SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Tax Payers help support the organization
  • Shane Doan (One of the most historic players)
  • Family-friendly Atmosphere
  • Affordable prices

Weaknesses

  • Other NHL teams with more of a fan base
  • Consistently having a losing record
  • Low hockey market in Arizona
  • Lack of History
  • Young General Manager

Opportunities

  • Young Talent
  • Lack of success in other Arizona sports franchises

Threats

  • Unhappy Taxpayers
  • Recent Arizona Cardinals success (NFL)
  • Relocation
  • Other professional sports franchises in Arizona
  • Arizona State Men’s Hockey

Strengths

Taxpayers help support the organization – The City of Glendale, Arizona supports the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey Leauge. Taxpayers have helped support the organization since 2012 when the team started to become in debt with the NHL (Garofalo & Waldron, 2012). Having this extra support from the city of Glendale allows the Coyotes organization to save millions of dollars and use that money elsewhere. I firmly believe that the organization would be forced to relocate if the city did not support them in this manner.

Shane Doan – Shane is one of the most iconic players currently playing in the National Hockey Leauge. He is currently the organization’s all-time leader in goal scoring, he led the team in scoring from 2003-2011 consecutively and is also the longest-serving captain in the NHL (http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/d/doansh01.html). This is a player that fans buy tickets for a game just to watch him play. Shane has represented Canada numerous times in the Olympics, World Cup of Hockey, World Championships and World Juniors. He is the only original player left on the Arizona Coyotes since they became a franchise in 1995. He is at the tail end of his career, which means fans will want to see him play before he is retired and is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Family Friendly Atmosphere – The Arizona Coyotes offer a great family experience during their home games held at the jobing.com arena in Glendale. The in-game animations shown on the jumbotron are meant for all ages. Their mascot “Howler” (picture is shown below) has great reviews among reading further into his bio. During the intermissions, they provide activities on the ice before the Zamboni comes on like “Chuck a puck,” “Ice bowling” and more. This is a great atmosphere to bring your kids too, or just go with a group of friends and enjoy the game.

Image result for az coyotes mascot

Affordable prices – The Arizona Coyotes rank 2nd in the NHL for the cheapest ticket price (http://blog.tiqiq.com/2016/10/2013-14-nhl-average-ticket-prices-team/). Their average ticket price in the 2014-2015 season was $65.57 respectively, with their lowest ticket price being $16.9 average. The highest ticket price in the NHL is the Toronto Maple Leafs with an average ticket price of  $185.43. This makes it much more affordable to watch a game.

Weaknesses

Other NHL teams with a bigger fanbase – The Coyotes have the lowest attendance rating in the NHL. In 2015-2016, the Arizona Coyotes averaged 13,350 fans per home game. The Chicago Blackhawks who had the highest attendance rating had an average of 21,860. This is a massive margin when you look at a 41 home game schedule (http://www.hockeydb.com/nhl-attendance/att_graph_season.php?lid=NHL1927&sid=2016).

Consistently having a losing record – The Coyotes have not been able to reach the playoffs since the 2011-2012 season. This 5-year drought makes for an uneasy fan base as they do not have any success to look back at. Since becoming an organization in 1996, they have not won a Stanley Cup. They are not giving the fans much to cheer about when they are consistently losing.

Low hockey market in Arizona – Hockey is not a major sport in Arizona. With the hot weather they have, people do not want to spend their afternoons or evenings inside a cold rink to watch a hockey game.

Lack of History – The Arizona Coyotes do not have a rich hockey history. This is tough to have young fans attracted to your team when they have nothing to look back on. For example, the Montreal Canadiens have won 25 Stanley Cups, and are an original six team. This is something that new fans can look at and want to be apart of. Becoming a team in 1996 limits the new fans that can be attracted to the organization. Many fans already had a favorite team before the Coyotes started, meaning the loyal fans would still root for their favorite team.

Young General Manager – In 2016, the Arizona Coyotes named twenty-six-year-old John Chyka as their new general manager. He is the youngest general manager in National Hockey Leauge History (Gaines, 2016). Having the youngest general manager in NHL history only proves one thing, that he has no experience in the NHL. There could be a major trust issue with fans as they may not agree with this signing.

