Arizona Coyotes Relocation More Likely After Ballot Initative Fails

Arizona Coyotes Relocation More Likely After Ballot Initative Fails

The Arizona Coyotes have been in arena limbo since the end of the 2022 season. After 19 years at the Gila River Arena, the Coyotes needed to find a new home. Plans to build a new stadium in Tempe had hit multiple roadblocks over the years. As a result, the Coyotes found themselves playing at Mullett Arena, the home of Arizona State. However, the capacity for NHL games has been capped at 4600.

A new plan for an arena in Tempe was formed, but it would require public funding. That meant that the Coyotes would need local voters to approve a ballot measure. If successful, this would divert tax dollars to the project. The Coyotes needed majorities on three ballot proposals to get the green light on the new arena. The estimated cost for the full project is believed to be $2.1 billion.

Voters Reject New Stadium

TEMPE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 28: General view outside of Mullett Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 28, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona. The Coyotes will use Arizona State University's Mullett Arena for the next three seasons while a permanent arena deal is finalized. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

However, it wasn't to be. According to electoral sources, around 56% of voters chose to reject the three ballot proposals relating to the new arena. "We are very disappointed Tempe voters did not approve Propositions 301, 302, and 303," CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement. "While we wanted a different outcome, we remain grateful to all those who volunteered their time and talent. What is next for the franchise will be evaluated by our owners and the National Hockey League over the coming weeks."

The immediate future appears to be another season at Mullett Arena. "I don't envision a scenario in which the Coyotes are not playing in Mullett Arena next season," Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN in an email. However, beyond that, the future is uncertain. Relocation will become a much more likely scenario. If they were to move out of Arizona, it would be the NHL's first relocation since the Atlanta Thrashers in 2011. There are several strong contenders for potential relocation, such as Houston, and Milwaukee. However, that is purely speculation and the immediate plan appears to be to try and make things work in Arizona. Despite this goal, the rejection of the ballot proposals is a major blow to an ailing franchise.



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