Talking Stick Resort Arena

Talking Stick Resort Arena
The Purple Palace, The Snake Pit, The Stick

North Entrance of Talking Stick Resort Arena in 2015
Former names America West Arena (1992–2006)
US Airways Center (20062015)
Address 201 East Jefferson Street
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°26′45″N 112°4′17″W / 33.44583°N 112.07139°W / 33.44583; -112.07139Coordinates: 33°26′45″N 112°4′17″W / 33.44583°N 112.07139°W / 33.44583; -112.07139
Public transit Convention Center
Owner City of Phoenix
Operator Phoenix Arena Development, L.P.
Capacity Basketball: 19,023 (1992–2003), 18,422 (2003–2014), 18,055 (2014–present)[1]
Ice hockey: 16,210
Arena football: 15,505
Broke ground August 1, 1990[2]
Opened June 6, 1992 (1992-06-06)[3]
Renovated 2003
Construction cost $90 million
($152 million in 2016 dollars[4]

2001–04 renovations: $67 million
($84.1 million in 2016 dollars
Architect Ellerbe Becket
Project manager Huber, Hunt & Nichols[5]
Structural engineer Horst Berger[6]/Severud[7]
Services engineer Flack + Kurtz[8]
General contractor Perini Building Company[9]
Phoenix Suns (NBA) (1992–present)
Arizona Rattlers (AFL/IFL) (1992–present)
Arizona Sandsharks (CISL) (1993–1997)
Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) (1996–2003)
Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) (1997present)
Phoenix RoadRunners (ECHL) (2005–2009)
then-America West Arena in April 2005
Aerial view of then-US Airways Center in 2007
then-US Airways Center interior in 2008
then-US Airways Center before a Phoenix Suns game in 2009
Logo as US Airways Center, 2006-2015
Entrance of then-US Airways Center in 2008

Talking Stick Resort Arena is a sports and entertainment arena in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, United States. It opened on June 6, 1992, at a construction cost of $89 million. It was known as America West Arena from 1992 to 2006 and as US Airways Center from 2006 to 2015.[10]

It is home to the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. The Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL played at the arena from their inaugural 2005–06 season until they ceased operations at the conclusion of the 2008–09 season.

Located near Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the arena is one million square feet (93,000 m2) in size on an 11-acre (4.5 ha) site. These two major league sports venues are half of those used by Phoenix area professional teams, the other two being University of Phoenix Stadium and Gila River Arena in the neighboring Phoenix suburb of Glendale.

Renovations were completed in March 2003, which feature a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) air conditioned glass-enclosed atrium built on the northwest side of the arena, to keep patrons cool while waiting in line for tickets or spending time inside the building before events. The total cost was estimated at around $67 million. The upgrading of the arena was done as part of the Phoenix Suns' plan to keep it economically competitive after Gila River Arena opened.[11] Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo originally thought of the renovations after visiting Staples Center in Los Angeles and envisioned a similar entertainment district in Phoenix.[12]

The arena also features the Verve Lounge, a high-class exclusive bar lounge.[13]

Sports teams and events

Basketball, arena football, concerts, professional wrestling, ice shows and other events are held in the arena.

The National Hockey League (NHL)'s Phoenix Coyotes played their first 7½ seasons at Talking Stick Resort Arena following their arrival from Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 1, 1996. The since renamed Arizona Coyotes moved 12.5 miles (20.1 km) northwest to Gila River Arena on December 27, 2003. The arena also hosted the Arizona Sandsharks of the defunct Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL).

Its most common nickname is "The Purple Palace", though during the Rattlers' season it is known as "the Snake Pit".

Capacity for basketball was originally 19,023, but was downsized after the 2002–03 season to 18,422 and further downsized to 18,055 before the 2014–15 season.

Three of the games of the 1993 NBA Finals between the Suns and the Chicago Bulls, including game six where John Paxson hit a last second 3-point shot to clinch the Bulls' Championship, were played there, as was one of the three 1998 WNBA Finals games and two ArenaBowl games, and some games of the 2007 and 2009 WNBA Finals. In 1997, the Rattlers won ArenaBowl XI at America West Arena. The 1995 NBA All-Star Game was played in the arena as well as the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game, and the arena hosted the 2009 NBA All-Star Game.[14]

In boxing, Oscar de la Hoya had a few of his early bouts at the arena, and Michael Carbajal also fought there, including winning the WBO world Junior Flyweight title from Josue Camacho in 1994, and Julio Cesar Chavez ended his career with a fight at the arena.

In bull riding, the PBR hosted a Built Ford Tough Series (at the time, called the Bud Light Cup) event at the arena each year between 1999 and 2002; in 2004 the event was moved to the Glendale Arena (later Arena and Gila River Arena). The PBR will be returning to the arena for the first time in March 2014.

On December 10, 1993, legendary singer Frank Sinatra did one of his last concerts at America West Arena.

