When do the endless Arizona Coyotes relocation rumours end? This isn’t the first time this has happened, as most Coyotes’ fans know.
Forbes Leaks Arizona Coyotes Relocation Rumours Again
My Forbes article on the possible relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to Houston. https://t.co/ySlOScePGG
— Eric Macramalla (@EricMacramalla) December 2, 2021
Well, the Coyotes flat out deny that the team is being sold and possibly moved to Houston. Coyotes insider Craig Morgan who has covered the team for years has heard that there’s no truth to the rumours swirling once again. Let’s take a look at why this won’t happen and compare the two cities.
I have already heard from a pair of well-placed sources telling me that there is no truth to the Forbes report about the Coyotes being for sale with the intention of relocating them to Houston.
I’m still hoping for a statement or comment from the team.
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) December 2, 2021
Houston vs Phoenix Comparisons
In Eric Macramalla‘s article, he listed five qualities that may make an NHL city attractive.
- GDP ranking
- Corporate support
Where Each City Stands When Compared
Comparing Houston with Phoenix in these areas, Macramalla was attempting to state how attractive it would be for the Coyotes to relocate to Houston.
For population, Houston ranks fourth (4.9 million residents) compared to Phoenix who ranks fifth with 3.6 million residents. What Macramalla failed to state is that Phoenix has 500 square miles geographically which even exceeds that of the Los Angeles area. For GDP, Houston is ranked seventh in the U.S., while Phoenix comes in at 16th.
It is true that the Houston area sports an NHL-ready arena where the Houston Rockets call home. It can hold 17,800 fans. We all know that the Arizona Coyotes will soon be homeless with no place yet determined to put on NHL games. While they do have plans in place to build an arena in the Tempe area, it has not yet been approved by the Tempe city government and will take at least two-three years to build, if approved. So, in the meantime, the team has not announced where they will play next season. That needs to happen fairly soon. If, as they insist, they are remaining in the area, then please tell everyone where that might be.
Ownership is not really an issue here as Coyotes’ owner Alex Meruelo and his staff have stated they are here to stay. Meruelo also has quite a bit of motivation to stay since he will be rewarded extensively from newly approved sports betting. He has acquired a sports betting license and to think he will just throw away the millions he could gather from that is downright crazy. While Tilman Fertitta could be an NHL-ready owner, Arizona already has that. Fertitta is worth $2.7 billion, while Meruelo comes in at $14.5 billion and may contribute up to $2 billion to the proposed Tempe arena project, which will be privately funded.
Corporate support seems pretty equal. The Phoenix area has Avnet, Freeport McMoran, Republic Services, Insight, and Magellan Health. Both cities can expect good corporate support to attract (or keep) an NHL team.
Houston as an NHL City
While Macramalla states that hockey is not new to the Houston area, he failed to state that the hockey being played there was minor league level. That ended in 2013. They had the AHL Iowa Wild there until they moved to Des Moines when they couldn’t reach an agreement to stay in Houston’s Toyota Center arena. Sound familiar? Certainly, there is a history of hockey in Houston, but not NHL hockey. Whether the area will support an NHL team is yet to be determined. Many may argue that the Coyotes haven’t been supported very well either. They have been ranked no higher than 28th in NHL attendance over the last five full seasons.
It’s the Fans Who Suffer From Endless Arizona Coyotes Relocation Rumours
he also said 8 years ago that the coyotes were moving to Seattle..https://t.co/KJSPTqzf8S
— Kyle (@marblekyle) December 2, 2021
Arizona Coyotes fans have gotten immune to all the relocation rumours over the years. While they have experienced stability issues mostly with ownership, it was thought that that was over when Meruelo bought the team. It is unclear why the team gets hit with so many rumours. Some of it is brought on by their own poor behaviour as exemplified by former general manager John Chayka’s shenanigans. Whether other media sources care to admit it or not, the Coyotes have a very loyal fanbase and have been in Arizona for 25 years now.
Houston, not so much.