News that the Arizona Coyotes have a new majority owner has raised questions once again regarding the stadium that the hockey team will ultimately call home.
For months, speculation has been rampant that the Coyotes, who currently play in Glendale’s Gila River Arena, may want to build a new stadium elsewhere.
The team has often expressed dissatisfaction with the stadium, which is located at 9400 W. Maryland Avenue, noting that fans have never been enthusiastic about driving to a facility that is roughly 14 miles away from downtown Phoenix.
Now, Alex Meruelo, the Coyotes’ new owner, has said that while he is committed to keeping the team in Arizona, he is not as enthusiastic about staying in the Gila River Arena.
If the Glendale arena isn’t in the team’s best interest, “then the logical option for the Coyotes would be to pursue a new arena in Phoenix or East Valley,” notes the publication Arena Digest.
For now, Glendale officials have vowed to do all they can to forestall that move, with the goal of trying to work with Muruelo to keep the Coyotes in the Gila River Arena.
Built in 2003 at a cost of $220 million, the Gila River Arena has a seating capacity of just over 17,000, although the average attendance for Coyotes games has been less than 14,000.
Meruelo, the billionaire founder of the construction and development firm, the Meruelo Group, recently characterized the Coyotes’ continued playing at the Glendale arena as a “difficult situation.”
Where Meruelo might want to see a new stadium built has not been revealed, nor has the funding for such a project been disclosed.
According to the website Statista, recent hockey stadiums in the U.S. have cost anywhere from $348 million, for the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, to more than $1 billion for the Barclays Center in New York.
By Garry Boulard
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