The Phoenix Coyotes hockey team are staying in Glendale, AZ, after a 4-3 vote by the Glendale City Council which passed a lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment (RSE) to manage Jobing.com Arena for 15-years (includes 5-year out clause the City of Glendale can exercise).
RSE will also purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, which is still pending NHL approval.
It’s a good thing the financially struggling team is staying. It would be an economic and political disaster otherwise.
Jobing.com Arena is in the Wastgate Entertainment District, a 8-million square foot retail & food space.
Most of the foot traffic comes from people attending events at Jobing.com Arena.
Typically, it’s a ghost town when events aren’t taking place, which would occur if the Phoenix Coyotes left town.
Passing the lease agreement with RSE saved the complex. It would help the area grow with more people spending money at establishments.
New establishments wanting to do business in the area could occur as well, with the added confidence in stability in the area.
Political perception on the City of Glendale is important as well.
Anyone who watched the Glendale City Council meeting approving the RSE lease agreement saw how disorganized they are, but it won’t matter.
Conventions and other high profile events will continue to consider Glendale (including Super Bowls).
Now the team is showing signs of ownership stability, the arena has to be filled, and people watching.
Based on history, I’ll be a challenge.
Phoenix has never been a hockey-influenced city, and there’s plenty of competition.
The Phoenix Suns have been here since the 1970s.
The Arizona Cardinals moved here in the late 1980s, only to gain popularity past couple of years.
Arizona Diamondbacks are established, but don’t have the history like the Suns.
College athletics (Arizona State University) have been popular, and some drive two hours to Tucson (University of Arizona) for games as well.
What it does have going for it are the midwest and east coast transplants, but they typically stick with hometown teams they grew up with.
The Phoenix Coyotes have never had any credible ownership, and have had constant threats to leave town. That has been diminished, with the new owners, so it’s very possible some will be more supportive with stability.
RSE needs to rely more on what it has going for them, but there are three things they can do to increase interest.
- Marketing – It’s been announced they will change the name to the Arizona Coyotes, possibly as early as the 2013-2014 season. They need constant promotions out in the community; print, billboards, internet. They’ve already announced no logo or color changes will take place.
- Reaching out to the community – The players need to be out and about in the community, participating in community service, speaking at schools, kids clubs, attend other sports in town.
- Ticket deals – This could be a deal breaker. Hockey been known for expensive tickets, but they need to make several sections affordable tickets. Offering various individual ticket plans (ie: 5-game pack, 10-game pack, half-season pack). Discounts when facing some of the conference, and divisional teams (especially the struggling ones). 2-for-1 deals wouldn’t be bad either.
The base has already been established. People are aware. Now, people need to support.
It can happen.