Talking Stick Resort Arena

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Talking Stick Resort Arena
The Purple Palace, The Snake Pit
USAirwaysCenterNight.jpg
Entrance of then-US Airways Center seen at night
Former names America West Arena (1992–2006)
US Airways Center (2006-2014)
Location 201 East Jefferson
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Coordinates 33°26′45″N 112°4′17″W / 33.44583°N 112.07139°W / 33.44583; -112.07139Coordinates: 33°26′45″N 112°4′17″W / 33.44583°N 112.07139°W / 33.44583; -112.07139
Public transit Convention Center
Owner City of Phoenix
Operator Phoenix Arena Development, L.P.
Capacity Basketball: 19,023 (1992–2003), 18,422 (2003–present)
Ice hockey: 16,210
Arena football: 15,505
Construction
Broke ground August 1, 1990[1]
Opened June 6, 1992
Renovated 2003
Construction cost $90 million
($151 million in 2014 dollars[2]

2001–04 renovations: $67 million
($83.7 million in 2014 dollars
Architect Ellerbe Becket
Project manager Huber, Hunt & Nichols[3]
Structural engineer Horst Berger[4]/Severud[5]
Services engineer Flack + Kurtz[6]
General contractor Perini Building Company[7]
Tenants
Phoenix Suns (NBA) (1992–present)
Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) (1997–present)
Arizona Rattlers (AFL) (1992–present)
Arizona Sandsharks (CISL) (1993–97)
Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) (1996–2003)
Phoenix RoadRunners (ECHL) (2005–09) NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight)
(1999, 2004, 2008, 2012)
Aerial view of then-US Airways Center
then-US Airways Center interior
then-US Airways Center before a Phoenix Suns game in 2009
Logo as US Airways Center, 2006-2014

Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly America West Arena and US Airways Center) is a sports and entertainment arena in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It opened on June 6, 1992 at a construction cost of $89 million.

It is home to the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers.

The ECHL's Phoenix RoadRunners played at the arena from their inaugural 2005-06 season until they ceased operations at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season.

Located near Chase Field (the Arizona Diamondbacks' home ballpark), the arena is one million square feet in size on an 11-acre site. These two major league sports venues make up for half of those used by Phoenix area professional teams, the other two being University of Phoenix Stadium and Gila River Arena (formerly Jobing.com Arena) in the neighboring Phoenix suburb of Glendale.

Renovations were completed in March 2003, where it features a 16,000-square foot air-conditioned glass-enclosed atrium built on the northwest side of the arena. It is to keep patrons cool while waiting in line for tickets or spending time inside the building before events. The total cost was estimated around $67 million. The upgrading of US Airways Center was done as part of the Phoenix Suns' plan to keep it economically competitive after Jobing.com Arena opened.[8] Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo originally thought of the renovations after visiting Staples Center in Los Angeles and envisioned a similar entertainment district in Phoenix.[9]

The arena also features the Verve Lounge, a high-class exclusive bar lounge.[10]

Sports teams and events[edit]

Basketball, arena football, concerts, professional wrestling, ice shows and other events are held in the arena.

The National Hockey League (NHL)'s Phoenix Coyotes played their first 7½ seasons at Talking Stick Resort Arena following their arrival from Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 1, 1996. Now as the newly re-named Arizona Coyotes, they eventually moved 12.5 miles (20.1 km) northwest over to Jobing.com Arena on December 27, 2003. It also hosted the Arizona Sandsharks of the defunct Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL).

Its most common nickname is "The Purple Palace", though during the Rattlers' season it is known as "the Snake Pit".[citation needed]

Capacity for basketball was originally 19,023, but was downsized after the 2002-03 season to 18,422.

Three of the games of the 1993 NBA Finals between the Suns and the Chicago Bulls, including game six where John Paxson hit a last second 3 point shot to clinch the Bulls' Championship, were played there, as was one of the three 1998 WNBA Finals games and two ArenaBowl games, and some games of the 2007 and 2009 WNBA Finals. In 1997, the Rattlers won ArenaBowl XI at America West Arena. The 1995 NBA All-Star Game was played in the arena as well as the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game, and the arena hosted the 2009 NBA All-Star Game.[11]

In boxing, Oscar de la Hoya had a few of his early bouts at the arena, and Michael Carbajal also fought there, including winning the WBO world Junior Flyweight title from Josue Camacho in 1994, and Julio Cesar Chavez ended his career with a fight at the arena.

In bull riding, the PBR hosted a Built Ford Tough Series (at the time, called the Bud Light Cup) event at the arena each year between 1999 and 2002; in 2004 the event was moved to the Glendale Arena (later Jobing.com Arena). The PBR will be returning to the arena for the first time in March 2014.

On December 10, 1993, legendary singer Frank Sinatra did one of his last concerts at America West Arena.

