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Gila River Arena

Glendale, AZ

Home of the Arizona Coyotes

4.4

4.1

Gila River Arena (map it)
9400 W Maryland Ave
Glendale, AZ 85305


Arizona Coyotes website

Gila River Arena website

Year Opened: 2003

Capacity: 17,799

There are no tickets available at this time.

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New Owners Means New Names Everywhere for Coyotes

In December 2003, the Coyotes moved a few miles west from US Airways Center to Gila River Arena in Glendale, which was the first part of the Glendale sports facilities. Joining them in Glendale since then have been the Arizona Cardinals, as well as Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox Spring Training.

The Coyotes played their first game in the building, which was then called Glendale Arena, on December 27, 2003 against the Nashville Predators. The name changed to Jobing.com Arena on October 25, 2006, and then prior to the 2014-15 season, the building was renamed Gila River Arena.

The naming rights deal with the Gila River Indian Community is the first such deal with a major sporting venue by a Native American group. The Phoenix area continues to be pioneers in this area, as Salt River Fields, the Spring Training home for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, was the first major sporting venue built on Native American land.

The name of the arena changed in 2014, and so did the name of the team. The Coyotes are now known as the Arizona Coyotes, rather than the Phoenix moniker they had since moving from Winnipeg in 1996. All of these name changes came as the Coyotes started an era under new ownership, which now includes Andrew Barroway after he bought 51% of the team at the start of the 2014-15 season. The group IceArizona bought the team in 2013, which guaranteed at least five more years of hockey in the desert, putting relocation rumors to rest for the time being.

Gila River Arena has replaced US Airways Center as the premier entertainment venue in the Valley of the Sun, hosting some of the biggest music artists in the business, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters and high school basketball tournaments. One of the main reasons that the Coyotes needed to move out of US Airways Center was because there were obstructed seats at both ends of the arena, forcing fans to look up at the video board if the puck was in the end closest to them. Gila River Arena was designed so that the concourse areas would be open to the ice. That allowed for some standing room areas, especially on the upper level, and every seat having a perfect view of the ice.

The Coyotes moved to Phoenix in 1996 from Winnipeg. The franchise has struggled on the ice during its entire existence, with the first-ever division championship and playoff series wins happening in the 2011-12 season. They went on to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals, but the success gained the Coyotes some fans that they hadn’t had before. With a somewhat stable ownership situation right now, the Coyotes are gaining some traction in the area that they haven’t experienced since first moving to Phoenix.

4.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

There is a very diverse selection of food and beverage in the arena. All of it is pretty expensive though. The main concession stands have hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, beer, soda. Gila River Arena is a Pepsi venue. There's also specialty beer stands throughout the concourse. Hot dogs are available everywhere, and cost $5.75. Things like nachos and sodas also cost right around $6. Beers are anywhere from $8-$12 depending on size and whether they're domestic or import.

Part of the changes to the arena in 2014 were the food options. Throughout the main concourse, you'll find all of the various offerings. The stand with the longest line? The Tim Horton's coffee, which is located in the south end behind section 108.

Each side of the arena has a "Blue Line Deli," which offers a couple types of sandwiches for about $9 in addition to the typical arena food. Looking for high-quality sandwiches? Cross Cut Carvery has a couple of locations on both levels in the north end. These sandwiches are $12 apiece.

Next to the Blue Line Delis on each side are large, open spaces that have some tables. With the concourse opened up to the ice, fans can stand and eat their food at these tables and not miss any of the game. Also found next to them are the Center Ice food stands, which offer the typical arena food.

Canyon Grille is located near section 111. It has several burger options, including a family meal called the "Penalty Box" for $27. This comes with fries and a few burgers. All of the burgers by themselves at this location are around $10 a pop.

In the same area as Canyon Grille and Tim Horton's is the Coyotes Market, which offers salads. If you're a vegetarian, this appears to be the only stand in the arena where you'll find what you're looking for.

Also in the south end, but on both levels, is the Coyote Taphouse. If the beer selections at the main concession stands aren't your thing, the Taphouse has more varieties, and also has a bunch of hard liquor. Both locations are fully-stocked bars to satisfy those who don't enjoy Coors Light.

Near section 102 is Sunrise Cantina, which has the Mexican food offerings in the arena, all for about $10 as well, including tacos and loaded nachos. At the Goal Line concession stand behind section 103, you'll find a few chicken options, including wings and chicken tenders.

For pizza, Papa John's has a couple of locations, where individual pizzas cost $10. There are also Wetzel's Pretzels stands all around, and various beer carts. All the food is expensive though. I would recommend eating before the game at Westgate City Center, but if it's not possible for you to do that, then be prepared to spend a lot on food. The price is what keeps the food from getting five stars.

