On December 2, representatives from the NBA Phoenix Suns, WNBA Phoenix Mercury and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announced that US Airways Arena in downtown Phoenix will be renamed Talking Stick Resort Arena. The announcement took place at a press conference held outside the Casino Arizona Pavilion, the lobby, box office and pre-event gathering space for the arena.
“Today we are proud to announce the continued expanding partnership with the Community and our organization,” said Jason Rowley, president of the Phoenix Suns. The naming rights for the arena were sold to the SRPMIC as part of a multi-year agreement between the Community and the team. This agreement will extend the Talking Stick brand beyond the traditional borders of the Community, allowing it to reach new markets.
“It is my heartfelt honor today, on behalf of my Community, to announce the name of the arena as the Talking Stick Resort Arena,” announced SRPMIC President Diane Enos.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed everyone to downtown Phoenix for the announcement and said it was an exciting day for the city. “With this partnership with the City of Phoenix and the SRPMIC, we will be able to give back so much more, not only to the city, but to the state of Arizona as well,” said Stanton. “Thank you, and we look forward to the day when a Suns championship banner hangs from the rafters at Talking Stick Resort Arena.”
Casino Arizona is a major sponsor of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. “The partnership with the Phoenix Suns has been mutually enjoyable and beneficial,” said Enos. “And moving forward this is just another extension to our relationship.” The Casino Arizona Pavilion will retain its name, stemming from a deal between the Suns and the SRPMIC in 2005.
Enos noted that, at one time back in the 1800s, the lands of the O’odham and Piipaash reached west into the City of Phoenix, including the area where the arena is located. “This applies to the common history we have together and the benefits that we hope for and will work for together,” said Enos about the continued partnership between the SRPMIC and the Phoenix Suns. “We have a shared commitment with the Phoenix Suns in building a sense of community in the Valley, and we are honored to help them provide a place for so many people to gather and celebrate.”
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 premiere destination in the state, the facility opened in 1992 as America West Arena. It was renamed US Airways Center in 2006, after America West Airlines purchased US Airways and changed its name. Since it opened, more than 22 million people have come through its doors.
The transition will take place over time, and by next season the name change will be seen throughout the facility. The Talking Stick Resort Arena name will be prominent on the exterior of the building, on top of the main entrance, on the underbelly of the center-hung scoreboard, on the building’s rooftop, and on the Suns and Mercury basketball courts.
“We want to promote our [Talking Stick] entertainment district and would like more people to visit the area, because there are many places and things to do families,” said Enos.
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 and Octane Raceway.