After more than two years running the city-owned Gila River Arena, AEG was awarded a five-year extension to continue operating the home of the Arizona Coyotes.
The city and AEG agreed to an extension until June 30, 2026.
“I think this is something you don’t see a lot of in markets, to have a vote of confidence from a city like this,” Gila River Arena general manager Dale Adams said. “We strive for this arena to be a place where people want to come and see great events because this has been a hidden gem in Arizona for too long.”
Based in Los Angeles, AEG owns, operates or consults with more than 120 venues worldwide, including Staples Center in Los Angeles. AEG also developed L.A. Live, the sports and entertainment district adjacent to Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and the Los Angeles Convention Center. It also runs The O2, a 28-acre development in London that includes a 20,000-seat arena.
Adams was quick to point out that the success AEG has had is because of the location and venue.
“I tell AEG folks all the time that this area is L.A. Live on steroids,” Adams said. “There are more things happening here than any other multiplex complex anywhere in the world right now.”
AEG presents such artists and tours as The Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney, among numerous others.
AEG has been successful over the past two years with events such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Sugarland, UFC, Lorde, Katy Perry and Brad Paisley, among other programming, such as ACE Comic Con and the Professional Bull Riding Association.
“The ultimate goal is to get as much exposure to show people how great this area and arena is,” Adams said. “Our goals are to always increase the programming and work with the Coyotes and support them as they move forward and hopefully continue to build and get this building the exposure it deserves.”
Glendale selected AEG to be the manager in February 2016 when three requests for proposals were submitted after the city voided a long-term contract with IceArizona in 2015.
The extension will continue the management contract on its original terms, which call for the city to pay AEG $5.6 million annually for its services. That fee can be offset through events in the partnership between the city and AEG.
After 14 years of operations, the city may be in line to see profit from the city-owned arena after AEG tripled revenue in the first year of running Gila River Arena to $1.6 million.
Prior to AEG running the arena, the total revenue paid to the city under management agreements had been $35,307,210 over the life of the arena, while paying out more than $80 million to the NHL and IceArizona from 2010 to 2016. The city’s total revenue net loss was $44,744,160 on the arena previous to AEG taking over.
Adams added that while the Coyotes are on a year-to-year basis, he hopes to continue to build upon helping the team succeed, but he has not had any conversations with the team on a long-term deal.
“They have been a great partner and we will continue to help them be as successful as we can,” Adams said. “We will continue to work with them and go from there when it comes to the future.”