The Arizona Coyotes announced earlier this afternoon that they hired Mitchell Ziets and his company Tipping Point Sports to help them look at arena options. Ziets is a well known arena consultant who has worked in multiple professional sports leagues in North America. He was recently hired by the City of Oakland to help them try and find a way to finance new stadium for the city's NFL team, the Oakland Raiders.
Ziets is no stranger to the NHL. He's worked with both the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers, and touts his firm's ability to both secure new investments and work with public entities on behalf of sports teams. Ziets' hiring gives the Coyotes options when looking over the Valley sports landscape.
As Arizona Sports' Craig Morgan reported on Monday, the Coyotes has already begun looking at options around the Valley. Morgan stated the team has spoken already with both the city of Phoenix and Arizona State University, as well as The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Scottsdale.
If the team wants a building partner they may have multiple options as the timing of the team's possible need to relocate in the Valley may be fortuitous. As Morgan mentioned in his piece the Phoenix Suns are already looking to get a new arena built, and Arizona State University has needs related to an arena as well.
ASU's current multi-purpose facility, Wells Fargo Arena, which is not currently equipped for hockey, was built over 40 years ago and the school's athletic director Ray Anderson, has already stated something needs to be done, either a major renovation or a brand new building. This may or not involve the school's new hockey team which eventually will need a larger permanent home than its current home at Oceanside Arena.
While staying at Gila River Arena is technically still an option, it seems highly unlikely the franchise will be in Glendale after their current lease expires in 2017. The franchise has had an on again/off again relationship with the city of Glendale since the team went bankruptcy under former owner Jerry Moyes. However, the lawsuit filed by the city against the club earlier this year (which was later dropped once the team agreed to make changes to their lease) combined with city appearing to want to bring in someone else to run the arena appears to be strained the relationship to the breaking point.