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Should Coyotes Fans be Worried about Owner’s $1 Billion Project in Reno?

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Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo plans on building another entertainment district, but this one will not be located in Arizona.

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It was announced yesterday that Meruelo will spend an estimated $1 billion on a complex in Reno, Nevada, including a 10,000 arena.

As reported months ago, a proposed $2.1 billion arena project was rejected by Tempe voters and the Coyotes are yet to find a permanent home.

Ever since the proposed land in Mesa that Meruelo submitted a Letter of Intent to buy, there hasn’t been much information regarding a plan going forward since.

With the 2023-24 NHL season being the last guaranteed campaign at Mullett Arena, the uncertainty around the desert hockey club staying in Arizona is still a huge question mark.

But, with this new development around the Coyotes owner announcing a new entertainment district in Nevada, should Arizona fans be worried about the possibility of relocating to Reno?

Arena Details

A new hotel, golf entertainment area, affordable housing units, and a few other amenities are part of the pledged deal.

But when looking at the project and all that it entails, two things that stick out: an arena and an separate ice rink.

The arena plan that Meruelo proposed would have be an estimated $400 million, 10,000 seat capacity, 300,000-square-foot facility that will be the home of University of Nevada-Reno basketball.

It will also host professional fights, concerts, performances, and other events.

As for a separate ice rink, the idea is to spark an opportunity for Reno to have a minor league hockey team in the future.

Like the failed Tempe plan, the whole project is going to be privately funded.

Coyotes to Reno?

Besides Mullett Arena, the second smallest arena in the NHL is 15,321 seated-Canadian Life Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, home of the Jets.

Even though there are more seats in this proposed venue than where they are in Tempe, it still can’t seat league average attendances.

Plus, the difference in size of markets between Las Vegas and its surrounding cities compared to Reno is massive, which will impact revenue.

While Reno has a population of over 500,000 people, Vegas has close to 3 million people when adding up surrounding cities like Henderson, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, etc.

Also, the Coyotes would have to compete with the Las Vegas Golden Knights and after winning the Stanley Cup last year, Vegas aren’t going anywhere.

There is a slightly better chance that the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL minor league affiliate of the Coyotes, could move to Reno, however.

But, if the Coyotes end up finding a location still in Arizona, having the Roadrunners in the same state as them would be the most convenient.

Time will tell with what happens with the ‘Yotes and their arena situation, but Meruelo’s project in Reno shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his new X account @CipolliniBCS

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