Atmosphere    5

When you enter the arena on the north side, you notice right away that it feels a lot more open than most arenas. The concourses almost all open up to the ice, allowing fans to stand and watch the game if they so desire. The upper concourse even has a shelf for people to put their food on as they watch the action from the top of the arena. The look itself is very sleek and modern. The walls are all sand colored, with the seats being Sedona Red. Very easy on the eyes, and very obvious that this is the home of the Coyotes.

The entire arena was designed with fan comfort in mind. The seats all angle towards center ice, and are very comfortable, both in the lower and upper bowls. The upper bowl is a little steep, so it's not ideal for people who can't walk as well. The upper concourse goes along the top of the arena, making the entire upper bowl below the concourse. The main concourse is in the center of the arena, with the lower bowl being below it. There really is no bad seat; you can see everything from everywhere. The arena also has a ton of suites, 87 of them to be exact. You can host huge groups in these, most of them seat about 30 but some can hold up to 50 people.

The Coyotes logo faces the west side of the arena, with the benches being on the east side. The Coyotes attack twice towards the south end, which are sections 105-110 and 205-210. The south end is also where the Gila River Casinos Club area is, located just above the lower bowl.

The center scoreboard has the score, shots on goal, and penalties throughout the game. Other boards around it have some other things, including ads and what the 50/50 raffle drawing prize money is up to. All four of them show live game action, as well as instant replays and other features throughout the game. Also above the lower bowl, there is a scoreboard at each end. Before the game, the main scoreboard shows a pregame video, which has been changed to emphasize that this is not a Phoenix team, but an Arizona team. The pregame video shows Coyotes legend Shane Doan talking about new ownership and taking pride in the team, and then graphics show the various cities throughout Arizona, not just in the Phoenix area.

As with any typical NHL game, there's music blasting during every stoppage of play, but the sound system is really nice, which of course is part of it being one of the best concert venues in the country.

Neighborhood    5

Part of the design of filling Glendale with pro sports was surrounding it with a huge entertainment district. It took a couple of years after the Coyotes moved to Glendale to get this built, but it makes game days an all-day event. This area is known as the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District, which spans along 3 miles of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy. The arena is part of Westgate City Center, which offers many restaurants, stores, and a movie theatre. The restaurants that share a sidewalk with Gila River Arena include: McFadden's, Margaritaville, Hell's Half Acre, and Saddle Ranch. Walk a little farther into the shopping center and you'll find Johnny Rocket's, Yard House, Coldstone Creamery, and many other dining options.

If you feel like catching a movie before or after the game, the AMC movie theatre is located on the opposite side of Westgate from Gila River Arena. If you are planning a trip to Glendale, there are hotels right in the area, including the Renaissance Hotel, which is almost attached to the arena. There's also an outlet mall called the Tanger Outlets, where you can find even more shopping. It is on the west side of the main Westgate parking lot.

At the right time of year, you can combine a Coyotes game with another game nearby. Just south of Gila River Arena is University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL's Cardinals. In October, November and December, there are times when the two teams play over the course of a weekend. If you're going to a Coyotes game in March, just two exits south along the Loop 101 is Camelback Ranch, home of Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers spring training. Or you can drive a little farther north and go to Peoria Sports Complex, which is home to the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres in the spring months.

Fans    3

Getting the fans to the arena has been an issue, and that issue still remains for weekday games, but weekend games tend to fill up. The Coyotes are doing their best with the ticket packages and deals that they offer for almost every home game, and the team has done their best by being the most successful professional team in the state the last few years.

The fans that do show up are into the game from start to finish. They still manage to fill the place with noise. Chants get started pretty easily during the game, you would never guess the amount of people from the amount of noise. Make sure to howl after every goal, and take part in the chant "He shoots, he scores, hey goalie, you suck. It's all your fault, it's all your fault, it's all your fault."

Yes, there are a lot of visiting team fans that are at the games too, but that happens with all Phoenix-area teams since a lot of people that live here are transplanted from somewhere else.

Access    5

Gila River Arena is located just east of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy at the Glendale Rd. exit. There is a ton of free parking all around the Glendale Sports and Entertainment District on Coyote game days. If you feel the need for premium parking, there is a valet lot just east of the arena, and a parking garage attached to the Renaissance Hotel. With the new arena deal also came charging $10 for some of the arena parking lots, but Westgate and Tanger Outlets have so many free parking lots on game days that you shouldn't feel the need to spend money to park in a surface lot. You could also park at University of Phoenix Stadium for free on the south side of the arena.

Most fans enter through the north entrance, which is where the ticket office is, and the largest gate. Security is very simple; just make sure to take everything out of your pockets because everyone goes through a metal detector as they enter. It makes the process a lot faster if you are prepared, kind of like at an airport.

