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Coyotes shelve plans to upgrade WiFi at Gila River Arena

GLENDALE, Ariz. — If you’re trying to open this story on your mobile device inside Gila River Arena, you may be experiencing difficulties. Judging by the dozens of tweets and direct messages we’ve received, you’re not alone.

That WiFi upgrade the Arizona Coyotes had planned for this season has been shelved. Here’s why.

“We spent a fair amount of time doing an RFP (request for proposal) and interviewing a number of tech companies on a multi-million dollar enhancement with WiFi,” Coyotes co-owner, president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said. “We were actually in the final stages of making a decision the week that Glendale cancelled our (arena management) agreement in June.

“Obviously, we had to shelve those plans and we realized there was no way we were going to get it done during season. Now, with the city’s intention of taking over the management of the building, that’s something they will have to explore. As of June, we will just be a tenant in the building.”

The Coyotes put about $3 million worth of upgrades into the arena in their first year that included upgrading the team spaces and enhancing their food and beverage options. This year, they have continued to add to food and beverage options in conjunction with partner Levy Restaurants, by adding a third Tim Hortons location and other offerings like Smoke’s Poutinerie.

“We put substantial resources into a building that wasn’t ours because we wanted to give customers the best possible experience at a time when we expected to be there 15 years,” LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said upgrading the WiFi at Gila River Arena was a complex and multi-million dollar process that would have required three to four months to complete.

With the Coyotes now focused on finding a new home in the Valley and no longer charged with managing Gila River Arena, further upgrades will be minimal.

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