The Arizona Coyotes expect to sell out every home game this season at Arizona State University's Mullett Arena and say their season-ticket revenue has surpassed what they were generating in their former home in Glendale.
The Coyotes will play in the new multipurpose facility on ASU's campus for at least the next three seasons while seeking to build an arena on city-owned land in Tempe. The Tempe City Council voted in favor of a bid in June to move forward on negotiations for the new arena and entertainment district. The Tempe project has been estimated at $1.7 billion and the team expects there to be a vote on the deal this fall.
"We're still very confident that we have the right deal, the right project and the right ownership group to get it done," Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez told ESPN on Wednesday. "It's the first privately financed sports and entertainment district in the history of Arizona. This is the bridge to that."
Mullett Arena, named for a family that has supported the ASU Sun Devils' Division I hockey program, will have an official capacity of 5,025 fans. The capacity for Coyotes games has yet to be determined, but it's expected to be between 4,800 and 5,000 fans.
"We know this is going to be sold out for every single game and we never had any doubt that was going to be the case," Gutierrez said. "We could have sold this out to our existing season-ticket base, but we didn't think that was the right approach. We want to make sure that fans who have never experienced a game could experience it. That's a very tricky thing when you've downsized capacity."
To compensate for the smaller capacity -- the building in Glendale, formerly Gila River Arena and now Desert Diamond Arena, held 17,125 for hockey -- the Coyotes priced every seat outside of the ASU student section as a lower bowl seat. The average ticket price at their former arena was in the $90 range. The average ticket price at Mullett Arena is $170. The NHL average is $154.
Because of that pricing, Gutierrez said the Coyotes have generated 50% more revenue from all their season-ticket plans than "we ever did in the history" of the Glendale arena.
"We're not gouging people here," he said. "You're slightly above an NHL average now while you were well below an NHL average before. And we're in a much more centrally located area."
There have also been changes in how the team sells suites. The Coyotes had around 80 suites in their former arena and sold around 60 of them. At Mullett Arena, they have 20 suites, which have all sold out. In some cases, they were sold on half-season plans so create greater inventory.
The ASU student section will be around 400 seats. There will also be a standing room section of around 300 seats from which the Coyotes may carve out additional student seating. Ticket prices for the student section will be around $25-$50 per game.
"We're on ASU's campus. This is great for the gameday experience and great for the cultivation of fans. You can't be on campus and not have that youthful infusion," Gutierrez told ESPN.
The Coyotes play their first home game on the ASU campus on Oct. 28 against the Winnipeg Jets. The game will be shown exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu.