Suns owner may demand new arena, because all the other kids have one

Every once in a while one of my readers, out of concern that some day I might get my life back, wonders whether this site will soon run out of business once every sports team owner has a new stadium. To which I say: Don’t worry, my friends, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has my back.

One scenario being talked about — at least in real estate and downtown Phoenix circles — is a new arena being built where the current South Building of the Phoenix Convention Center is on Jefferson and Third streets. That is the oldest convention center building and is a block away from the Suns’ current arena.

US Airways Center — which is being renamed Talking Stick Resort Arena — opened in 1992.

It will soon be the fifth oldest NBA arena after new homes are built for the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings.

Sarver actually dropped some hints about this last fall, but it sounds like things have now moved from the “whining about it” stage to the “talking to local business and political leaders about money” stage, so it’s likely things are going to heat up soon.

Note that there’s no talk here of the Suns’ current arena being obsolete or anything — just it’s older than all the other ones, can’t we have a new one too? That’s one of the great things about the stadium and arena game: No matter how many new buildings get built, there’s always another owner waiting to circle around and get back in line. If this latest is any indication, expect the next demands to come from the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Pistons, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks. Check back in a year or so to see how this prognostication turned out.

24 comments on “Suns owner may demand new arena, because all the other kids have one

  1. I know what you say is true, but if the Sharks demand a new arena before it is the oldest arena by 10 years, I’ll lead the pitchfork charge to city hall. The arena looks as new as the day it was built and is amazingly functional.

    Ok. so the seat cushions could stand to be replaced, but that’s about it.

  2. I’m as big a fan of visiting NBA and NHL arenas as anyone but this is a joke. 18,000 seats, 2 concourses and around 90 luxury suites is about as good as it gets for a market like Phoenix, especially considering that you have a suburban rival arena with all the aforementioned amenities.

    Best bet is that this is another real estate grab. Sarver will foot most if not all the entire bill if he is given land for free. I’m guessing they’ll tear down the current arena as soon as the new one is done and give him the land that the current one sits on for development purposes.

  3. @ JC – When the Mission Bay Toilet Bowl opens, do not be surprised if the Sharks drop some sort of “new arena or we’ll bail to SF” type of threat.

    The SAP Center does have some issues, but nothing that can’t be fixed with money and time. To be sure, it has held up better than some of its progeny (Honda, Bradley, CanadianTire Centre), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some work. The only issue is…who pays for it.

  4. I also love the Sharks arena (though I’m a Kings fan) and it deserves status as hockey’s Wrigley Field.

    The Dogs’ arena in Glendale is part of the problem. Compared to Glendale, the Suns’ building has too many seats, too many boxes, no view of the bowl from the concourse and no Club sections on the sidelines. And that’s not even factoring in things that modern NBA building have like all-you-can-eat Clubs and opera boxes.

    I suppose it’s possible that the current Suns arena could be renovated to fix these problems, but something needs to happen. And it’s not like Phoenix is a big NBA market anymore (the NFL has taken over), so a move to Seattle or Las Vegas is more than just an idle threat.

  5. Just insanity. US Airways, Honda Center, HP Pavilion, are all still top notch venues in very good condition. Anyone who thinks they need to be replaced needs to have their head examined.

  6. @SierraSpartan
    The Sharks are never going to be in the Mission Bay arena. It is being built specifically for basketball and will not be conducive to an NHL team in terms of size and design. Plus, the Sharks would rather have their own facility anyway. I know Mark Purdy (of the San Jose Mercury) has theorized that the team will seek a new arena near Levi’s stadium eventually, but I don’t even see that happening. They’ve got their own facility, in excellent condition, in a downtown core with immediate access to an expanding transit hub. There’s really nowhere for them to go, nor should there be.

  7. Several columnist and sports talk radio hosts have rumored that the threat to leave SJ will not be to SF but to Santa Clara. Rumor has it there are talks to build an area next to Levi’s. Several office buildings around the stadium leases are coming to an end and developers are trying to buy up the property for entertainment related endeavors.

  8. Ha Anonymous beat me to the punch. ;)

    What is interesting is that Greg Papa said that Purdy got that rumor from Drew Remenda. So either Remenda is trying to stir things up after he got fired by the sharks or this “concept” of moving or at least threatening to move to santa clara has been discussed internally by the sharks.

