Tuesday October 3, 2023

Coyotes to Remain in Tempe Next Season After Election Setback

  • Coyotes will return for a second season at ASU's Mullett Arena as future remains in flux.
  • Tempe voters rejected ballot measures for a $2.1B arena project.
The Arizona Coyotes will play at least one more season in Tempe after voters rejected referendum on new arena and entertainment project.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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The Salt Lake City Coyotes — or the Houston or Quebec version — will have to wait. 

A day after Tempe voters rejected a proposal for a privately financed $2.1 billion arena project, a source told Front Office Sports that the Arizona Coyotes will remain in town next season. 

The Coyotes — who are in the midst of a three-year agreement to play at Arizona State’s 5,000-seat Mullett Arena — were stunned by the negative results of Tuesday’s vote on three ballot initiatives. None garnered more than 44% support, and those within the team were optimistic before the still-unofficial election results were posted. 

ASU and the Coyotes agreed to a three-year lease before the start of the 2022-23 season, and the team spent millions on upgrades to its temporary home in Tempe. While relocation likely remains an option down the line, breaking the lease and finding a new home before next season starts in October would have been a major lift.

Industry sources interviewed by FOS said it’s likely that the Coyotes and NHL would seek a long-term home versus another temporary one in a different market. 

Alex Meruelo, who purchased the Coyotes for around $300 million in 2019, has made it clear that he will make every effort to keep the team in the Phoenix area. The Coyotes have played in three different venues — including arenas in Phoenix and Glendale — since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg in 1996. 

Now, with the bad election results, there’s also been chatter about Meruelo potentially selling the team — but one source said any such talk is “all speculation at this point.” 

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