Walking around the arena is very easy, even during intermissions. The concourse is very wide, and the food lines never get too long. Plenty of bathrooms keep the walking area nice and clear. Both the upper and level concourses have standing-room areas, but they don't interfere with the ease of walking around.

Leaving the arena has gotten easier as well with the new on and off ramps at Maryland Ave. Getting off at Maryland requires you to be in a carpool between 3 and 7 PM, but after the game, anyone can go that way rather than using Glendale Ave.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets for Coyotes games are very reasonable. You can buy an upper level ticket for a game during the week, and just move down to the lower bowl if there's room for you (which there usually is). For any games on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, if you have a valid student ID you can buy "The Best Seat in the House" for just $25 (normal upper level ticket price).

On most Thursdays, you can get two lower-level tickets and two Coors Lights for $98. Tuesdays, lower-level tickets on the north end are 2-for-1.< /p>

Extras    5

Hanging above the concession stands along the concourse are various hockey jerseys; some historical and some bizarre. It's an interesting touch, and gives you something to look at and learn about while walking the concourse to get to the concession stand you're looking to visit.

At the beginning of the second intermission, "Shoot for Loot" happens, where a lucky fan can win a lot of money by burying the puck in the back of the net. If they don't make it, the money adds on to the next game, so if a bunch of people have missed in the games before you, there's a chance you'll make some serious coin. You can register for it at the customer service locations around the arena. The Paw Patrol (the coyotes cheerleaders) throw out free t-shirts during the third period as well.

The entertainment district itself is an extra point. There's so much to do within walking distance from the arena. You could literally spend an entire day without having to drive anywhere and not get bored.

The ability to have standing room crowds is good for the club too, especially when they're in the playoffs. And the fact that the upper concourse is designed for that is very unique and very cool.

The franchise's only divisional championship banner hangs proudly at the north end of the arena. There are some retired numbers on the west side as well, including past legends like Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, Dale Hawerchuck, and former Coyotes coach and part owner Wayne Gretzky. Current captain Shane Doan will surely be up there one day, as he has spent his entire career with the Jets/Coyotes franchise. He's the only player left that was a part of the team that moved in 1996.

Final Thoughts

The change to Arizona Coyotes is a welcomed one in my opinion. It really should have been done in 2003 when they moved out of Phoenix. Even though the team suffers from having a lot of visiting fans in the house, it doesn't seem to affect the Coyotes fans that are there. Coyote fans are passionate about this team, and more people are becoming fans the longer the team has success and makes the playoffs.

It was a little nerve-racking when the city was literally about an hour away from not agreeing to an arena deal and sending the team somewhere else, but now that the Coyotes have stable ownership, the product seems to have really taken off. There's a lot more hype around the Coyotes, and it's turning the overall game experience into one of the best in Arizona.

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Crowd Reviews

Inside Jobing.com Arena

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Glendale Arena was built as a multi-purpose facility opening December 23, 2003. Its primary tenant is the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. Naming rights were granted in 2006 changing the name of the structure to the Jobing.com Arena.

The stadium is owned by the City of Glendale who operates the arena and leases space to the Coyotes. Besides hockey the structure also provides space for conventions and other events such as concerts. In 2004 the arena earned the distinction of being one of the best concert venues in the country.

Jobing.com Arena consists of two levels of seating. The entrance to the arena is at mid level meaning all lower deck seats are below the entrance altitude. Two short escalator rides up deposits the fans at the upper level. Between the two levels is a band of suites and hospitality areas for groups and big spenders.

The stands are angled to provide good seating angles without having to move left or right in your seats. This makes watching a game or a concert very relaxing and natural.

The seats are all padded even at the uppermost levels adding to the comfort. The rows are staggered further making it easy to see the floor even with someone tall sitting in front of you. This is especially true in the upper levels and makes those seats seem closer to the action.

In its hockey configuration the Jobing.com Arena seats 17,799 which is small by NHL standards and provides an intimate feel for the fans in attendance. Behind each section is a stand-up bar area where fans can watch the game while eating without having to balance the food on their laps.

This was a surprising feature but one that after you see it you wonder why all stadiums do not have this. The venue has very few structural elements that would block your view making the arena feel open and airy despite its smaller size.

The acoustics are very good making it a great venue for a sports event or a concert. With a full house this place really rocks giving the home team an advantage.

There is one Team Shop on the main concourse and satellite booths selling team merchandise throughout both the upper and lower levels. Perhaps the most popular place especially when the temperatures outside were warm and fans came ill-prepared for hockey temperatures.

There are several food venues throughout the arena offering anything from the standard hot dog (in this case named a Coyote Dog) to more elaborate food items. Most of the concessions offer some type of deal with an entrée, drink, and dessert at a lower cost. This is especially true on Saturdays when the team offers "Family Packs" that include game tickets and food items.

