When George Gosbee purchased the Phoenix Coyotes this Summer, one condition was that the team would re-brand itself as the “Arizona Coyotes” as soon as possible. Such a change was not possible for 2013-14, as the team was rescued in the final moments of the offseason.
This afternoon, team president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc confirmed the team will take on the Arizona moniker starting in the 2014-15 season. The move will partly serve to appease the City of Glendale, who is footing a large amount of the bill to keep the Coyotes in Arizona, despite it not being located in Phoenix. In addition, branding the team “Arizona” opens up the entire state to welcome the Coyotes as their own.
— Phoenix Coyotes (@phoenixcoyotes) January 29, 2014
In addition to the name change, the Coyotes will also replace the PHX shoulder patch that is present on their home and away uniforms. The Coyotes confirmed that the rest of the uniform will remain the same and that the new patch will be unveiled at the first preseason game in 2014.
There had been speculation that the Coyotes may choose to completely overhaul their uniforms, mainly to further distance themselves from the tumultuous years spent in their current look. However, ownership believes they have a solid brand to build upon and a simple change to the name should be good enough to further grow the Coyotes brand.
We hope that the name ‘Arizona’ will encourage more fans from all over the state to embrace and support our team
-Anthony LeBlanc (Courtesy of Phoenix Coyotes official Twitter)
I think the change is a great idea. Branding themselves as “Arizona’s” team will help increase the fan base. The New Jersey Devils have taken a similar approach by branding themselves as “Jerseys Team”. While it hasn’t stopped people from Jersey cheering for the Rangers and Flyers, it does remind people of who the home team is.
I am also pleased the Coyotes will not be overhauling their uniforms. While some find the Coyotes uniforms boring, I think they simple, classy, and evoke the desert motif perfectly (without going full on peyote Coyote, like the team did in the 90s).
This is another step in the long process of the Coyotes ownership repairing the torn relationship with the people of Arizona. While a name change and a shoulder patch won’t make people forget the ugly city council meetings, it does show they are making the effort to grow the brand and heal the wounds.