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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Want to Attend Utah NHL Games? Local Residents Will Have an Edge

  • The newly relocated NHL franchise has much more demand for tickets than capacity at the Delta Center.
  • Progress is being made on selecting both a temporary and permanent team name.
Gabriel Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports

Fan demand for the newly relocated Utah NHL franchise is so intense that the team now has something of a math problem on its hands. 

As tickets for the team officially go on sale Friday, Utah NHL officials said they have received more than 34,000 deposits for season tickets in the six-plus weeks since the move of the former Arizona Coyotes was announced. That figure is up by 70% from the 20,000 deposits made in the frenetic first 24 hours after the news hit of the relocation. 

The Math ‘Doesn’t Work’

But regardless of the final number, that demand is much higher than the roughly 10,000 seats at the Delta Center that will initially offer unobstructed views for hockey—a figure set to rise to 17,000 in the coming years. Team executives are now finalizing a plan in which season tickets will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis depending on when the initial deposit was made, but also with an eye toward pushing partial-season ticket plans to allow a greater number of fans to have access to the debut season in Salt Lake City. 

Pricing will start at $44 per seat, per game. Additionally, priority will be given to purchasers with a Utah ZIP code. 

“The math just doesn’t work for everyone to get a seat,” said Chris Barney, Utah NHL chief commercial officer, in response to a Front Office Sports question. “It’s one of the reasons we’ll have a robust mini-plan offering and [why] we’re giving people on the deposit list priority to buy single-game tickets.”

Overall, the first season of the Utah NHL franchise will have a capacity of about 16,000 at the Delta Center, counting both unobstructed and obstructed seats. 

The situation somewhat mirrors the intense demand that also greeted the NHL’s arrival to Las Vegas, in which the Golden Knights capped their season-ticket sales a full year before starting play. As the Utah franchise looks to the Golden Knights and other high-demand teams as business influences, the arrival of the NHL to the Beehive State also marks a significant milestone in the ongoing growth of pro sports there.

“We’re in a position to watch what other teams have done [in this situation] and take the best of what they’ve done and apply it here to make sure people feel like we’re engaging them,” Barney said. 

What’s in a Name?

The franchise, meanwhile, is reportedly advancing plans to finalize a temporary moniker as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has received multiple applications for Utah Hockey Club and various logos relating to that. That branding will act as essentially a placeholder for the first season while a broader fan-focused effort continues to select the permanent name.

That initiative, beginning last month with 20 name candidates, is now winnowing down to a final four, according to team owner Ryan Smith. Appearing recently on The Pat McAfee Show, Smith said Yeti and Mammoth will be among the remaining candidates.

“We’ve got our four. I think Mammoth’s up there. I think Yeti’s up there. I think a couple other ones are up there. I think it should be good,” Smith said on the show.

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