SBJ/June 23 - 29, 2003/Facilities

Coyotes’ luxury suite sales on track

Construction continues at Glendale Arena, which will open in December.

The Phoenix Coyotes have leased 43 luxury suites at the $200 million Glendale (Ariz.) Arena, set to open when the Coyotes take the ice there Dec. 27, said Brian Byrnes, the team's executive vice president of business operations.

The team experienced an 80 percent renewal rate. The Coyotes will play the first 13 games of the 2003-04 regular season at America West Arena in downtown Phoenix before moving to their new 20,000-capacity venue in the West Valley for the last 28 games.

"Of the 83 [suites] total, we have 34 remaining to sell," Byrnes said. "We thought if we could get to the Fourth of July with [about] 30 or less, that's exactly where we want to be." A few suites are set aside for sponsors, the city and game-day rentals.

"We're pleasantly surprised," Byrnes said. "The majority of contracts expired after this [past season], so there was no obligation for them to go into Glendale. We were happy to re-establish and create new relationships."

The marketing campaign's first phase ran from December to May, split into three-month increments aimed at existing suite holders and new business. The stretch run starts in mid-September, when a full event calendar will be released, "which will help us [further] identify the value of being a suite holder."

Suites comprise 12 and 18 seats with the ability to "add on inventory" with as many as six barstools, Byrnes said. Prices range from $65,000 to $150,000 a year. Suite packages include tickets to all events in the building and are staggered in four-, seven- and 11-year terms.

The average price of suites in America West was $65,000 to $75,000 a year for hockey only, Byrnes said. The Coyotes will control all the revenue streams in the new building.

Byrnes noted, "The majority of our renewals wanted to improve their locations." In some cases, Glendale Arena provides a drastic improvement, considering 11 of 80 suites at America West were unavailable for hockey due to obstructed views.

About 400 club seats will sell for $100 a game, more or less new inventory for the Coyotes because the designated club area at AWA was among the 4,000 obstructed-view seats.

Club-seat holders have access to the Ice Lounge, built at event level between the Coyotes' locker room and center ice. Byrnes said Phoenix "stole the idea" from the Minnesota Wild's "Hunting Lodge" at Xcel Energy Center. Half glass, half wall separates players from patrons along a walkway to the ice.

"We're selling this as providing you with an opportunity to see something you're not supposed to see, behind the scenes, backstage access."

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