The Arizona Coyotes‘ temporary move to Arizona State University is officially complete, PHNX Sports reported on Thursday. This comes after the Arizona Board of Regents approved the relocation plan in February.
Under the deal, the Coyotes will play the next three NHL seasons in ASU’s new multi-purpose arena and have an option for the 2025-26 campaign if their long-term venue isn’t ready by then. The 5,000-seat arena is now home to four teams, as the Sun Devils‘ men’s hockey, wrestling and gymnastics squads will also compete there.
NCAA compliance rules made the deal a costly one for Arizona. Because they bar the Coyotes from using ASU’s team space, the NHL franchise had to build its own. Arizona reportedly agreed to pay $19.7 million up front for an annex at the facility and other interior improvements.
The annex isn’t slated to finish construction until December, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Arizona will open the 2022-23 season with an extended road trip. Coyotes president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez told PHNX Sports an alternative site at the facility could allow the team to play home games as soon as the 2022-23 campaign begins, a possibility NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and ASU CFO Morgan Olsen both confirmed in the report.
As for the financials, the Coyotes will keep their gate receipts and merchandise sales while ASU will collect the arena’s parking revenue, naming rights and sponsorship revenue. The parties will share concession revenue and game-day sponsorships.
ASU’s new arena will allow only 4,700 fans for NHL games. That less than a third of Gila River Arena’s seating capacity of 17,125 for hockey, which is where the Coyotes used to call home. The Coyotes will reportedly offer discounted tickets to students, and that isn’t their only plan to appeal to ASU. Olsen told PHNX Sports “both teams’ identities will be reflected” in the design at center ice.
The Coyotes have submitted a proposal for a permanent arena and entertainment district to the Tempe City Council, but it has yet to come to a vote. Arizona will surely hope the vote goes its way, as the ASU deal reportedly does not have an opt-out clause.