Arizona Coyotes to reduce arena seating capacity next season

The Arizona Coyotes currently play at the Gila River Arena. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

The Arizona Coyotes have been a bottom-three team in NHL attendance every year since the 2007-08 season and this year sit second-last (ahead of only Carolina) with an average of 12,961 per game, according to ESPN.

As a result, Coyotes spokesman Rich Nairn told local reporter Brahm Resnik that the team will close off a few sections and cover them with tarp next season.

“We will be tarping off four upper level sections in Gila River Arena for the majority of our home games. These sections (205, 211, 220, and 226) have not sold well in the past… we will be working with current Season Ticket Members to select seats in comparable locations at the same price point… Removing some of this excess inventory and concentrating our great fans closer together represents an opportunity to improve the fan experience at Gila River Arena.”

The Coyotes have been working to secure a new arena ever since their arena management deal with Glendale was terminated by the city in 2015. A potential site for a new arena in Tempe, Arizona fell through last month when Arizona State University backed out.

The team's current lease at Gila River Arena, their home since 2003, runs through the 2017-18 season.