NHL’s Coyotes extend Gila River Arena lease

NHL ice hockey franchise the Arizona Coyotes will continue playing at Gila River Arena in the 2019-20 season, securing the team’s immediate future in Glendale.

The Coyotes have played at the venue since 2016 and sign a year-to-year lease with AEG Facilities, which operates the arena.

Last August, AEG Facilities reached an agreement to continue the management of the 18,000-seat Gila River Arena. AEG Facilities’ new five-year deal with the City of Glendale will run until June 30, 2026.

The Coyotes’ long-term future at Gila River Arena remains uncertain despite the new one-season deal. The AZCentral website notes that the team has been linked with a move to Houston, Texas, if it does not get sufficient investment from the city.

Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps said: “Our goal will be to find a compelling reason for the Coyotes to stay in Glendale.”

Phelps added that the arena would benefit from renovation to help the Coyotes generate more revenue. He also said Glendale may be willing to provide a financial commitment to the team if it ties itself to the city long term.

AEG Facilities provides services such as event programming and content development, purchasing, vendor venue services, advertising, marketing and event-day operations for Gila River Arena.

The Coyotes last year teamed up with the city of Glendale and AEG to carry out a major upgrade of digital displays at Gila River Arena. A centre-hung display system courtesy of Daktronics was installed above the ice at the venue in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.

Image: Jeff Shewan