Phoenix Suns (NBA) owner Robert Sarver say his franchise will pursue a Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation and not a new arena, which would preclude any notion of a facility to be shared with the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
That the Suns were leaning more toward a Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation than a new facility has not been a secret in Phoenix sports circles. Despite the facility’s age — opening in 1992 — the arena’s downtown location is a desired one, and the feeling among local sports pros is that some sort of renovation would be the most cost-effective approach. That would probably include some additional social spaces within the bowl and an expansion of the outer concourse to include more group areas and high-end amenities.
But pursing a Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation means that the team won’t pursue a new arena that could be shared with the Coyotes, who are facing their own arena issues. Talking Stick Resort Arena was built for basketball, which was abundantly clear when the arena initially hosted the Coyotes and later hosted minor-league hockey. The sightlines were just not very good, and one end of the arena was awkwardly configured to accommodate a full ice sheet. Hence the desire for a Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation, per the Arizona Republic:
Sarver said building a new arena would have “maybe made more sense” four or five years ago when the cost estimate was $450 million to $500 million. The costs now, Sarver said, are “significantly higher.” Thus his focus on upgrading Talking Stick, which soon will be the second-oldest arena in the NBA.
“I think it’s the most economically viable alternative for the city and us,” he said. “I like downtown Phoenix. That’s my first preference. I think the NBA is more of an urban game. That’s our demographic.”
Sarver added that he’d like to say in downtown Phoenix but that, “if we can’t, we’ll explore other options.”
During the news conference Sarver said the Suns “have no choice” but to either modernize Talking Stick Resort Arena or build a new arena.
Phoenix and Maricopa County are facing some facilities issues. The Arizona Diamondbacks are unhappy with their present situation at Chase Field, and a group currently running a USL pro soccer team is seeking a new MLS stadium.
Image courtesy Visit Phoenix.
RELATED STORIES: Suns, Arizona Coyotes Working on Arena Plans