NHL Utah seeks to meet demand for debut season

Featured image credit: Delta Center

NHL Utah has outlined how it plans a flexible approach to staging its maiden season at Delta Center, revealing that it has already received more than 34,000 requests for season tickets.

In April, the NHL’s Board of Governors approved a reported $1.2bn (£939.7m/€1.1bn) deal that saw the sale of the Arizona Coyotes to Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), which owns the NBA’s Utah Jazz. The NHL approved the establishment of a franchise beginning with the 2024-25 season in Salt Lake City, that will be owned and controlled by SEG, which is led by Ryan and Ashley Smith.

Utah’s NHL team will begin play at Delta Center, which is also home to the Jazz, with its new stewards having started a process following April’s announcement calling for fans to place $100 per seat deposits for season tickets. More than 34,000 fans of the yet to be officially named team have already responded, it was announced yesterday (Tuesday), with the sales process set to commence on Friday.

“The overwhelming support we received from fans who secured season ticket deposits highlights how passionate Utahns are for hockey and how excited they are for the NHL experience,” NHL Utah chief commercial officer, Chris Barney, said in a statement.

“We look forward to filling Delta Center and creating an electrifying atmosphere for our fans and players alike when the puck hits the ice this fall. Together, we will build a strong legacy for our NHL franchise that lasts for generations to come.”

Of the 34,000 deposits received, 92% have come from non-Jazz season ticket holders, while the team has revealed that over 60% are from people who said they didn’t attend a single event at Delta Center last season.

Delta Center is set to undergo renovation work as it prepares to welcome NHL ice hockey, amid long-term efforts to develop a dedicated arena for the team. Delta Center has a capacity of 18,306 for Jazz games.

NHL Utah is adopting a tailored approach to staging games during the 2024-25 season. With Delta Center having been designed for NBA basketball, some 10,000 seats will have a clear and unobstructed view of the ice surface, with up to a further 6,000 seats with a “partial ice view” being released for games, depending on demand.

Barney told The Athletic there are a “bunch of levers we will pull” to determine how to cap the season ticket number, allowing fans to purchase tickets in smaller quantities, such as half-season packages, mini packs or single games. “The stated goal is to give as many people to have an opportunity to be in the building as possible,” he added.

“There is some configuration stuff that we’re still working on. And in the spirit of trying to get as many people into the building as humanly possible, we’re actually trying to add more seats in every nook and cranny we can.”

NHL Utah will discount the partial-ice-view seats, pricing them starting as low as $19, while unobstructed views are expected to begin at $44 per game. The team said it has also consulted with fellow NHL franchise the New York Islanders on their experience at Barclays Center before the November 2021 move into UBS Arena.

Barney said: “We’re trying to be very smart with partial-ice-view seats. We’re trying to provide the best experience for fans. The goal is to ensure the best possible experience while maintaining some fan-friendly pricing and accessibility options.”

Barney stated that once Delta Center’s renovations are completed, the hockey team hopes to have a seating capacity that includes 17,000 seats with a clear, unobstructed view of the ice surface. “We anticipate more unobstructed seats opening over the next several years as changes are made to the arena,” he added.