Gila River Arena
|Former names||Glendale Arena (2003–06)
Jobing.com Arena (2006–14)
|Location||9400 W Maryland Ave
Glendale, AZ 85305
|Owner||City of Glendale|
|Operator||Global Spectrum and IceArizona, LLC|
|Broke ground||April 3, 2002|
|Opened||December 26, 2003|
|Construction cost||$220 million
($282 million in 2014 dollars)
|Project manager||ICON Venue Group|
|Structural engineer||John A. Martin & Associates, Inc.|
|Services engineer||Syska Hennessy Group, Inc.|
|General contractor||Perini Building Company|
|Arizona Coyotes (NHL) (2003–Present)
Arizona Sting (NLL) (2003–07)
The Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League (NHL) has been the primary tenant since the building opened on December 26, 2003. It sits on the north side of West Maryland Avenue across from University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the National Football League's (NFL) Arizona Cardinals. The venue anchors the City of Glendale's Westgate Entertainment District just east of Arizona Loop 101.
The now-defunct Arizona Sting also played three National Lacrosse League (NLL) seasons at the arena until their 13-11 loss to the Rochester Knighthawks in the 2007 Champion's Cup game. Negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement originally delayed the start of 2008 NLL season, but the Sting did not participate. They eventually ceased operations in 2009.
Completed at a construction cost of $220 million, it seats 17,125 for hockey and lacrosse, 18,300 for basketball and about 19,000 for concert events. The arena has 3,075 club seats and 87 luxury suites (including two Luxury Tower Suites). It also features a completely integrated video, scoring and advertising system from Daktronics.
The arena's construction broke ground on April 3, 2002 and the Coyotes moved into the arena in late 2003. After relocating from Winnipeg on July 1, 1996, the team had spent its first 7½ seasons at America West Arena (now the US Airways Center) in downtown Phoenix. The AWA was not an old arena (it had made its debut as the new home of the NBA's Phoenix Suns only four years earlier in 1992) but it was primarily designed for NBA basketball. It was quickly retrofitted for hockey. However, the arena floor was just barely large enough to fit a regulation hockey rink, and several seats had badly obstructed views. As a result, before the team's second season in Phoenix, its hockey capacity had to be cut down from over 18,000 seats to just over 16,000—the second-smallest capacity in the NHL at the time. After the Colorado Avalanche moved from McNichols Sports Arena into Pepsi Center in 1999, and the Toronto Maple Leafs moved from the Maple Leaf Gardens to Air Canada Centre later in the same season, America West Arena was the smallest NHL venue. A small section of seats on the lower level actually hung over the boards, obstructing the views for up to 3,000 spectators.
When the Coyotes were sold to a partnership led by Steve Ellman, that group committed to building a new arena in suburban Glendale. With agreements signed with the city of Glendale in 2001, the venue opened midway through the 2003–04 NHL season as the Glendale Arena on December 26, 2003, with the Arizona Sting of the National Lacrosse League defeating the Vancouver Ravens, 16–12, the 2004 NLL season opener. The first NHL game was held the next evening, as the Coyotes dropped a 3–1 decision to the Nashville Predators on December 27, 2003. The first goal ever in the arena was scored by Nashville forward Scott Walker.
The arena was expected to gain the 2009 NHL All-Star Game after losing the 2006 All-Star Game because of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement ratification in the National Hockey League; however, the Montreal Canadiens and their arena, Bell Centre, were awarded the 2009 All-Star Game. Under the terms of the new agreement, the All-Star Game would not be held during the year of the Winter Olympics in order for players to participate in the Games. Philips Arena in Atlanta, which lost the All-Star Game in 2005 because of the lockout, was awarded the 2008 All-Star Game. No announcement has been made by the National Hockey League on when the Arizona Coyotes would host an All-Star Game.
Beginning in 2005, the venue has been host to the Arizona state high school basketball, volleyball, wrestling and cheerleading tournaments in a mega-event called "February Frenzy", as the result of a formal agreement between the city of Glendale and the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA).
The Arizona Sting did not play after the 2007 season and fully ceased operations in 2009.
Prior to the 2009-2010 season, this was the only current NHL arena to have never hosted a playoff game, as the Coyotes' last playoff appearance was in 2002 when they still played home games in downtown Phoenix. However, the team qualified for the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, ending that drought. They played the Red Wings and lost the series 4-3. The 2010-2011 Coyotes season ended at Jobing.com Arena with a 4-game sweep of the Coyotes by the Detroit Red Wings.
The arena saw extra action during the 2011-12 NHL season as the Coyotes not only qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive season, but advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in five games. Every home playoff game as in years past featured a "White Out", continuing the tradition of years past in both Phoenix and Winnipeg playoff series of giving fans white T-shirts to wear for the games.
- October 25, 2006:
Phoenix-based employment website company Jobing.com signed a 10-year, $30 million naming rights deal; effective January 1, 2007.
- August 13, 2014:
The Arizona Coyotes announced they entered into a 9-year partnership agreement with Gila River Casinos. It includes the arena naming rights and associated premier signage.
In a separate transaction, they will enhance their sponsorship relationship with a variety of additional advertising, marketing and merchandising opportunities at the arena.
Team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc stated that he anticipated no opposition to the deal; Viejas Arena, the first NCAA sports venue named after an Indian casino, did draw criticism before its naming rights were approved.
- September 9, 2014:
The Glendale City Council officially approved the agreement at their meeting. A press conference is scheduled for September 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM Mountain Time, to officially announce the name change. The Gila River Indian Community will become the first federally recognized Native American tribe to hold a naming rights deal with a venue for one of the big four major North American professional sports leagues.
- "Coyotes Purchased by IceArizona, Will Change Name to Arizona Coyotes After Next Season". New England Sports Network. Fenway Sports Group/Delaware North. August 5, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Flannery, Pat (December 27, 2003). "Today's the Day. This Is Just the Beginning: A Milestone in West Side's Rise". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix). Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- Jobing.com Arena architect: Populous
- "Jobing.com Arena". ICON Venue Group. December 26, 2003. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "JAMA / Sports & Recreation". John A. Martin & Associates Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "Creating Exceptional Environments". Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "Jobing.com Arena". Ballparks.com. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "Daktronics Photo Gallery: Jobing.com Arena".
- TSN: NHL - Canada's Sports Leader
- "Jobing.com, Glendale Arena deal confirmed". Phoenix Business Journal. American City Business Journals. October 25, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- "Coyotes and Gila River Casinos Announce Arena Naming Rights Partnership". NHL.com. August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
- "With New Naming Rights to Their Arena, Arizona Coyotes Make Economic Statement". Bleacher Report. August 13, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "SDSU's Cox Arena to be called 'Viejas'". U-T San Diego. March 8, 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Glendale City Council Meeting 2014-09-09. Event occurs at 29:00.
- "An Arizona tribe is going to be the first to have naming rights to a professional sports arena". Washington Post. August 14, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
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