Phoenix mayor says city needs “cutting-edge” arena for “concerts, Harlem Globetrotters”

Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton says replacing the Phoenix Suns‘ 25-year-old arena is a priority for his city, because, um, because:

“I know when people think about arenas, they always think about, ‘Well, that’s for the professional sports teams.’ Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix is used almost 200 nights per year.  The vast majority time it’s not for a sporting event — it’s for concerts, it’s for the Harlem Globetrotters when they come to town, it would be for the circus, it would be for ice skating and the skating events…

“You need a cutting-edge, competitive building to host all of sorts of events, including sporting events.”

(By the way, if you want to see just how badly another reporter can misquote a radio interview, compare my transcription above to the terrible one on KTAR News’ site.)

And a new arena would be more “competitive” because what now? Yes, the Suns arena isn’t sized right for hockey (“We won’t make that mistake twice for an arena in downtown Phoenix,” said Stanton), but what could possibly be $500 million in likely construction costs better about a new arena than a not-quite-new one? Especially if the old one is already in use 200 nights a year, so clearly concerts aren’t steering clear of it?

“I’m not just the mayor of the city of Phoenix, I’m a leader in this community. It’s important we don’t lose our major assets to Las Vegas or Canadian cities that would happily snap up the Coyotes or any of our major assets.”


Stanton did promise “a very intense discussion” and that any arena plan would go before the voters, so clearly he knows this is going to be a long battle, even if he didn’t actually breathe the word “dollars” during his interview. But this is how it begins, not with a bang, but with a torrent of radio word salad.

16 comments on “Phoenix mayor says city needs “cutting-edge” arena for “concerts, Harlem Globetrotters”

  1. I saw the Harlem Globetrotters in my High School Gym in 1972. It was great! I don’t remember thinking at the time that the experience would be significantly better if I were in a “cutting edge” stadium. I had a perfectly fun time on the wood bleachers with 600-800 other spectators. And the Globetrotters won!! They beat their long time rivals the Washington Generals.

  2. I saw the Harlem Globetrotters at Madison Square Garden around 1978 (Curly Neal had retired but Meadowlark Lemon was still there), and don’t remember thinking at the time that it was “not a sporting event,” but I guess that’s one way of looking at it.

  3. If the Suns wanted a new arena, they would have very little leverage. All the existing arenas without basketball teams are in smaller, or crowded markets. But since Phoenix seems to have a large arena on every block, they could just play all the local arenas against each other.

  4. Oooh, maybe they can get Mana too.

  5. Mark, they could leverage relocating to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but we know that’s not their intention. The NBA doesn’t want to lose Phoenix either. It’s Mark Davis-esque: Demand something new while limiting your options.

  6. I’m generally a fan of Mayor Stanton. Of course, nobody who has observed downtown Phoenix for the past few years can say that this request is coming out of thin air. Given the Suns’ atrocious play in the past few years, I wouldn’t mind them going to Halifax. And they can take the woefully misnamed Arizona Coyotes (né Winnipeg Jets né Phoenix Coyotes) with them.

    Can you send an autographed copy of Field of Schemes to Mayor Stanton’s office, Neil? I can get you the address if you’d like.


  7. He’s right. I have it on good authority that Canadians are planning to dig up the Grand Canyon and move it to Moose Jaw at this very moment. Once they find something to put it in to transport it, nothing, nothing I tell you, will stop tem.

    And if they’ll do that, what, you think they won’t touch downtown Phoenix or Mount Rushmore?

    Look out America… the economic “terrrrists” are closer than you think…

  8. Mayor Stanton is no dummy, but anyone who refers to the Coyotes as an “asset” has to be drunk or woefully uninformed about their history. I think hizzoner must have had a few cocktails before making that statement.

  9. And I will pitch in, along with Edward Jensen, for the mayor’s autographed copy of Field of Schemes. Just lemme know where to send the $dough.

  10. I’m contractually not allowed to sell copies any way other than through the University of Nebraska Press store, so … send me an email and we’ll figure something out.

  11. Just a question, if a concert skips the Phoenix area where would it go that’s within driving distance that has a suitable venue. Like in Cleveland they say we have to keep ticket taxes down and the arena up-to date because a concert isn’t going to do shows in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Cleveland. It may pick 2 out of the 4, and if you live in one of those 4 cities and you’re a fan of Band X, its only a couple of hours to drive to one of the others. But where would you go outside the Phoenix area?

  12. The Harlem Globetrotters. Aren’t they that group of high paid fellas who play a version of basketball where there’s clowning, little rules enforcement, no defense, and the basic purpose is to entertain fawning fans? Oh, wait, that’s the NBA all-star game.

  13. From another of your posts “… rebirth or revitalization or renaissance..”. All these have been used to boost and describe the dead horse that is downtown Phoenix and its redevelopment (4th attempt in my memory) since the city let Clint Eastwood get shoot up in The Gauntlet and the bums where chased out of Phoenix’s skid row (the Deuce). The ghost of the Deuce still continues to haunt and thwart downtown development schemes, err um I mean responsible ideas.

  14. Halifax deserves an NHL team but the problem is the city is all old-farts who can’t shovel the snow and slush out of all the east coast storms that hit that part of the Canada constantly in the winter.