Economic impact of Arizona Coyotes leaving the state

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It’s now official: the Arizona Coyotes will no longer be in Arizona.

In a $1.2 billion purchase, the Arizona Coyotes team was bought by Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and will be relocating to Salt Lake City for the 2024-25 season. While this is a disappointment to many hockey fans in Arizona who wish to see the team stay local, many people are left wondering: Is this going to have a huge negative economic impact on Arizona?

According to Dave Wells, Research Director of the Grand Canyon Institute, not really.

“For the most part, people’s entertainment dollars are really relatively fixed. So if you spend $250 to go to a Coyotes game with a friend, you don’t have that $250 dollars to spend on something else. Now, if the Coyotes aren’t around, most people are going to spend the money locally on something else,” Wells said.

“So assume there are 1,500 super solid Coyotes fans per game. They’re not going to spend that money anywhere else in the Valley. How would that play out? And we broke them into three groups: One group, say 500, just go to the game and spend all the money on tickets and parking. And then we got about 800 who spend like $25 outside the arena, plus the game. And you’ve got maybe 200 people who actually came to the Valley just to see that game, and they spend $400 to stay two nights,” explained Wells.

“When you put all of that together, along with the fact that the visiting team isn’t here, you get about $17 million of an impact, which is about .004%,” said Wells.

Wells said even with people visiting from outside the state and country, there has never been a marked difference in attendance that boosted sales.

“I looked for three seasons, before Covid hit and they left the Glendale arena, and I didn’t find any difference in the average attendance between when those four Canadian teams from Western Canada were there or anybody else,” Wells continued.

“It’s going to be a really small impact in the grand scheme of things,” Wells explained.

Dave Wells, Research Director, Grand Canyon Institute

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