It had been announced by The Athletic’s Craig Morgan On June 10, 2019 that billionaire Alex Meruelo is in the final stages of purchasing majority ownership of the Arizona Coyotes.
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) June 10, 2019
Today, it was announced by Elliotte Friedman that the sale has been approved and will be finalized in July.
Bettman after Board of Governors: ARIZ sale approved, with closing in July.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 19, 2019
The New Owner Alex Meruelo’s Bio
Meruelo, who is 55-years-old, has various business holdings throughout the Southwest in the United States. He’s been in real estate, construction and recently bought the SLS Las Vegas (formerly the Sahara Hotel and Casino). He also owns the Grand Sierra in Reno, Nevada. The Meruelo Group owns an Orange County, Calif. bank, and TV stations KHWY-TV, KBEH-TV. Plus, radio stations Power 106 (KPWR), KDAY and KDEY-FM.
He is the son of Cuban immigrants and started out running his father’s tuxedo rental shop in downtown Los Angeles, California. Meruelo became a millionaire in his 20’s and at the age of 23 he sold a plot of land he had purchased to Walmart in Riverside, California. He then took over a pizza chain which was failing and renamed it La Pizza Loca. The chain caters to Latinos and offers ethic-specific toppings. He had revenue of $10 million.
The NHL Board of Governors approval of the sale means he has become the only majority Latino owner in the league. The league may like that since Meruelo could open new opportunities to the Latino market yet to be capitalized upon in the NHL. The Hispanic population in Arizona exceeds 50%.
According to celebritynetworth.com Meruelo is worth $2 billion.
Andrew Barroway’s Ownership Role
Andrew Barroway was one of the original owners in a group called IceArizona which bought the team in 2013. He became a majority owner in 2015 and then bought out his IceArizona partners in 2017. He purchased the team for $305 million. Barroway has expressed interest in finding new investors as he intends to reduce his role and become a minority owner.
What Coyotes New Ownership Means Going Forward
It remains unclear if Meruelo intends to work on constructing a new east valley arena to augment the fanbase. Since Meruelo has been approved as the new majority owner by the NHL Board of Governors today on June 19th, his main focus will be making the Coyotes successful in Arizona. That certainly can give fans of the team some confidence that the new ownership won’t include re-locating the team.
Another factor could be if Meruelo’s purchase will give the team some influx of cash. That could be instrumental in going out and signing players to improve their success. And perhaps make the playoffs as soon as next season.
The financial instability of the team has made it literally debilitating to add free agents with a low budget. They’ve been at the salary cap basement for many years. The team recently was rumoured to be interested in signing top free agent Matt Duchene when free agency begins on July 1. With new ownership allowing stability and financial security convincing a free agent to sign and play in Arizona should be more of a plausible occurrence.
Will this mean the rumours of the team moving to a new city cease? As always, the drama never seems to cease.
Alex Meurelo will be Coyotes new owner. NHL typically prevents new owners from applying for relocation for 7 yrs. Asked if it applies to Meurelo, Bettman said “Yes for a period of time. But we also understand the importance of a new arena. Because Glendale is not viable longterm”
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) June 19, 2019