Talking Stick Resort Arena
North Entrance of venue (c.2015)
|Former names||America West Arena|
US Airways Center
|Address||201 East Jefferson Street|
|Public transit||Convention Center|
|Owner||City of Phoenix|
|Operator||Phoenix Arena Development, L.P.|
|Broke ground||August 1, 1990|
|Opened||June 6, 1992|
|Construction cost||$89 million|
($162 million in 2019 dollars
$67 million (renovations)
($82.3 million in 2019 dollars
|Project manager||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
|Structural engineer||Horst Berger/Severud|
|Services engineer||Flack + Kurtz|
|General contractor||Perini Building Company|
|Phoenix Suns (NBA) (1992–present)|
Arizona Rattlers (AFL/IFL) (1992–2019)
Arizona Sandsharks (CISL) (1993–1997)
Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) (1996–2003)
Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) (1997–2019)
Phoenix RoadRunners (ECHL) (2005–2009)
It is the permanent home arena for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Additionally, the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Phoenix Coyotes (now the Arizona Coyotes) played their first 7+ seasons at the arena following their arrival in Phoenix on July 1, 1996. The Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL played there from their 2005-2006 inaugural season until they ceased operations at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season.
Located near Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the arena is 1 million square feet (93,000 m2) in size on an 11-acre (4.5 ha) site. These two major league sports venues are half of those used by Phoenix area professional teams, the other two being State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena in the neighboring Phoenix suburb of Glendale.
Since its opening, Talking Stick Resort Arena is currently undergoing its second significant renovation. The Phoenix City Council approved the plan on January 23, 2019 involving the arena, with the Phoenix Suns paying up to $80 million alongside any overrun costs.. The first renovation in the venue's history was completed in March 2003 that had an 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) air conditioned glass-enclosed atrium built on the northwest side of the arena. That $67 million project was constructed to keep patrons cool while waiting in line for tickets or spending time inside the building before events. The arena upgrades have been done as part of the Phoenix Suns' plan to keep it economically competitive after Gila River Arena opened. 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.
As a result of the current renovations, the Phoenix Mercury and the Indoor Football League's Arizona Rattlers have been temporarily displaced to other local venues for the next 1 to 2 years. The Mercury plan to play their 2020 WNBA season home games at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Rattlers expect to host their 2021 IFL home games at Gila River Arena.
Sports teams and events
Basketball, arena football, concerts, ice shows and other events such as wrestling are held in the arena.
The Coyotes hosted their first regular season home game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 10, 1996 with a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. They finished the 1996–97 season with a 38-37-7 record to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. That playoff appearance was short lived with a Game 7 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Just over 7 years later, the team played their last home game within Phoenix city limits with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 23, 2003.
Its most common nickname is "The Purple Palace", though during the Rattlers' season it is known as "The Snake Pit".
Talking Stick Resort Arena has seen its share of basketball moments. Less than a year after its opening, it hosted 3 games of the 1993 NBA Finals between the Suns and the Chicago Bulls. The Mercury hosted WNBA Finals games in 1998, 2007 and 2009. The 1995 NBA All-Star Game, 2000 WNBA All-Star Game and 2009 NBA All-Star Game. were played at the arena.
The Rattlers have hosted 4 ArenaBowl games in their franchise history, with 3 of them at Talking Stick Resort Arena. They won ArenaBowl XI with a 55-33 win over the Iowa Barnstormers on August 25, 1997. But they lost in their only championship game appearance at Gila River Arena, a 56-42 ArenaBowl XXIX loss to the Philadelphia Soul on August 26, 2016.
Among the notable boxing events held in Phoenix, they include Oscar De La Hoya's early bouts, Michael Carbajal's WBO world Junior Flyweight title against Josue Camacho in 1994 and Julio César Chávez ended his career with a fight at the arena.
In bull riding, the Professional Bull Riders hosted a Built Ford Tough Series (formerly the Bud Light Cup) at the arena between 1999 to 2002. The annual event moved to Giendale in 2004 before it returned to downtown Phoenix in March 2014.
Legendary singer Frank Sinatra gave one of his last concerts on December 10, 1993 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Depeche Mode performed during 3 separate tours at the arena. They were on December 14, 1998 (Singles Tour), August 10, 2001 (Exciter Tour) and August 23, 2009 (Tour of the Universe). Their 2009 show had 7,635 people in attendance and was recorded for the band's live albums project Recording the Universe.
Construction began on August 1, 1990 as former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo envisioned a need for a new arena to be built in Phoenix to replace Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. About 27 months later, Talking Stick Resort Arena was officially inaugurated with the Suns' 1992-1993 season opening 111–105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on November 7, 1992. Simultaneously, it also was Charles Barkley's first regular season game as a Sun. Despite the fact that the Suns had lost the 1993 NBA Finals to the Chicago Bulls, a parade was still held and attracted more than 300,000 Suns fans. It made its way through downtown Phoenix and finished at the new arena.
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When the original Winnipeg Jets publicly announced their intention to relocate to Phoenix for the 1996–97 NHL season, Talking Stick Resort Arena was quickly reconfigured to accommodate ice hockey. Unlike most multipurpose arenas, it was not designed with an ice hockey rink in mind. Its tight seating configuration suits basketball very well, but 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. Fans sitting in those sections could not see ¼ of the ice (including one of the nets) except on the video boards. The problem was so serious that after 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 for an area where the view was particularly obstructed. They also put up numerous proposals to improve sight lines and boost the seating capacity back over the 17,000 mark. They also had to sell many obstructed-view tickets at a reduced price. Additionally, an unfavorable lease caused further financial troubles that impacted the team for much of the time they played at the arena. These were factors in driving them into bankruptcy in 2009. The Coyotes moved into Gila River Arena nearly midway through the 2003–04 NHL season.
The previous year, America West purchased rival carrier US Airways. Although America West was the surviving airline, it took the US Airways name as did the venue. This was the second arena that the company owned the naming rights after the now-demolished US Airways Arena (formerly Capital Centre) in Landover, Maryland.
The name change to Talking Stick Resort Arena was completed in September 2015, in time for the start of the 2015–16 Phoenix Suns season.
- "2014–15 Phoenix Suns Media Guide" (PDF). Phoenix Suns. p. 344. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
- Condor, Bob (June 9, 1993). "Suns' Year-old Arena Colangelo's Pride And Joy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- Ballparks.com - US Airways Center
- Joseph Denardis - Experience
- Severud Associates - Projects
- Flack + Kurtz Sports Experience Archived February 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Perini Building Company - Sports Projects". Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- Wiles, Russ (December 2, 2014). "US Airways Center's new name: Talking Stick Resort Arena". The Arizona Republic. Gannett Company. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Schwartz, David (May 26, 2003). "Suns Hopes Rise With 'Reinvented' NBA Arena". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- (October 27, 2003) Facelift At Arena Keeps It In Vogue
- Baum, Bob (August 25, 2016). "Philadelphia Soul, Arizona Rattlers set for Arena Bowl showdown". The Morning Call. The Associated Press.
- "Phoenix selected as host for 2009 NBA All-Star game". Yahoo! Sports. November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
- "Suns 111, Clippers 105". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 8, 1992. p. 8E.
- Ballparks.com - Phoenix Coyotes (Past)
- "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena" (Press release). US Airways Center. December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena". Phoenix Suns. December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
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