Alex Meruelo was introduced late last week as the new majority owner of the Arizona Coyotes, representing a major change to the franchise’s leadership.
Meruelo, a billionaire entrepreneur who founded the Meruelo Group, had been working over the last few months to purchase the majority stake in the Coyotes from Andrew Barroway. The NHL Board of Governors signed off on the deal in June, an action that did not finalize an agreement but represented a major step forward.
The transaction was ultimately finalized last week, and Meruelo was formally introduced Thursday as the Coyotes new majority owner. Meruelo is making history as the first Hispanic controlling owner of an NHL club and is planning to boost the franchise’s engagement efforts with the Hispanic community, which could prove to be a crucial marketing strategy. More from the Arizona Republic:
“It means an awful lot,” Meruelo said of being the NHL’s first Hispanic owner. “It’s good and it’s bad because I feel like I have more responsibilities to hold. I believe Arizona is about 40 percent Hispanic, and to have them as part of my team … I know there hasn’t been that much interest with the Hispanic market, but I expect to change that.
“I want to bring them a winner.”
Meruelo went so far as to deliver part of his opening statement in Spanish as well as field a question from a Spanish-speaking reporter. The California-based Meruelo Group has found immense success by catering to Hispanics in several of their ventures in and around the Southwest U.S., most notably rebranding a failing pizza restaurant to appear more attractive to Latinos.
“To me, I represent everybody,” Meruelo said. “Being Hispanic and being the first one is going to be difficult, right? It’s never easy. But I’m excited and I’m very proud.”
Under the terms of the transaction, which was completed last Monday, Meruelo now owns 95% of the Coyotes.
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