SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Facilities

Coyotes bring in lacrosse team

Glendale (Ariz.) Arena will tentatively open Dec. 26 with indoor lacrosse after signing a three-year operations contract with the National Lacrosse League's Columbus Landsharks, building GM Ron Woodbridge said.

Arena Management Group, the facility division of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes, secured the deal with Landsharks owner JA Columbus Sports Ventures. The agreement is a co-promotion. Both parties share in revenue and expenses, Woodbridge said.

The schedule had not been released, but the renamed team will play eight home games, including day-night doubleheaders with the Coyotes. Seating capacity is the same for both sports, 17,500.

"Lacrosse is trying to team up more with the NHL because of the synergies involved, ticket sales and advertising. There's a lot of cross-marketing we can do," Woodbridge said. Regional rivalries with Denver, Anaheim and San Jose should keep travel expenses down, he said.

The Coyotes also renewed their sponsorship with America West Airlines, signing a three-year deal at the new venue. The financial value was not disclosed. America West receives in-arena signs, media promotions, suite use and season tickets.

AWA's "Skyler" blimp, formerly floating at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, is also part of the deal and will move to Glendale Arena. The Coyotes will travel exclusively with the airline. "They've been with us since day one," said Dave Groff, senior vice president of corporate sales and broadcasting.

America West's run as the official airline of the Phoenix Suns ended in June when the Suns signed a deal with Southwest Airlines. America West's name remains on the arena where the Suns play.

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