We have a new name for the home of the Phoenix Suns (NBA) and Phoenix Mercury (WNBA): Footprint Center, as the teams partner with Footprint, a material science company working to decrease dependencies on plastics.
The partnership will include naming rights and product integration, and it will amplify awareness and use of plant-based fiber alternatives to plastic and build toward a carbon-neutral, plastic-free arena. Over the next year, fans returning to the newly named Footprint Center for Suns and Mercury games or concerts and shows will begin to experience food served in Footprint’s biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable solutions as well as educational points about the positive impact of making a switch from single-use plastics in their everyday lives.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Footprint to reduce the arena’s dependency on single and short-term use plastics by making Footprint Center a hub for sustainable products and packaging,” said Suns and Mercury Managing Partner Robert Sarver via press release. “It was important to us to find a partner that could truly make a positive impact in our community and on the planet, and Footprint is a global leader that is also Arizona-based and therefore shares our commitment to the Valley. Integrating Footprint’s plant-based fiber technology into our core business functions will mobilize partners and fans to drive collective and systemic change, in our arena and beyond.”
As part of the partnership, Footprint will bring its food and beverage solutions and a team of experts to help Footprint Center become carbon-neutral and single-use plastic-free while creating a living innovation lab for food and beverage suppliers to learn more about consumer sentiment and how they can transition away from plastic. Together, they will forge solutions that can be scaled outside Footprint Center and across the industry, helping companies concerned with ESG to integrate plant-based fiber solutions that are designed to be recycled and composted into their core product lines. The first change fans will see will be plates, packaging, utensils, coolers, and other single-use plastic items that can be replaced with Footprint’s innovative plant-based technologies. Footprint Center will also feature recycling and compost containers, not trash cans, which will be serviced to make sure the recycling loop is complete.
“We have a unique opportunity with the Suns, Mercury and Real Mallorca to transform sports and entertainment experiences where fans can enjoy their food and drinks in sustainable packaging and learn more about how they can make changes in their daily lives to get rid of single-use plastics,” Footprint CEO Troy Swope said via press release. “Together we’ll create a living innovation lab of new ideas for consumer feedback, new opportunities for our customers, and we can educate fans in a way that will create a ripple effect outside the arena. Today is just the beginning.”
We believe our partnership with Footprint will put Phoenix on the map for a more sustainable future,” said Suns and Mercury chief revenue officer Dan Costello. “Taking this step will position the Valley at the forefront of the sustainability movement. A local effort to eliminate plastic and become carbon-neutral will set a standard for innovation that can spread through the city and scale throughout the sports and entertainment industry. Sustainable business is good business for our teams, the community and the environment.”
Interestingly, this is not the first naming-rights deal designed to be more than just a marketing exercise: Climate Pledge Arena, opening this fall as home of the Seattle Kraken (NHL) and Seattle Storm (WNBA). The naming-rights deal stems from a 2019 initiative from Amazon and Global Optimism: The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040—a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. With investment from Amazon and Oak View Group, the venue is expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world and set a new sustainability bar for the sports and events industry.
Rendering courtesy Phoenix Suns / Phoenix Mercury.
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