SBD/September 5, 2013/Franchises

New Coyotes Ownership Immersing Itself In Plan To Make Franchise Profitable

The job ahead for Coyotes co-Owner & Exec Chair George Gosbee and his staff "isn't an easy one, but they see opportunities to create real revenue in the desert," according to Craig Custance of ESPN.com. While the NHL owned the Coyotes, there "wasn't a lot of motivation for businesses to invest in a relationship with a local hockey team that might be on its way out of town." However, co-Owner Anthony LeBlanc is "a natural salesman and is already coaching up his team to ramp up sales of advertising in the building, advertising on television and the selling of suites." There are 89 suites at Jobing.com Arena, and "only a quarter of them have been sold the past couple of years." In the "first three weeks under new ownership, 10 more were sold." Going through bankruptcy "wiped out" all of the Coyotes' existing contracts, giving the new owners a "clean slate." A food and beverage deal "is typically a revenue-sharing model with a large company like Aramark." It is "fair to say that the new deal will be more favorable for Coyotes ownership than the last one." Bankruptcy also gives the Coyotes "an opportunity to reopen the discussion on naming rights, although that's currently not a priority with other deals in need of a conclusion with the season looming." Meanwhile, LeBlanc said that he expects a 10% "growth rate in season-ticket sales in the first season under new ownership, and he called walk-up sales massively important to the Coyotes." Custance noted while the location of the arena "doesn't make walk-up sales easy," there is "momentum in the market with new ownership, and the group is counting on the Coyotes returning to their playoff level after a down year last season to drive ticket sales" (ESPN.com, 9/4).
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