Following the overwhelming rejection of a public referendum by Tempe voters for their proposed entertainment district, the Arizona Coyotes are exploring the possibility of relocating to Mesa, according to sources within the City of Mesa. Similar to the failed Tempe proposal, any potential arena plan in Mesa would likely be subjected to the same processes, including a public vote.
The vacant Fiesta Mall, once a bustling shopping center, has emerged as a potential location for an arena in Mesa. The current owners of the land have already initiated the process of demolishing the mall, indicating their willingness to move forward with new development.
The Coyotes had recently announced that they would continue to play at ASU’s Mullett Arena in Tempe for the upcoming season, following the disappointment of losing the referendum. They have a contract to play there until the 2024-2025 season.
Social media users in Southeast Mesa, however, have begun to suggest that the Coyotes should also consider the former Bell Bank Park, now called Legacy Sports Complex, who last month announced that they were filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection, owing nearly $377 to over 200 creditors. Only sixteen months since the park opened, the owners have contracted with investment banker Miller Buckfire & Co to facilitate the sale of the 320 acre indoor-outdoor facility. While entering Chapter 11, the park will continue to be open and operate in the normal course of business, with hundreds of events contractually scheduled to take place through 2030, but Legacy Sports said in a press release that they hope to complete the sale of the property in August, though they did not identify a potential buyer.
“The Coyotes have not reached out to me about coming to (Southeast) Mesa,” said Councilmember Scott Somers. “I assume if that is their plan, I will hear from their agents very soon. I am open to having discussions, but placing financial obligations on taxpayers or use of General Fund revenues for this purpose is a non-starter.”
While the team’s 2023-24 season is secure, with Mullett Arena serving as their temporary home, relocation remains a looming option if an approved proposal does not materialize soon.
The potential move to Mesa presents an opportunity for the Arizona Coyotes to establish a new home and revitalize their organization. However, the process is in its early stages, and further updates are expected as discussions progress and the team continues to explore their options for the future.