OVG to handle team sponsorship sales for Coyotes at ASU

By Alex Silverman
The new 5,000-seat arena for Arizona State’s hockey team is expected to open this fall.Courtesy of Arizona State

The Arizona Coyotes are turning to Oak View Group to handle the bulk of their new sponsorship sales as they prepare to move to their temporary home at Arizona State University starting with the 2022-23 season.


Oak View Group will operate the yet-to-be-named, 5,000-seat, multipurpose arena on the campus of Arizona State, which is set to open this fall. After failing to reach a deal to remain at Gila River Arena in Glendale, the Coyotes agreed to play home games at the new facility for at least the next three seasons as a stopgap measure while they continue to pursue municipal approval to build a $1.7 billion arena and mixed-use district in Tempe.

Dan Griffis, Oak View Group president of global partnerships, said the relationship with the Coyotes is comparable to the ones the group has with other teams that play in facilities it owns and operates, including the New York Islanders at UBS Arena.

“When we do founding-level deals inside the arena or presenting-level deals, we will try to take Coyotes assets and package them into those deals,” Griffis said.

Nick Sakiewicz, who joined the Coyotes as chief business officer in March, said the team eliminated four of its five in-house sponsorship sales positions as part of the transition and plans to allocate additional resources to the corporate activation team led by executive director Lindsay Foletta. That group is working on putting together potential packages for existing team partners that the team hopes to transfer over from Glendale to Tempe.

The Coyotes will have to get creative to avoid a significant decline in sponsorship revenue with the move to the smaller arena. Sakiewicz said the team will have about 70% less inventory in the Arizona State facility.

“We’re going to need to come up with new innovative executions for sponsors, both inside the arena, and more importantly, outside the arena and all year round in that Scottsdale-Tempe-Mesa corridor,” Sakiewicz said.

He expects sponsorship revenue in Year 1 to either stay flat or dip slightly. For Years 2 and 3, he plans to bolster sponsorship revenue by adding new inventory associated with community engagement, a non-hockey event series and premium digital content.

The Coyotes and Oak View Group will seek to sell brands on the upside of partnering with a major league team in a smaller arena.

“The smaller, intimate experience is going to present unique activation opportunities to have a much more meaningful conversation with the diehard fan that’s going to come into the building,” Griffis said.

The nature of the Coyotes’ residency, and the late stage of the arena project at which it came about, has created some unique sales challenges. One is that Oak View Group had already started selling sponsorship inventory for the Arizona State hockey program, including on-ice logos, before the Coyotes came into the picture. While advertising on dasherboards, for example, can be swapped between games to accommodate the sponsors of different tenants, on-ice logos can’t be changed on a game-to-game basis.

“There are going to be Arizona State hockey partners that will be on ice and get exposure in all Coyote games,” Griffis said.

Fortunately, many of the brands that signed up to sponsor Arizona State hockey are existing Coyotes partners, which Griffis said makes reworking the deals simpler. He expects at least 90% of brands represented on the ice surface to be Coyotes partners in addition to sponsoring Arizona State.

Another wrinkle is that while Oak View Group is looking to secure long-term commitments from arena-level partners, it can only offer Coyotes inventory for the three years the team is committed to playing on campus.

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