As every sports fan in the Valley knows, it’s been a difficult and contentious road for the Arizona Coyotes. After Tempe voters voted down the plan to bring a new arena and entertainment district to the city, one which would have served as an incredible economic stimulus to the surrounding area, the team has been trying to figure out its next steps (get up to date here).
The team currently plays in Mullet Arena on Arizona State’s campus, and its capacity is simply far too small for it to be a long-term solution. But a recent development shows that they may have a solution in place, and one that could serve as quite a benefit to hockey fans in North Scottsdale.
Recent reports state that the team is looking to buy state trust land north of the 101 and west of Scottsdale Road. It would technically be in the city of Phoenix, and nothing is set in stone at this point other than the fact that the city would be unlikely to offer any incentives to bring the team there. Also, the land will need to go up for auction from the state first, so the entire plan is still in its incubation phase, and if the team decides that the plan won’t pencil out financially, it could still be nixed of course..
While technically in the city of Phoenix, it could provide a significant halo effect for the entire area. Not only will it be a center of entertainment and spending (regardless of whether or not a larger entertainment complex is planned, such as it was in Tempe), but is almost certain to bring considerable tax revenue to Phoenix. Moreover, that placement (off of the 101) would likely mean that traffic will not be a major issue, even if light rail would not be a viable option.
Perhaps the biggest winner would be hockey fans up north, including North Scottsdale Coyotes fans. Instead of having to take the 101 all the way around the loop, they would then be a short drive or Uber ride away. And the deeper pockets of Scottsdalians would be very likely to be a boon to the team and the area, more so than that in the West Valley. It could certainly have a demand pull for fandom as well, as more casual fans could be incentivized to become more active fans as attending games would no longer be an ordeal.
As the cliche goes, the devil is in the details, and there are clearly many details to be worked out. But on its face, this seems like a plan that could be extremely beneficial for all parties involved, and may serve to expand a fanbase that badly needs expansion. While Tempe would have been a great solution, this might end up being an excellent consolation prize.