Is Robert Sarver looking at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale as the next home for the Suns? Sarver has been on record saying that the current downtown Phoenix arena footprint is too small in terms of square footage and would be a poor investment to re-model. A well-connected source told me this past week that they have seen plans for a basketball facility on Talking Stick soil.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Suns announced last December that US Airways Center, the home of the Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers, as well as one of the Valley’s premier concert venues would take on the name Talking Stick Resort Arena. The naming rights deal is a multi-year agreement. Is there more coming on this relationship?
Talking Stick Resort is off the 101 and Indian Bend, east of the Diamondbacks spring training facility.
If this move were to happen, could a domino effect take place? Would Arizona State consider the downtown arena as a possible destination for its hockey program? When I presented this scenario to Arizona State AD Ray Anderson on a recent show, he admitted that with the downtown ASU campus, he would consider all options. ASU hockey is not going to be some small time deal, they have BIG money backing that program and want to make a splash.
Would the struggling Arizona Coyotes try to find a way to play some of their weeknight games against non-marquee opponents in downtown Phoenix in partnership with ASU on the building? The big draws like Chicago and Detroit would still be played in Glendale on weekends. Sounds far-fetched on the surface, but others have told me to be more open-minded on the possibility.
Since Sarver has already stated that the Suns current location doesn’t make sense for a remodel, would he consider partnering with other franchises looking to build an arena? United SC Owner Kyle Eng has a deadline to get a facility built-in order to continue his pursuit of a Major League Soccer franchise. Phoenix is the only market in the top 11 in the country without a MLS team and the league is watching Eng very carefully. Sarver pursued owning a Scottish soccer franchise in 2014.
The bottom line on all of this is…well…the bottom line. Sarver is not going to cut a bad deal just to keep the team in Phoenix. With the globalization of the NBA and cities like Seattle sitting out there, it’s important for our leaders to pay attention to Sarver saying he wants a new facility and to look at all options. I am sure he is doing the same…