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ASU AD Ray Anderson calls proposed arena deal ‘phenomenal’ opportunity

(AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Ray Anderson, ASU Vice President for University Athletics and Athletic Director

TEMPE, Ariz. — When the Coyotes called a press conference on Monday afternoon at Gila River Area to announce the proposed construction of a new arena on Arizona State University land, ASU officials were noticeably absent.

As it turns out, there was no great conspiracy behind that absence. Sun Devils Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson is the go-to person for information on that deal, and he spoke about it on Tuesday.

“You must understand that we don’t do anything here without a lot of thought,” Anderson said. “We simply got to the point where it was very appropriate for the Coyotes to say ‘we’ve got an agreement with Arizona State and that they are going to give us a period of time to prove we can put together the financing and the development plan to essentially build the facility on that piece of Arizona State property and be able to put it all together and then come back and deliver.'”

“We’re very deliberate here so the fact that the Coyotes have been able to announce that they have this opportunity shows that we have pretty good confidence that they can put it together.”

At Monday’s press conference, Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc estimated the cost of the 16,000-plus-seat arena and adjacent 4,000-seat arena at $400 million. The rest, he said, would come through a public-private partnership in which ASU would pay a share.

The undetermined public portion would come from a share of sales taxes generated by the arena, a mixed-use commercial development at the site and a proposed hotel.

Anderson did not say what the university’s share would be, but he reiterated that such a venture has the full support of the university.

“With the NHL and the Coyotes ownership’s ability to marshal additional investors, they will need to get it done, but we’ll certainly provide whatever help and encouragement we can because we wouldn’t be in this position if we didn’t want it to happen and think it could be a wonderful possibility,” he said.

“It’s very clear we need and are looking for the right venue to house our varsity hockey team, but the thing we’re motivated by is the economic impact for this entire community if this project is able to come to fruition. Everything we’re doing at Arizona State with regard to our facilities, including this reinvention of [Sun Devil] Stadium, is asking: what are the community benefits that you end up getting out of it?

“If the Coyotes are able to be successful in bringing in their arena and a smaller arena for us, not only do you serve Sun Devil athletics needs, think about the community impact you’re having in terms of jobs, other events, student education programs, making this a destination, youth sports, clinics. It would be phenomenal.

“That’s why I’m excited and I’m confident and I’m going to do everything I can personally to encourage and support the Coyotes being successful in putting the financing package together to make this happen.”

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