There is an abundance of parking all around the arena and most spots are free. There is valet parking and parking on the arena property that can be purchased at a premium. Traffic flows very well making it easy to get in and out.

Hanging above center ice is a state-of-the-art scoreboard that is capable of showing replays as well as displaying scores and game information. Surrounding the bottom of the second deck is a video ribbon board that is used to display league information and other visual effects.

Overall the Jobing.com Arena makes watching a hockey game or other event comfortable. The padded seats and unobstructed viewpoints are impressive. The fans that are there are loud and passionate. As the play-offs get closer the excitement will reach its peak making this one of the great arenas to watch a hockey game.

Whiteout 2012 - It Doesn't Get Any Better

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 4

I visited Jobing.com Arena for the later stages of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. I saw game five of the Western Conference Semi-finals against the Nashville Predators and game one and two of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings.

Since this was the three biggest games in franchise history thus far it is possible that my take on the atmosphere is not representative for the experience you get at a regular season game. The experience though was probably the best I have ever had at a sports event. The atmosphere at the Predators game in particular was absolutely tearing the roof off. Everybody dressed in white made a beautiful scenery in an arena that already from the beginning has a very cool look to it. The facilities are as good as it gets.

The only downside of this experience was the location. Getting to this arena is not convenient from the heart of the Phoenix area, especially during rush hours. The Westgate area itself around the arena is pretty cool though and it makes it easy to forget how far you really are from the city. Saddle Ranch is an excellent restaurant/bar to spend an hour during pre- and postgame.

Join the Hunt

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Phoenix Coyotes don’t actually play in Phoenix.  In December 2003, the Coyotes moved a few miles west from US Airways Center to Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, which was the first part of the new Glendale sports facilities.  They played their first game in the building, then the Glendale Arena, on December 27, 2003 against the Nashville Predators.  The name changed to Jobing.com Arena on October 25, 2006.

Jobing has replaced USAC as the premier entertainment venue in the Valley of the Sun, hosting some of the biggest music artists in the business, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters and high school basketball tournaments.  One of the main reasons that the Coyotes needed to move out of US Airways Center was because there were obstructed seats at both ends of the arena, forcing fans to look up at the video board if the puck was in the end closest to them.  Jobing was designed so that the concourse areas would be open to the ice, allowing for some standing room areas, especially on the upper level, and every seat having a perfect view of the ice.

The Coyotes moved to Phoenix in 1996 from Winnipeg.  The franchise has struggled on the ice forever, with the first ever division championship and playoff series wins happening in the 2011-12 season.  They went on to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals, but the success gained the Coyotes some fans that they hadn’t had before.  Although there are always rumors of the Coyotes moving to another city, usually a Canadian city, they are still in Glendale, and they are on the verge of reaching an agreement with an ownership group to keep the team in Arizona.

Arizona's Hockey Team

Total Score: 4.29

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

In December 2003, the Coyotes moved a few miles west from US Airways Center to Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, which was the first part of the Glendale sports facilities. They played their first game in the building, then called Glendale Arena, on December 27, 2003 against the Nashville Predators. The name changed to Jobing.com Arena on October 25, 2006.

Jobing has replaced USAC as the premier entertainment venue in the Valley of the Sun, hosting some of the biggest music artists in the business, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters and high school basketball tournaments. One of the main reasons that the Coyotes needed to move out of US Airways Center was because there were obstructed seats at both ends of the arena, forcing fans to look up at the video board if the puck was in the end closest to them. Jobing was designed so that the concourse areas would be open to the ice. That allowed for some standing room areas, especially on the upper level, and every seat having a perfect view of the ice.

The Coyotes moved to Phoenix in 1996 from Winnipeg. The franchise has struggled on the ice forever, with the first ever division championship and playoff series wins happening in the 2011-12 season. They went on to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals, but the success gained the Coyotes some fans that they hadn’t had before.

In the summer of 2013, new ownership was put in place for the Coyotes, striking a deal with the City of Glendale which would keep the club in Arizona for at least the next five years. At the start of the 2014-15 season, the team will be known as the Arizona Coyotes, and the rebranding inside the arena is already very apparent.

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Local Food & Drink

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville  (map it!)

6751 N Sunset Blvd

Glendale, AZ 85305

(623) 772-0011

http://www.margaritavilleglendale.com/

McFadden's  (map it!)

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Glendale, AZ 85305

(623) 872-0022

http://www.mcfaddensglendale.com/

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Glendale, AZ 85305

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http://www.yelp.com/biz/hells-half-acre-glendale

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9400 W Hanna Dr

Glendale, AZ 85305

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http://www.AMCTheatres.com/Westgate/

Lodging

Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa  (map it!)

9495 W. Coyotes Blvd

Glendale, AZ 85305

(623) 937-3700

http://www.renaissanceglendale.com/

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