get to a situation where we’re gouging people. We wanted to get to the NHL average for the lower bowl, which is about $157 average ticket price. Right now we’re about $170.”
The Coyotes have told the City of Tempe that they need a decision before the end of the year. Tempe has told the Coyotes it wants to decide in the fall, with a vote potentially by Labor Day. Gutierrez said the team also has alternate plans around the Tempe site for “Plan B and Plan C,” but that it is confident the current project is the right one.
As for the 2022-23 season, Arizona will play four straight games at ASU after opening the season with six road games. After that homestand, the Coyotes are on the road for a 14-game trip that will take them from the East Coast to Las Vegas to the mid-Atlantic back to the West Coast and then finish with a Western Canadian swing.
The Coyotes told ESPN that the road trip is by design. The new annex building with the NHL-qualify dressing rooms won’t be ready until December.
“Part of it had to do with the construction timeline and our desire to play games even if our annex wasn’t fully prepared. We’re making arrangements with ASU to have temporary facilities to allow us to play games in October,” Gutierrez said .