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Mullett Arena - Arizona Coyotes

Photos by Greg Venuto, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Mullett Arena

411 S Packard Drive

Tempe, AZ 85281

Year Opened: 2022 Capacity: 4,600


Temporary in Tempe, Coyotes To Flee Arizona

The story of Mullett Arena must be told in two parts:

The first part is the impending departure of the Arizona Coyotes from not only Mullett, on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, but from the state of Arizona and winding up in Salt Lake City, Utah to play in the Delta Center next season (2023-24).

The second part is the actual review of Mullett Arena which may never host a professional game again and could soon turn back into a college arena for its original intended purpose.

First let’s tackle the sudden departure of the Coyotes, who play in the NHL’s Central Division. A new arena was first turned down by voters in Tempe last May which scuttled a potential new home. Then, owner Alex Meruelo, announced a plan to bid on land off the 101 Loop in Phoenix on the border of Scottsdale to build a new majestic home which was planned to open in fall of 2027.  The NHL Board of Governors got impatient with a plan that included much uncertainly including the Coyotes having to first win an auction on June 27 to construct a new arena and entertainment district.  It gets even stranger as Meruelo is expected to have a five-year window to bring an expansion team back to the Phoenix area if they can win the auction on the 110-acre site.  Meruelo will keep the name and trademark for that time.

It was a crushing blow for Coyote and Arizona hockey fans and stunned many of the team’s employees and players.  The Yotes have been a part of the Phoenix area for 18 seasons.

For what it is, Mullett offers a charming setting for fans who can get close to the action and see and hear everything up close.  It is not an NHL venue, but seeing top-flight players in such an intimate setting is fabulous.  Mullett also hosts ASU men's and women’s hockey, women’s gymnastics, men’s wrestling, and occasional concerts and shows (5000 capacity). The facility is named in honor of Donald and Barbara Mullett, two of the university's benefactors. The building also houses the Mountain American Community Iceplex, offering public ice skating sessions.

If the Salt Lake City plan goes forward, the Coyotes will be the first NHL team to relocate since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

Food & Beverage 3

The food is basic fare since it is a college venue.  

Attendees can bring in one unopened water bottle.  Otherwise, a Dasani runs $5 and the price is $6 for bottled soda (Coca-Cola products).

The food options include Sparky’s Hot Spot with Nachos, Bratwurst, and Philly Cheesesteaks, Big Chicken (founded by Shaquille O’Neal), Neighborhood Burger Joint, and a Pizza Place (Venezia’s).  Hot dogs run $6, beer is $14 and a burger costs $16.

Atmosphere 4

The atmosphere is all about the proximity to the playing surface.  Since the building is not large it can get loud. There's a drum corp behind sections 115 -116 all game, so it can get a bit loud if you're at the back of those sections.

The howl of the Coyote and the Coyote's goal song “I’m Howling For You” by the Black Keys gets the joint jumping. The cheerleaders also contribute by dancing in the aisles during stoppages and attempting to energize the fanbase. Howler is the mascot and is often seen roaming the arena. One of the coolest parts is if you go through the main entrance, there's a large concession stand on the left and a merch kiosk on the right. On the left, there is a glass wall where fans can watch the visiting team enter/exit their locker room between periods up close and personal. One drawback is fans cannot go completely around the arena as there is restricted access to The Club area behind sections 119, 120, 101, 102, & 103.

Sections 114-117, which is the ASU student section, is bleacher seating with no seat backs. The center-hung scoreboard seems so small compared to the typical big boards at standard NHL venues. Navigating the narrow concourse is a constant challenge since the venue was not designed for a professional team.

Neighborhood 4

Mullett Arena is located in the city of Tempe which is a college town.  It is a great place for both pre and post-game activities with a plethora of bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels.  The bar/restaurant scene is most vibrant on Mill Avenue.  There are also two great places for burgers: The Chuckbox at 202 E. University Drive and In-n-Out Burger at 920 E Playa Del Norte Drive.

A Marriott Residence Inn and Hyatt House/Place are just outside the confines of Mullett Arena.

Another great activity is to Hike Tempe Butte which is just three minutes away from Mullett. The hike is only 0.7 miles up and back with great vistas at the top.  Remember to bring water and enjoy the majestic views of Tempe and downtown Phoenix (including Sky Harbor Airport and Chase Field).

Fans 3

The Coyote fans who come to Mullett are enthusiastic but the problem is there are not enough of them in the building. With the inordinate price tag, the tickets are often bought by visiting team fans on vacation to the Phoenix area.  A good chunk of Coyote fans most likely sell their seats on the secondary market to make some money on the high-priced tickets.

On this occasion, the arena was filled with probably 85-90% New York Rangers fans many clad in their traditional red, white, and blue.

The Coyotes have developed a hard-core group of followers in the Phoenix area who will be following future happenings in hopes of a new iteration of their team returning soon.

Access 4

Driving to Mullett Arena is easy with the ASU Campus located just off the 202.  Fans can enter off N. Scottsdale Road or Mill Avenue which runs north and south.  Parking outside the arena is $25 at an ASU-owned lot.  Another option is ParkWhiz, which Stadium Journey used for this visit and paid only $8.48 (booked in advance), for an indoor lot at 117 East 5th Street and was a 12-minute walk. 

The greater Phoenix area has one of the best light rail systems in the country, covering over 28 miles and going from north of downtown out to Mesa, with a stop just a few minutes away from Mullett Arena. The cost is only $2 per ride.

Return on Investment 1

Ticket prices are astronomical since the Coyotes had to make up for a lack of revenue due to the size of the building.  Standing room ranges from $60-$100 depending upon the opponent. The benches behind the goal that the opponents shoot at during the first and third periods start at about $125-$170.  Center ice seats are $225-$400 depending on the opponent and how close to the glass one sits.

Food prices are about average for the NHL maybe a little bit less.

Extras 1

The only extra point goes to being so close to the action which is something that is never experienced at the NHL level. The arena allows all fans to feel in touch with the excitement and speed of the game. The other benefit is the arena is new but the highlights end there. 

Final Thoughts

April 17 could be the last time Mullett ever hosts an NHL game as The Coyotes face the Edmonton Oilers. Mullett Arena was a great experience for NHL fans who had a chance to see a game there.  Still, Mullett is worthy of a Stadium Journey for college events and anything else held there in the future.

Follow Greg Venuto’s stadium journeys on Twitter @VenutoGreg and Facebook.

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