Cover Story
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Representatives from SRPMIC, City of Phoenix and Phoenix Suns organization officially cut the ribbon to the newly named Talking Stick Resort Arena. Pictured (l-r): SRPMIC Council Member Jenelle Howard, SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier, City of Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher, City of Phoenix Councilman Jim Waring, SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr., Phoenix Suns and Mercury President Jason Rawley, Suns Gorilla and SRPMIC Council Member Tom Largo.
SRPMIC Honored in Official Unveiling of New Talking Stick Resort Arena
By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

On the evening of October 7, outside the Casino Arizona Pavilion, hundreds of Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members and employees gathered to watch the doors open to the newly renamed Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix. They were wearing purple Talking Stick Resort Arena T-shirts with the SRPMIC tribal seal printed on the back. During the ceremony, Phoenix Suns President Jason Rowley, SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr. and Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher all gave speeches.

“We are celebrating an exciting future with our longtime friends and partners, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Our relationship with Casino Arizona, Talking Stick Resort and the Community continues to be one of our most significant partnerships for our organization,” said Rowley. “This expansion of our relationship, as our home now bears the name Talking Stick Resort Arena, speaks volumes of the respect and appreciation for the SRPMIC, and we thank you for that.”

Rowley continued, “From now on … from the sign on the building to the business cards, [they] will now have the Talking Stick Resort Arena name on them.”

The Talking Stick Resort Arena name can be seen prominently displayed on the exterior of the building, at the main entrance, on the underside of the center-hung scoreboard, on the building’s rooftop, and on the Suns and Mercury basketball courts.

SRPMIC President Ray spoke about the significant event. “Today marks a historic milestone in our history. Today is a great day for the people of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Phoenix Suns, the Phoenix Mercury, the City of Phoenix, and our friends and neighbors in the surrounding cities,” Ray said, which earned loud applause.

“Talking Stick is an emblem of our traditional calendar stick, which is used to record significant events that happen for our Community and Community members,” shared Ray. “And the Talking Stick Resort Arena naming [adds] a notch to our calendar stick.”

He continued about how the Community would like the naming acquisition to be an extension of the SRPMIC’s branding efforts for the Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination. “As we continue to help with the growth of Arizona’s economy, we hope those same people will come and visit our attractions,” said Ray.

After the speeches, President Ray, Rowley and Zuercher participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and opened the doors of Talking Stick Resort Arena to the public. Community members and tribal employees were the first to walk through to get their game tickets scanned and to see firsthand where the name change appears throughout the venue.

Right before the start of the Phoenix Suns home opener, members of the SRPMIC Tribal Council were invited out to center court to participate in the game ball presentation.

An added highlight for the night was watching the Phoenix Suns win their preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings, 102-98.

The Talking Stick Cultural and Entertainment Destination, located at Loop 101 and Indian Bend Road, is home to Talking Stick Resort, Talking Stick Golf Club, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Pavilions at Talking Stick, Courtyard Marriott Scottsdale Salt River, Butterfly Wonderland, Topgolf Scottsdale, Octane Raceway and the future OdySea Aquarium.

In December 2014, representatives from the NBA Phoenix Suns, WNBA Phoenix Mercury and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announced that US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix would be renamed Talking Stick Resort Arena. The naming-rights contract is a multi-year deal, which enhances and expands an existing agreement between the Phoenix Suns organization, Downtown Phoenix and the SRPMIC.

Talking Stick Resort Arena will have more than 1 million visitors through the doors each year.

Casino Arizona is a major sponsor of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. The arena is home to both teams, as well as the Arizona Rattlers arena football team, and hosts other major events and concerts each year. A premier entertainment destination in the state, the facility opened in 1992; it was named America West Arena from 1992 to 2006 and US Airways Center from 2006 to 2015.

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