(from Sports Business Journal, September 17, 2012) While the Phoenix Suns players and their fans have been preparing for the start of another much anticipated NBA season this upcoming winter, their city and their organization have been busy renovating the place that they call home. The US Airways Center has been the home court for the Phoenix Suns basketball team since it opened its doors in 1992, and has also served as the home for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
The US Airways Center renovation project is estimated to cost around $10 million and the expenses will be split between the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Suns franchise. Jeff Dewitt, the Phoenix Suns’ Financial Director, says that the city will pay $7 million and the Phoenix Suns will pay the remaining $3 million. The $3 million that is being chipped in by the Suns will go towards converting some of the luxury boxes into smaller theater boxes, which according to the Suns’ Vice President Tanya Wheeless, “have been well received by the market as businesses look for a high-end, all-inclusive option to entertain business associates.” While the Suns’ money goes towards the theater boxes, the city of Phoenix’s $7 million contribution will be going towards repairing all the wear and tear that has accumulated over the 20 years that the US Airways Center has been opened. These wear and tear repairs include upgrading all the wiring and boilers to ensure that the arena continues to function properly.
With all of these new renovations, there has been some speculation that the city of Phoenix may be performing these renovations in an attempt to lure the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team back to the US Airways Center, since the Coyotes have been playing their home games the last three years in nearby Glendale, Arizona. Neither the Suns’ or Coyotes’ representatives have confirmed or denied these speculations. These renovations to the US Airways Center will revamp the arena so that it will better accommodate the people of business, and will also make the arena a more fan-friendly environment. The revamping of the US Airways Center is scheduled to be done before the start of the Phoenix Suns’ season, which begins October 31st.