WWE held the 2013 Royal Rumble event at the arena. The US Airways Center is also the standard venue when WWE visits Phoenix. The Venue was host of a Raw is War in 1998, a House Show in 1999, a Raw is War in 1999, a Raw is War in 2000, a SmackDown in 2000, a Raw is War in 2001, a SmackDown in 2002, SummerSlam 2003, Judgment Day 2006, a SmackDown in 2008, Cyber Sunday 2008, a Raw in 2010 one day after WrestleMania XXVI Shawn Michaels' farewell speech, a SmackDown in 2011, a Raw in 2012, and on February 15, 2014, WWE Live's Road to WrestleMania. WCW held Monday Nitro in 1998 and 1999. on August 19, 2014, WWE SmackDown came back to the US Airways Center for the first time in over 4 years.

U2 performed at the stadium April 28 and November 23, 2001 during their Elevation Tour, in front of a total crowd of 34,681 people.

Depeche Mode performed at the stadium three times: the first one was on December 14, 1998 during their Singles Tour. The second one was on August 10, 2001 during their Exciter Tour. The third one was on August 23, 2009 during their Tour of the Universe, in front of a crowd of 7,635 people. The 2009 show was recorded for the group's live albums project Recording the Universe.

History[edit]

Construction of this arena began in 1990, as Suns owner Jerry Colangelo envisioned a need for a new playing facility to replace Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1992, the new arena was officially inaugurated with a 111–105 Suns win over the Los Angeles Clippers. After the Suns lost the NBA championship series that year, a parade that attracted more than 300,000 Suns fans made its way through downtown and finished at the new arena.

NHL years[edit]

When the Winnipeg Jets NHL franchise announced their intention to move to Phoenix to become the Coyotes for the 1996–97 season, the arena was quickly reconfigured for ice hockey. Unlike most multipurpose arenas, America West Arena's sidelines were not designed with an ice hockey rink in mind. While its tight seating configuration suits basketball very well, it made it difficult to fit a standard NHL rink onto the floor. The lower level had to be sheared in half to fit the rink and create retractable seating.

As it turned out, the result was completely inadequate for the Coyotes. Three entire sections at one end of the ice hung over the boards, making about a quarter of the ice surface, including one net, impossible to see from these sections.[12] The problem was so serious that before the team's first season in Phoenix, the team had to curtain off some seats in the areas where the view was particularly obstructed, cutting listed capacity from around 18,000 seats to 16,210.

The Coyotes added a second video board in an area where the view was particularly obstructed, and also put up numerous proposals to improve sight lines in order to boost capacity back over the 17,000 mark. They also had to sell many obstructed-view tickets at a reduced price. In addition, an unfavorable lease caused further financial troubles that hobbled the team for much of the time the Coyotes played at US Airways Center. The Coyotes moved into an arena of their own, Gila River Arena located in suburban Glendale for the 2003–04 NHL season.

Naming rights[edit]

The arena was known from its opening until 2006 as America West Arena with the naming rights sold to Tempe, Arizona based America West Airlines.

The previous year had America West purchase rival carrier US Airways and assumed its name with the naming rights agreement carried with it. The venue adopted the US Airways name in 2006 after a rebranding and was the second arena the company owned the naming rights for after Washington, D.C.'s Capital Centre (known as US Airways Arena from 1996 until 1997 after the company, which had been known as USAir prior to that, rebranded).

The new naming rights sponsor was announced at a 2:00 PM Mountain Time press conference outside Casino Arizona Pavilion on December 2, 2014. The downtown Phoenix venue was re-named as Talking Stick Resort Arena.[13][14] The name was established after the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Talking Stick Resort.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Condor, Bob (June 9, 1993). "Suns' Year-old Arena Colangelo's Pride And Joy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ Ballparks.com - US Airways Center
  4. ^ Joseph Denardis - Experience
  5. ^ Severud Associates - Projects
  6. ^ Flack + Kurtz Sports Experience
  7. ^ Perini Building Company - Sports Projects
  8. ^ Schwartz, David (May 26, 2003). "Suns Hopes Rise With ‘Reinvented’ NBA Arena". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ (October 27, 2003) Facelift At Arena Keeps It In Vogue
  10. ^ "Verve Energy Lounge, a chic Suns experience". Retrieved Aug 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Phoenix selected as host for 2009 NBA All-Star game". Yahoo! Sports. November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007. 
  12. ^ Ballparks.com - Phoenix Coyotes (Past)
  13. ^ "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena" (Press release). US Airways Center. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena". Phoenix Suns. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Home of the
Phoenix Suns

1992–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Arizona Rattlers

1992 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Phoenix Mercury

1997 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Phoenix RoadRunners

2005–2009
Succeeded by
folded
Preceded by
Winnipeg Arena
Home of the
Phoenix Coyotes

1996–2003
Succeeded by
Glendale Arena
Preceded by
Target Center
New Orleans Arena
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

1995
2009
Succeeded by
Alamodome
Cowboys Stadium
Preceded by
Verizon Center
Host of
WWE Cyber Sunday

2008
Succeeded by
final