WWE held the 2013 Royal Rumble event at the arena. The Talking Stick Resort Arena is also the standard venue when WWE visits Phoenix. The Venue was host of a Raw is War in 1998, a House Show in 1999, a Raw is War in 1999, a Raw is War in 2000, a SmackDown in 2000, a Raw is War in 2001, a SmackDown in 2002, SummerSlam 2003, Judgment Day 2006, a SmackDown in 2008, Cyber Sunday 2008, a Raw in 2010 one day after WrestleMania XXVI Shawn Michaels' farewell speech, a SmackDown in 2011, a Raw in 2012, and on February 15, 2014, WWE Live's Road to WrestleMania XXX. WCW held Monday Nitro in 1998 and 1999. on August 19, 2014, WWE SmackDown came back to the US Airways Center for the first time in over 4 years. on March 21, 2015 WWE Live's Road to WrestleMania 31. On October 27, 2015, WWE SmackDown returned to the new Talking Stick Resort Arena. On June 20, 2016, Monday Night RAW returned to The Purple Palace first time since 2013 and it was the fallout episode of Money In The Bank. On October 15, 2016, the arena hosted a live event. On November 29, 2016, the arena announced on Facebook and Twitter that it will play host to WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in 2017, with the date still to be announced.

U2 performed at the stadium on April 28 and November 23, 2001 during their Elevation Tour, in front of a total sold out crowd of 34,681 people. The band performed at the stadium for other two shows on May 22 and 23, 2015 as part of their upcoming Innocence + Experience Tour.

Depeche Mode performed at the stadium three times: the first one was on December 14, 1998 during their Singles Tour. The second one was on August 10, 2001 during their Exciter Tour. The third one was on August 23, 2009 during their Tour of the Universe, in front of a crowd of 7,635 people. The 2009 show was recorded for the group's live albums project Recording the Universe.


Construction of this arena began in 1990, as Suns owner Jerry Colangelo envisioned a need for a new playing facility to replace Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 1992, the new arena was officially inaugurated with a 111–105 Suns win over the Los Angeles Clippers. After the Suns lost the NBA Finals that year, a parade that attracted more than 300,000 Suns fans made its way through downtown and finished at the new arena.

NHL years

When the Winnipeg Jets NHL franchise announced their intention to move to Phoenix to become the Coyotes for the 1996–97 season, the arena was quickly reconfigured for ice hockey. Unlike most multipurpose arenas, it was not designed with an ice hockey rink in mind. While its tight seating configuration suits basketball very well, it made it difficult to fit a standard NHL rink onto the floor. The lower level had to be sheared in half to fit the rink and create retractable seating.

As it turned out, the result was completely inadequate for the Coyotes. Three entire sections at one end of the ice hung over the boards. Fans sitting in those sections could not see ¼ of the ice (including one of the nets) except on the video boards.[15] The problem was so serious that after the team's first season in Phoenix, the team had to curtain off some seats in the areas where the view was particularly obstructed, cutting listed capacity from around 18,000 seats to 16,210.

The Coyotes added a second video board in an area where the view was particularly obstructed, and also put up numerous proposals to improve sight lines in order to boost capacity back over the 17,000 mark. They also had to sell many obstructed-view tickets at a reduced price. In addition, an unfavorable lease caused further financial troubles that hobbled the team for much of the time the Coyotes played at the arena, and were a factor in driving the team into bankruptcy in 2009. The Coyotes moved into an arena of their own, Glendale Arena (later Arena and now Gila River Arena), located in suburban Glendale, for the 2003–04 NHL season.

Naming rights

The arena was known from its opening until 2006 as America West Arena with the naming rights sold to Tempe, Arizona based America West Airlines.

The previous year had America West purchase rival carrier US Airways and assume its name with the naming rights agreement carried with it. The venue adopted the US Airways name in 2006 after a rebranding and was the second arena the company owned the naming rights for after Washington, D.C.'s Capital Centre (known as US Airways Arena from 1996 until 1997 after the company, which had been known as USAir prior to that, rebranded).

The new naming rights sponsor was announced at a 2:00 PM Mountain Time press conference outside Casino Arizona Pavilion on December 2, 2014. The downtown Phoenix venue was renamed as Talking Stick Resort Arena.[16][17] The name was established after the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Talking Stick Resort. The name change was completed before the 2015–16 Phoenix Suns season, with the name going into effect after the end of the 2015 Phoenix Mercury season in September 2015.

See also


  1. "2014–15 Phoenix Suns Media Guide" (PDF). Phoenix Suns. p. 344. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  2. Condor, Bob (June 9, 1993). "Suns' Year-old Arena Colangelo's Pride And Joy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  4. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  5. - US Airways Center
  6. Joseph Denardis - Experience
  7. Severud Associates - Projects
  8. Flack + Kurtz Sports Experience Archived February 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Perini Building Company - Sports Projects
  10. Wiles, Russ (December 2, 2014). "US Airways Center's new name: Talking Stick Resort Arena". The Arizona Republic. Gannett Company. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  11. Schwartz, David (May 26, 2003). "Suns Hopes Rise With 'Reinvented' NBA Arena". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  12. (October 27, 2003) Facelift At Arena Keeps It In Vogue
  13. "Verve Energy Lounge, a chic Suns experience". Retrieved Aug 12, 2013.
  14. "Phoenix selected as host for 2009 NBA All-Star game". Yahoo! Sports. November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 7, 2007.
  15. - Phoenix Coyotes (Past)
  16. "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena" (Press release). US Airways Center. December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  17. "Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announce Talking Stick Resort Arena". Phoenix Suns. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to US Airways Center.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Home of the
Phoenix Suns

Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Arizona Rattlers

1992 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Phoenix Mercury

1997 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Phoenix RoadRunners

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Winnipeg Arena
Home of the
Phoenix Coyotes

Succeeded by
Glendale Arena
Preceded by
Target Center
New Orleans Arena
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Cowboys Stadium
Preceded by
Verizon Center
Host of
WWE Cyber Sunday

Succeeded by
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