On Monday, Arizona State University hosted a tour of its soon-to-open multi-purpose arena for local media. In attendance were ASU Chief Financial Officer Morgan Olsen, ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson, Sun Devil Athletics Chief Financial Officer Frank Ferrara and Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, whose team will use the arena for at least the next three seasons as a temporary home while awaiting word from the Tempe City Council on its plans for a permanent home along the south bank of the Rio Salado.

Journalists were allowed to take photos and videos of the interior, which is still under construction but is expected to be completed in October. They also saw the area on the northeast corner of the building where the Coyotes will construct their team areas which include NHL-quality home and away team locker rooms, practice areas, equipment, nutrition stations, coach work rooms, team storage and a fitness room.

Several other upgrades will also be made to reach NHL standards, including dedicated cooling capacity for the ice plant, improved broadcast infrastructure, media and medical services, and analytics and replay capabilities.

Here is a view of the bowl.

Here is another view from the suite and the press level.

Here is a video that my colleague, Steve Peters shot.

The capacity is just over 5,000 seats for ASU games. Seating capacity for NHL games has not been determined. Here is a breakdown of the seats:

General places: 2,510
Club seats (also in bowl): 576
Rail seats: 266
Premium seats: 340
Suites (20, plus two group suites): 284
Upper boxes: 20
Boxes on the rink side (bunker seats): 20
Tier seats: 838
Party Deck, Standing, and ADA Compliant: 319
The site also has a press box that can accommodate 28 people.

I have written a lot about this place.

If you want a virtual tour of what it will look like inside the arena, here is a link.

If you want to read my exclusive Q&A with Morgan Olsen after the Board of Regents approved the plan last week, follow this link.

After the tour, Olsen and Gutierrez posed for photos and answered questions from the media both in a group setting and in one-on-one interviews. Here is my one-on-one interview with Gutierrez.

What do you think of the resolution of this interim solution?

Of course, I hope that this action and our commitment is real proof for all those who have had concerns and doubts that we are fully committed to the Valley. We are about to invest over $25 million in cash; Alex Meruelo’s money in a temporary solution. We are hopeful that this is finally the answer people wanted to hear about our commitment to being here.

Again, this is a temporary fix. We have a larger vision, we have a larger proposal for a more permanent facility with again, our capital at stake to make sure the ratepayers are not responsible, the city of Tempe is not responsible, that’s gonna be our money. We are going to be responsible for everything that is built on this permanent campus.

Speaking of engagement, you may lose even more money at this facility than you would at Gila River Arena with the loss of naming rights, arena associated revenue such as parking and a smaller capacity. What is your position on this?

We really hope that given the central location, this rabid fan base, this rabid business base and so many community partners who have asked us to look at much more central options, the demand is there . It’s a hockey town. We said it from the start: what we needed was an arena solution in order to really super serve that demand and that fanbase and that pending fanbase.

It’s the start of what we hope will be a much more permanent solution, but it’s exciting. This is a brand new facility. It’s on a campus of 80,000 students. It’s in the heart of Tempe and we know we’ll have a phenomenal experience for NHL hockey at this facility.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in his press conference before the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas that there is a projection in which you will actually make more money than at the Gila River Arena. . Can you talk about it?

Commissioner Bettman said, we’ve done our projections, and that tells you everything you need to know about the need for a more permanent facility, that according to all of our projections, there will be no financial impact hardware when entering this facility, and in many cases it will actually be significantly better.

How do you strike a balance between raising ticket prices to compensate for lost revenue in a smaller venue and not raising them too high to alienate your fan base?

What people need to understand is that every seat is a bottom cup seat. You only have 13 lines. So when you think about lower seat prices in the NHL, in live sports, we won’t be that far off from what people are used to paying for that closeness to the rink and the ice and the players. We know there will be a scarcity bounty because there just isn’t enough inventory, but that’s not just for ticket holders, but also for corporate partners, for everyone. world. We said very transparently that this is the option, this is temporary, we are ready to invest our money in it and it will make some difference. But when you think about what lower seats are, what we’re projecting isn’t noticeably different from the rest of the NHL’s top-end seats. You are going to have such a close and intimate proximity with the players.