Opportunities

Young Talent – The benefit of having a losing record during the season provides you with a high draft pick. The Coyotes have had the luxury of choosing in the top 7 of the NHL draft 4 years in a row (Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Oliver Ekman-Larson, Dylan Strome). These four individuals were very highly touted in the draft and are highly praised. They are the future of the team and they have not disappointed. Max, Anthony, and Oliver have been very consistent and have been one of the key players for the team at such a young age. Dylan, who was drafted last year (3rd overall selection) is projected to make a major impact in the league starting next season. Max Domi is also the son of former Toronto Maple Leaf legend Tie Domi. These players bring life to the building every night and they are expected to change the culture of the team into a winning organization.

Lack of success in other Arizona sports franchises – Arizona has not had much success with their professional sports teams. The Arizona Cardinals (NFL) have never won a Superbowl since being founded in 1898. The Phoenix Suns (NBA) have never won an NBA Championship since being founded in 19868. The Arizona Diamondbacks have only won the World Series one time which was in 2001(http://www.azsnakepit.com/2013/2/22/4011804/phoenix-sports-nfl-baseball-hockey-basketball). Arizona sports fans can look at the upcoming players in the Coyotes organization and believe they have the best chance of winning a championship.

Threats

Unhappy Taxpayers – Not everyone is willing to support the Arizona Coyotes, especially when they are struggling and are in debt with the National Hockey Leauge. This can cause waves as fans do not want to spend their own hard earned money on a losing franchise that they do not wish support. “For each of the past two seasons, Glendale has paid $25 million to the league to manage the Coyotes, even as the city faced millions of dollars in budget deficits” (Garofalo & Waldron, 2012)

The recent success of the Arizona Cardinals (NFL) – The Arizona Cardinals were pegged to win the SuperBowl for the 2016-2017 season. Unfortunately, they did not do as well as they were projected, but this shows how strong the team is and proves they have a chance to win. This is very attracting to fans as they want to support a team that wins. Football is a much more popular sport than hockey in the state of Arizona.

Relocation – The Arizona Coyotes have been in relocation talks for 5 years now. This may attract fans to a different team as they do not want to be faithful to a team that may not be there in the near future. Without a hockey team in the city of Arizona, many fans may choose to start fresh and find a new team to be loyal to.

Other professional sports teams in Arizona – with the Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and the Pheonix Suns (NBA), there are many different teams to chose from. It is difficult to find enough time to support more than one team. Season ticket holders will have to prioritize which team they decide to root for and support. Having 4 professional sports teams in the same city is always a threat as it gives fans options.

Arizona State University Men’s Ice Hockey – ASU’s men’s ice hockey team became a Division 1 program in 2015. They play their home games in the same arena (Jobing.com) as the Coyotes do. This provides another alternative for hockey fans to spend their time at. With the lack of success the Coyotes have had, hockey fans may be looking for something new, and the next best alternative for high-end hockey is the Sun Devils of Arizona State.

References

Gaines, C. (2016, May 5). Phoenix coyotes’ new GM is reportedly a 26-year-old “analytics guru” who co-founded a hockey statistics firm. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/phoenix-coyotes-promote-wiz-kid-to-gm-2016-5

Garofalo, P., & Waldron, T. (2012). If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from The Atlantic, http://econ2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/crp274/swenson/URP290/Readings/If%20You%20Build%20It,%20They%20Might%20Not%20Come_%20The%20Risky%20Economics%20of%20Sports%20Stadiums%20-%20Business%20-%20The%20Atlantic.pdf

HockeyDB: NHL Attendance. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2017, from (http://www.hockeydb.com/nhl-attendance/att_graph_season.php?lid=NHL1927&sid=2016).

NHL Average Ticket Prices. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2017, from http://blog.tiqiq.com/2016/10/2013-14-nhl-average-ticket-prices-team/

McLennan, J. (2013, February 22). Phoenix: Which Sport Reigns Supreme? Retrieved February 07, 2017, from http://www.azsnakepit.com/2013/2/22/4011804/phoenix-sports-nfl-baseball-hockey-basketball

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