The Arizona Coyotes have announced a multiyear sponsorship agreement with the Gila River Indian Community, marking the first time that a Native American tribe will have advertising on an NHL team jersey.
Players will wear patches for Gila River Resorts & Casinos on their home jerseys this season, the first time the NHL is allowing teams to have advertisements on their sweaters. Due to NHL rules, ads for sportsbooks and gambling ventures can be worn only on home jerseys. The Coyotes intend to find another sponsor for their road jerseys.
In addition, Gila River Resorts & Casinos will be the season-long “presenting sponsor” of the Coyotes, which will include activations around games at the team’s new temporary home at Arizona State University.
“It’s more than a brand sponsorship,” Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez told ESPN. “I’ve made it very clear that the three pillars of our business plan are impact, inclusion and innovation. Not only in bringing diverse voices to our organization but in embracing every aspect of our community.”
The Coyotes had a previous relationship with the Gila River Indian Community, as their former home arena in Glendale was named the Gila River Arena. It was rechristened Desert Diamond Arena in August. Glendale terminated its lease with the Coyotes for the arena after the 2021-22 season, following 18 seasons.
Gutierrez says that the team will make more money from having Gila River Resorts & Casinos on its jerseys than it did having it on the Coyotes’ arena.
“They’re going to be a larger revenue partner for us this year than they were previously. As far as the total package, they’ve increased their spend,” he said. “We have a longtime partner that believes in what we’re doing, that believes in the club and believes in the temporary, intimate location that we’re playing in. They see it and understand it.”
The Coyotes will play in the new multipurpose facility on ASU’s campus for at least the next three seasons while seeking to build an arena on city-owned land in Tempe. Mullett Arena, named for a family that has supported the ASU Sun Devils’ Division I hockey program, will have an official capacity of 5,025 fans, and will hold between 4,800 and 5,000 fans for Coyotes games.