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Coyotes have ‘been pretty vocal’ about Arizona outdoor game, says chairman

Jan 28, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

George Gosbee, Gary Bettman, Anthony LeBlanc

We’ve mentioned it before, but here’s confirmation of Phoenix’s interest in hosting an outdoor game — from the Arizona Republic’s interview with chairman and governor George Gosbee:

Republic: Over the weekend, you were at Dodger Stadium to take in the outdoor game between the Kings and Ducks. What did you make of it?

Gosbee: After seeing it there, I’m even more convinced that we could do it in Arizona. Obviously, we’ve been pretty vocal about wanting to do it and hopefully we’ve presented a good case. We know there’s lots of other teams that want it. It’s such a unique event. We’re going to keep trying to get it in Arizona, and after seeing it in LA, I’m sure it could work in Phoenix.

According to a December report from the Canadian Press, the Coyotes floated the idea to hold a game around the time of the Super Bowl, set for next February at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. It’s believed that Chase Field — home of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks — would be the most logical location, given it has a retractable roof.

As you can imagine, the ‘Yotes are keen on getting an outdoor event.

“It wouldn’t be the impact of the revenue from that particular game, it would be the impact that that game would have on us in selling tickets throughout the year,” Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said, back in December. “Our view is that would certainly help us in driving more season tickets, it would help us in driving (partial season-ticket plans).

“It’s just bringing more attention to the sport.”

  1. thailer35 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Honestly, this would be an incredibly smart move to get the city excited about hockey and the Coyotes.

    • echech88 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      It would definitely help…but what if it didn’t sell out? These events are priced aggressively with the assumption there is more demand than supply. Other teams who are still waiting for one would likely point to Coyotes attendance and the fact the Diamondbacks have kind of famously failed to sell out playoff games before.

      Also I don’t think it hurt that Dodger stadium was drawing on two fan bases that are only separated by about 30 miles or so. PHX would have to be a more significant trip for a visiting fan base.

      • thailer35 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Not necessarily true. There are a huge number of transplants here, so teams like Detroit, Chicago and Vancouver would do pretty well selling tickets here, as they already bring hordes of transplant fans to regular season games.

  2. nightfireop - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    from my experience at the dodgers stadium on saturday, the ice was suprisingly pretty good. when the zamboni first smoothed the ice i was concerned because of how watery it looked, but then it freezed up and it was pretty consistent.
    in phoenix, as long as the overall weather can remain less than 80 degrees it is possible, now an outdoor game in phoenix can be a good thing as it would show the growth of hockey throughout north america. but at the same time, an outdoor hockey is not the first thing that comes into mind when i think of a desert.
    either way, we’ll see how the nhl marketing committee figures this out, it “can” be a good idea.

    • rosselliott - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Phoenix is generally a few degrees cooler than LA in the “winter” months, and significantly less humid. With the covered stadium in Chase Field, they could better adjust for any warm days as well as the sun.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        “With the covered stadium in Chase Field, …”

        Wouldn’t that then make this an indoor game?

      • thailer35 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        It could be covered, but like rosselliot mentioned, it can be cooler here in Phoenix than LA in the winter, as it was Saturday, so they could also open up the roof.

  3. blomfeld - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Sure … and why not have a game on the moon too !

    • thailer35 - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I see you have switched stances on me and the Coyotes again, eh blomfeld?

      • blomfeld - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        just teasing you guys :)

  4. kwall55 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Arizona hosting the Sharks? I could see it.

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:17 PM

      Other way round

  5. devilzzz2014 - Jan 28, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    From a tv ratings point of view I see this as nothing I’d want to see. From the Coyotes point of you I understand why they want it as maybe they can promote their brand better and get more fans. Still I think there are teams more deserving that would generate more money from an event like this and so Phoenix won’t get a game.

  6. purpleguy - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Maybe they should try filling their own arena first.

  7. jb8588 - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    As much as I have defended the Coyotes from the stereotypical Northern hockey fans who demand they move every year, I can’t on this. My position is this…if you want an outdoor game, then at least be able to fill up your own building on a somewhat regular basis before you start wanting an outdoor game. The Coyotes are still having a good year, and yet despite all of the media coverage this past offseason about their potential for relocation, the fans have still neglected this team. The fan base down there don’t deserve an outdoor game…period.

    • patthehockeyfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I understand your sentiments, jb.

      Attendance at LA Kings’ games sucked for a lot of years. In fact, when Jack Kent Cooke was awarded the Kings back in 1966, he was told that there were 300,000 former Canadians living within a couple of hours’ drive of Los Angeles. When attendance suffered in the initial years, he remarked: “Now I know why they left Canada: They hate hockey!”

      You have logically put the horse before the cart (“fill up your own building on a somewhat regular basis”). The league, in this case, seems to be putting the cart first: “If we play it, they will come.”

      The experiment in the desert may yet work out.

  8. alicesrightfootesq - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    I think they need to have more success on the ice and in the stands before they get one. You have to imagine Colorado, Minnesota, and St. Louis are all in line ahead of the Coyotes.

  9. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    If you can’t fill your arena, how are you going to fill a stadium ?!?!?
    Cue the “sterotypical Southern fan” who will tell us how much the game has grown in Phoenix despite the fact that their attendance says otherwise.

    *** this team has lost money EVERY year that they have been in Phoenix ***

    • stevebass2 - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      The attendance says that it has been improving every year since the bankruptcy and wasn’t too bad prior to that. It’s not a traditional market and there are other factors like arena location which makes things difficult, but these things take time and require a greater understanding of the conditions of the organizations in question. Only 14 NHL teams were profitable last year, which has been more or less the same since 2000, so the whole “losing money” thing isn’t really a complete argument.

      • pavelfitzgerald - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        “The whole “losing money” thing isn’t really a complete arguement?”

        Yes it is – they have lost money EVERY YEAR they have been in Phoenix, FACT! No other non-major market would be allowed to do that.

        I’m honestly sick of the excuses, the arena in Phoenix was not “suited” for hockey so they moved out to Glendale. Now Glendale is not ideal because it’s outside of Phoenix. So what is it going to be? They want an arena right by the retirement community where all the Canadians live eh?

        Hey I would love to be a rock star & hang with porn stars all day but you can’t always get what you want. How many more chances does Phoenix get? I understand growing the game in Los Angelos where it is one of the biggest sports markets in North America & the attraction of a large TV deal but what does Phoenix have? Neither of those things. Move the team already!! Quebec will be through expansion since the NHL knows they can get the bigger fee, so move them to Seattle or Portland. The only thing that could be worse then the NHL in Phoenix is if they moved them to Las Vegas

  10. stevebass2 - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I don’t think this is sort of event you have to “earn,” this should be the sort of event that should be given to the organizations that can make it work the most. In this case, Phoenix has a unique opportunity to make it work. Put it on Super Bowl weekend, when there are an even more insane amount of tourists in Phoenix than usual, and have the Coyotes play against a large fan-base, semi-rival team like Detroit or Chicago. Big money people will come out for the spectacle, and given the size of Chase Field I imagine it will fill up.

  11. canuckinamerica - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    And Gosbee figures the event could attract upwards of 12,000 people. Or about 8,000 more than the average Coyote’s game.

    • lateralous - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Haven’t heard that one before

  12. lateralous - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    I would love to see them do it in Sun Devil Stadium. It’s an older facility but the aerial shots would be great.

    Instead of leaving the grass exposed like they did around the rink at Dodger Stadium, they should cover the rest of the field in sand and give it a painted desert look.

  13. muckleflugga - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    perhaps nhl and phoenix nabobs should have considered the extent to which hockey needed attention before bringing in the jets …?

    why bother

    it’s all about one group of millionaires or billionaires robbing another group similarly endowed … who cares about product …

    all is not lost for the pillaged … it all rolls down hill

    buy the crap team … blackmail the host city into a new arena … increase team value and personal worth by two to three hundred million with a few signatures

    laugh all the way to the bank with taxpayers money

    the lemieux katz formula … coming to a desert kingdom near you

  14. greatmiamisportsmind - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    What’s next? Lightning at Panthers at Sun Life Stadium?

  15. pfhockey - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Conditions shouldn’t be a concern obviously, anyone with common knowledge knows that. Question is, how much will attend?

    • patthehockeyfan - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      One thing I can guarantee: the NHL will say it’s a sell-out (facts be damned).

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