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Poll: Most Likely Voters Support Talking Stick Resort Arena Renovation Deal When Given Facts

When given facts behind the agreement, most likely voters support Phoenix’s proposed Talking Stick Resort Arena renovation deal, according to a new poll. 

The City of Phoenix and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns have proposed a renovation agreement for Talking Stick Resort Arena, the team’s downtown Phoenix home since 1992. Under the terms of the deal, the city would pay $150 million of that cost from its Sports Facilities Fund, with the Suns contributing the remaining $80 million and building a $25-to-$50-million practice facility within Phoenix’s city limits. The Phoenix City Council was supposed to have voted on the deal last month, but delayed its decision until January 23 after receiving criticism that the process was being rushed.

With that vote approaching, the Greater Phoenix Chamber has commissioned a poll that measures likely Phoenix voters’ reaction to the plan. It found 52% opposed compared to 23% in favor in reaction to incomplete information about the proposal, but when given specifics–including the city’s exact founding source, the arena’s economic impact, and more–49% of respondents favored the plan. More from KTAR News:

The poll found that when respondents were given basic information about the deal and how the cost would be divided — $150 million paid by the city and $80 million paid by the Suns — 23 percent supported the deal and 52 percent opposed it, while a quarter had no opinion.

When they were given information about the city’s funding mechanism, arena events, the arena’s economic impact and the use of the arena by youth groups, respondents who supported the deal increased to 49 percent and those opposed shrank to a quarter, while 26 percent had no opinion — a 53-point shift.

“For the chamber, we’re obviously very interested in the economic well-being of the downtown area as well as the greater Phoenix region, so we felt like it was really important to understand all the facts related to the arena, as it relates to the voters out there,” Todd Sanders, CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“I really hope (the poll) gives the Council an understanding of what their constituents are thinking. … When they have the facts, people really do understand that this is important and understand that there’s not a new tax involved and the impact of that arena is huge.”

Conducted by Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights between December 26-29, the poll surveyed 493 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 4.41%.

The current lease between the Suns and the city allows the team to opt out of the agreement in 2022 if the venue is deemed obsolete. If the proposed renovation deal moves forward, the team will commit to the arena until 2037, with an option to extend that stay until 2042. The renovation work would unfold between 2019 and 2021.

Image courtesy Visit Phoenix.

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