    Either way wont make much sense they have a perfectly good arena downtown sj, but logic is not used in these decision.

  9. At some point the Suns will stop repairing the arena so that a buck will get loose and they can declare it unsafe. Getting a urinal to flood is a good gambit as well.

    I figure the Denver Broncos are about 10 years away from starting this process. After all a domed stadium could host the Super Bowl and contribute 50 billion to the local economy.

  10. I do like the “it is too big, something has to be done” argument. Presumably the arena was built to the standards of the time. Cities that made better lease agreements, as in St. Petersburg, FL, would temper enthusiasm for fashion.

  11. “It really needs a major upgrade from the point of view of it’s 26 years old and it probably needs any type of amount from $200 million to $400 million to fix it up,” Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston told Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Wednesday.

    Blue Jays are getting close to asking for a new stadium.

    Tortora again played down that likelihood, saying “our focus has been to figure out a long-term solution to stay in San Jose.” While the team does not see the need for a new arena, he added, it is important to work cooperatively with the city “to figure out a way to maintain and fund the necessary capital repairs that a 21-year-old facility needs.”

    San Jose doesn’t need a new arena yet, but give them 5-10 years and they will.

    Detroit is building a new arena so the Pistons can move there when The Palace is no longer good enough for them.

    Jacksonville and Anaheim both had some major upgrades done to their stadium/arena so they should last at least another decade in their current cribs.

  12. Neil
    I always wondered about someday this site running out things to talk about but i wouldnt worry about it. On another note all these owners want new Arena’s but there is becoming market saturation. I’m a Sales manager here in NJ and was recently approached by a salesman from Prudential Center about a Luxury box because they are starving for business. His sales pitch is that he can give me one Box for 5 events for the same price as one MSG BOX for one event. 3 arena’s in our market here is becoming a problem cities need to wake up.

  13. “but something needs to happen”

    Dear God, won’t somebody please think of the concourses that don’t have club seating.

  14. Shawn: Arena glut is definitely a thing, yes. The problem is, everybody thinks when their arena is built that it’s going to be the one to drive everybody else out of business. The Prudential Center seemed to be sitting pretty when its only non-MSG competition was Izod; once Barclays opened, suddenly they were third-string.

    I keep going back to the Twin Cities, where they built the Target Center, tore down the Met Center because they couldn’t support two arenas, then right after that built whatever the thing is the Wild play in (Xcel, something like that?) because they didn’t want to share space with the Timberwolves. Barring some central planning authority that requires cities and developers to actually show a market for more of these things, it’s never going to end.

  15. The Twin Cities actually does have a regional government that would be the perfect thing to handle things like stadiums. Unfortunately the owners have been very good and keeping the stadiums under a separate authority that just plays the tune they fiddle and whose mandate is basically “let there be stadiums”.

  16. Neil,
    As always this webpage is appointment reading, so thank you for all the hard work.

    I’m sure the Blue Jays stadium comment was in jest. Do you think it’s a realistic possibility? I can’t see it being accepted in Toronto, if by public money.
    Blue Jays owned by Rogers, the richest telecom company in the country. Toronto mayor no longer the “crack smoking mayor of Toronto”. Toronto also struggling on upkeep of infrastructure. I think (re: hope, as I live here) the city would revolt at the idea of public funds financing a stadium for a company that shelled out 5.4 Billion for Canadian TV hockey rights for 12 years.

    Please I’m begging you confirm that was a joke.

  17. Michael: No joke — see the Paul Beeston quote that tomzak posted above, in fact. I’ll be surprised if they can get a lot of public money out of Toronto for either a new or renovated stadium, but I’ll also be surprised if they don’t ask for any at all.

  18. Oh, re the Sharks not moving to the City because the Toilet Bowl’s too “basketball oriented” Translation: all the seats behind one goal would be obstructed view for hockey a la (ironically enough) whatever they end up calling the Purple Palace these days. Retort: Oh hell, did that stop the Islanders? If the warriors and Sharks can cut a mutually satisfactory deal, then for as they’re concerned they can have wooden bleachers in the damn thing so long as there’s enough luxury boxes etc to go round

  19. I’m thinking of circling around and getting in line myself. But I’m also thinking maybe I should wait til my new palace is finished and we’ve actually played a game or two there first. I don’t wanna be perceived as greedy or gauche, ya know?