Phoenix, Arizona (Reuters) – The Phoenix Municipal stadium is being redeveloped with a view to become the largest indoor soccer stadium in the United States, a vision for which the Phoenix Coyotes have been engaged since the 1990s.
The project, dubbed the Phoenix Rising, is the brainchild of billionaire Joe Hockey, who has been building a sports franchise in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale for almost 30 years.
A project that has attracted much of the public attention is the expansion of Phoenix’s indoor hockey arena to 16,000 seats.
The arena will also house a brand new soccer field, a 25,000-seat arena, and a new basketball arena.
The Coyotes announced the expansion plans at a news conference at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Sunday.
The team’s president, Anthony LeBlanc, told reporters the team was in talks with several private developers to complete the project and was in the process of signing an arena lease with a private developer in the first quarter of 2018.
“I’m excited to have that contract signed,” LeBlan said.
“We have a long-term agreement with the Coyotes that will see the Coyotes play in this facility for many years to come.
The stadium is expected to be completed in 2022.
The new arena will include a retractable roof that will be able to take in cold air and will also be capable of holding 20,000 fans at any one time, as well as the world’s largest outdoor soccer field.
A large concrete section will also replace the old steel structure that has housed the arena for over 20 years.
The Arizona Coyotes announced they would move to Phoenix on Monday.
The announcement comes as the team continues to battle with the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes for rights to play in the city.
The NHL announced on Thursday it was pulling out of Phoenix, ending a 20-year ownership relationship that saw the team move from Tucson to Glendale.
The NHL also removed its Arizona franchise from the United Soccer League.
The move was seen as a major blow to the NHL, which has had its own problems with attendance and ticket prices, including a $1.4 billion, 10-year deal with UnitedHealth Group for a 2023 season.
Phoenix is not alone in its desire to expand its outdoor sports franchise.
The New York Yankees have announced plans to move to New Jersey, while Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss has said he will retire from the sport if he is unable to sell the team to the New York Rangers.