There has been a lot of speculation about the seating capacity for NHL games. When do you think you know this number?

There’s been a lot of misinformation out there and the reason I can say that is because those great people who wear Mortenson (Company) hats can’t even tell you what it is. We’re very confident speaking with the Oakview Group, the facility manager, and speaking with the Mortenson, the general contractor and the project manager here that this is going to have lots of seating, lots of premium seating, there are going to be suites, about 20 or so, there will be about 10 boxes or so, and so there will be plenty of opportunities for people to come and watch the Coyotes and have this incredible experience. I can’t tell you what the final number is because I haven’t been told. I don’t think they know that largely because of the investment we’re making to make sure this facility is up to NHL standards with the broadcast, the press rooms and all those things.

Is the agreement signed and complete?

We need to finalize everything that has been submitted to the Board of Regents. The deal is done, the thread is literally about to be done, so there is no turning back. There is no change. It’s just a lot of documentation. For the most part, the case is finalized. Closing is pending. And we are delighted.

Are you aware of the ongoing discussions between the league and the NHLPA?

You’d probably be better off talking to the people at the league office. All I can say to players who have concerns is that I understand it because they hear from the outside saying “It’s a college arena” and “It’s so small” and “Is- do these guys really have a plan?” I can tell you it’s a plan, we have it, and we’re ready to put our capital into it. This is a brand new establishment. It’s not putting lipstick on a pig. This is a brand new state of the art facility. We are investing over $25 million to reach NHL standards. And then what else do we do? We go to the Ice Den (Scottsdale) which is the training facility, and we actually buy a space and turn it into our permanent weight training room.

Where is that space you speak of near the Ice Den?

It adjoins the Ice Den. It’s in the large office complex surrounding the Ice Den. We’re making the commitment you’d want for the NHL standard players expect, so those are the things we show them. We are not going to sacrifice. This is a temporary fix, but we’re committed to it.

What else can you reveal about the ASU Arena Annex?

It’s going to be connected to the arena, but I can’t really show it to you yet. There will be an entrance directly from the secure car park. It’s going to be as safe as you’d expect for an NHL team. It will be two stories and it is 15,000 square feet.

How determined are you to keep the Roadrunners in Tucson?

Having the Roadrunners in Arizona is definitely something we’re committed to, but there are challenges in Tucson. This installation is a challenge. He doesn’t have the type of assets that you would want to try to make him financially viable. We have a lease there and we’re not necessarily considering moving them until we explore what our options might be.

Tucson is great. It’s a big market and we know it supports Roadrunners, but again, this facility doesn’t have the kind of amenities to create the financial opportunities we want.

What can you reveal about the ongoing renovations at Tucson Arena?

We have one of the highest charges on our tickets imposed by the city of Tucson in many years. These costs were clearly intended to be invested in the installation. They are now starting to make some of that investment. We would like to see many more. Much more. For the rest, the best would be to ask the people there.

You’ve touched on it several times, but the airport problem keeps coming up with reports citing noise, flight path, and expansion issues associated with your proposed permanent arena.

We have made it very public that the proposal we have presented respects and will respect the FAA. We’ve had many consultants from the FAA and again we’ve been very public about it. We don’t do anything in the dark. We have been very transparent.

Has the Tempe City Council received economic, traffic, noise, gambling and other assessments for the proposed permanent arena project?

Our understanding is that they have a series of consultants, bond advisers, bond underwriters, market feasibility. We understand that they have received it or will receive it soon. We are not responsible. It is a process beyond our control, but we remain convinced that what we have proposed is very convincing. I think the fact that we literally have a presence in their city is a pretty compelling demonstration of our commitment, a demonstration of our financial commitment and our financial ability to perform. So hopefully the city will see that and take the next step.

Top photo: A rendering of the future home of Sun Devil hockey, courtesy of Mortenson Company and ASU

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