Today is the day. On this day one year ago, IceArizona took over as owners of the Arizona Coyotes.
Yesterday, I took a look at their impact on attendance and the fan experience. Today it’s time to look ahead as well- but more than that, touch on one of the biggest cogs in the lease agreement if it is to succeed.
One of the parts of the agreement made by the city of Glendale with IceArizona was the hope that implementing a pay parking system at Westgate City Center for games would generate enough revenue to make up for the amount of money Glendale gave the new Coyotes ownership group. In an article from the Arizona Republic back in May the expected revenue from the new parking policy came in at 4.4 million dollars.
That came in about 2.4 million dollars less than Glendale expected. The problem here is the fact that fans often skip paying the ten dollars for parking in favor of the free parking available at other portions of the Westgate complex.
The shortfall isn’t directly a fault of ICE Arizona themselves, but the free lots are something that should have been taken into account; this has created a rift with some of Glendale’s governing members, who are looking at their pocketbook rather than on ice success like many fans do . It’s a delicate dance that IceArizona has to perform, and from the fans perspective it seems to be a success. Time is running out in a way,though; the out clause is only four years away.It’ll be interesting to continue to follow the dilemma and see what the future holds for Mr. Gosbee, Mr. Leblanc and the rest of IceArizona.
With the departures of Mike Ribiero, Derek Morris, and Paul Bissonette, its clear that the Coyotes are moving in a different direction on the ice- but as we head into year two of IceArizona, there are some things in works.
First things first is the name change. There are also plans to expand the teams merchandise offerings at Jobing.com Arena. And while Anthony Leblanc had to crush the dreams of some Coyotes fans back in a town hall meeting in June, the Coyotes could see an NHL All-Star game in their future, and it seems likely that Ice Arizona is willing to play a big part in making sure Arizona puts on a great show for the hockey world. Fans hoping for an outdoor game in 2015 will be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be disappointed forever.
” I’m going to be working with our marketing department and our sales department and just the community at large to have more people come out to see this product, because I think it’s a really exciting team. It’s a great building to watch a game. We’ve just got to get more people in seats. It’s as simple as that.” – Anthony Leblanc to the Arizona Republic
Another addition made by the ownership group was made off ice with the announcement that long time Coyotes radio play by play voice Bob Heethuis would be getting some company in the radio booth. Nick Boynton will make his broadcasting debut as the full time color commentator.
Ultimately, Arizona Coyotes fans will judge the success of the ownership by the teams success level on the ice and the amount of wins the team winds up with. Unfortunately, this past season the Coyotess’ on ice performance was sub-par. That may be how we ultimately look at the first season.
At the end of the day, though, sellouts are great, and appearances by Mike Eruzione and the miracle on ice team are cool. If you don’t win people will not show up, but there are some bright spots on the horizon for the Coyotes including Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson. One has to wonder if it won’t take a superstar player to be the one thing that completely changes the fortune of this franchise- but these wondering fans no longer have to wonder about whether the team is in good hands.