SBD/August 14, 2014/Facilities

Coyotes' Naming-Rights Deal With Gila River Casinos Could Be Worth Up To $3.35M Annually

The Coyotes yesterday signed a nine-year naming-rights deal with Arizona-based Gila River Casinos in a deal that "could be worth" between $3.0-3.35M per year, according to Mike Sunnucks of the PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. Coyotes President & CEO Anthony LeBlanc said that the city of Glendale "will receive approximately $600,000 annually from the new accord." Under a lease and revenue deal signed with the Coyotes last year, Glendale receives 20% of the naming-rights revenue "for the arena." The $600,000 is "close to what was estimated last year." LeBlanc said that Gila River "is already a major team sponsor and business partner, and the arena naming rights deal is an expansion on that existing relationship." Previous Coyotes owners "inked a 10-year naming rights deal" with in '07, which "was previously estimated" to be worth $3M per year. But a Coyotes official yesterday said that the deal "was worth" $1M annually. LeBlanc said that since the Coyotes went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the team "was able to terminate some existing contracts early -- including the naming rights deal with" (, 8/13). FOX SPORTS ARIZONA's Craig Morgan noted the Gila River naming-rights deal "must still be approved by the Glendale City Council through a vote on Sept. 9, but that approval is expected." This "will be the first naming rights deal for Gila River Casinos and the first federally recognized tribal naming rights deal with a sports venue that houses one of four major professional sports leagues in the country" (, 8/13). In Phoenix, Ryan Van Velzer reports the deal "includes associated premiere signage on the facility in addition to naming rights, and, in a 'separate transaction' additional advertising, marketing and merchandising for Gila River Casinos" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/14).

RATTLING THE CAGE: AFL Rattlers CEO & Majority Owner Ron Shurts said that no agreement "has been made" for the team to play at Gila River Arena next season. Fox Sports Arizona reported yesterday that the Rattlers would leave Phoenix for Glendale, but Shurts "refuted that report." In Phoenix, Richard Obert notes the Rattlers "are not contractually obligated to stay at US Airways Center for next season" (ARIZONA REPBLIC, 8/14). FOX SPORTS ARIZONA's Morgan in the original report cited sources as saying that the Rattlers "are poised to move to the newly minted Gila River Arena in Glendale next season." The move "is expected to be announced after the Rattlers compete in their fourth straight ArenaBowl on Aug. 23." The Rattlers, who "have played at downtown Phoenix's US Airways Center since 1992, are believed to have averaged about 9,700 fans per regular-season game this season." The city of Glendale and arena manager Global Spectrum "have been seeking other ways to fill open dates at the arena and increase revenue, aside from the Coyotes and the handful of concerts the arena hosted last season" (, 8/13).
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