Coyotes owner still plans to bid on land in Phoenix earmarked for NHL arena

Apr 13, 2024, 8:59 AM | Updated: Apr 15, 2024, 10:20 am

Rendering of the Arizona Coyotes' Phoenix arena plan...

Rendering of the Arizona Coyotes' Phoenix arena plan. (Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

(Courtesy Arizona Coyotes)

Despite the imminent sale and relocation of his team to Salt Lake City, Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo still plans to bid on and win the auction on June 27 for land in northeast Phoenix, on which he hopes to build a hockey arena suitable to host an NHL team.

In the agreement of the sale of the team, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has agreed to give the Coyotes five years to secure land and an arena, Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reports.

If that happens, the Coyotes would then be able to start the process of bringing an NHL team back to Arizona.

The sale of the Coyotes to Ryan Smith, a deal that is not finalized but will get done, will be for $1.2 billion, of which Meruelo will get $1 billion.

The other $200 million will go to the NHL and will be distributed, as a relocation fee, to the other NHL owners.

Meruelo agreed to sell the team after he secured a contractual right to reactivate the franchise within five years of the date of the agreement and trigger an expansion draft if an arena is built. This would require him to pay back the $1 billion that he is getting from the sale to Smith.

Meruelo plans to retain ownership of the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ affiliate in the American Hockey League, and will negotiate to be an affiliate of the new team in Salt Lake City. He will explore moving the team from Tucson to the Valley so it can play its home games at Mullett Arena in Tempe.

The tract of land in northeast Phoenix is located on the northwest corner of the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road near Desert Ridge Marketplace.

The Coyotes said that the development would include a 17,000-seat arena and 150,000-square-foot practice facility.

It would also feature a concert venue for a live music theater for 3,000 attendees, 400,000 square feet of retail and a multi-purpose watch party plaza equipped with a supersized screen for viewing events. The district would be covered by a 170,000-square-foot canopy spanning the arena to the theater.

Meruelo released a statement on Saturday.


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