Official Arizona Visitors Inquiry Thread (links on start page)
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03-21-2013, 08:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Mesa, Arizona
Originally Posted by
Leafs fan here, I was wondering and probably will get best from y'all, but do people like hockey in Phoenix? How many people go the games, any sellouts? I've been to Williams and Kingman AZ and from talking to people and visiting stores didn't see much interest in Coyotes and Coyotes merchandise but more Arizona Cardinals. Is hockey big in Phoenix how does it compare to Cardinals, Suns, Diamondbacks?
Hockey in Phoenix has historically had a strong following in Arizona, despite the Coyotes low attendance in the last 3 or so years. The various incarnations of the Phoenix Roadrunners were very popular in the local area. In fact, Wayne Gretzky and several other Kings players played a preseason game for the Roadrunners in the early 90's (it was the only minor league game he ever played) at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Colliseum in downtown Phoenix. After playing a game in Phoenix, Gretzky and then Kings owner Bruce McNall believe it or not suggested Phoenix as a potential expansion/relocation destination, because of the Roadrunners strong following.
When the Coyotes first arrived in Arizona, they iced some very competitive teams and were actually the most popular team in Phoenix in the late 90's. A crappy lease agreement with the Suns, and the fact that the Suns arena was unsuitable for hockey caused them to move to Glendale. Glendale is insanely far away from a large portion of the fanbase on the east side. For references sake it takes me 105 minutes to reach Jobing.com arena from my house in Gilbert, since I along with many other fans have to deal with rush hour traffic in the largest metropolitan area in North America by land area (not population)
Glendales far away location has hurt the coyotes following in addition to the ownership fiasco, because there is nobody to market the team on television and radio. Additionally many fans don't want to spend money and drive 90+ minutes to see a team that might not exist next year. The good news though, is that the Coyotes had decent attendance numbers in Glendale when they had ownership stability, despite the fact that they were perennial bottom feeders at the time. So in conclusion if the Coyotes had solid ownership, they could probably make it work in Glendale since they were the most popular team in Arizona at one point.
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