Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix is owned by the city and its residents and operated by the Phoenix Suns. It is a multipurpose building that opened in 1992. Since the late 1980s the city's share of capital expenses on the Arena has been funded through the city’s Sports Facilities Fund, designated by the City Council through an ordinance comprised primarily of tax revenue from tourists on rental cars and hotels. Since 1992, the Suns have paid over $300 million in operating expenses. In nearly three decades, the Arena has hosted more than 40 million guests. Annually, the Arena hosts about 130 ticketed events, including concerts, professional sports, family shows and conventions, and over 200 non-ticketed community events, including youth sports and non-proft organizations.
The building is home to three professional sports teams: The
Phoenix Suns, the
Phoenix Mercury and the
Arizona Rattlers. Major concerts and events have included Beyonce, U2, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Vicente Fernández, Shakira, Imagine Dragons, Drake, Lady Gaga, Disney on Ice®, World Wrestling Entertainment®, the Harlem Globetrotters® and Cirque Du Soleil®. The Arena has also hosted national conferences including the American Legion, Assemblies of God, Volleyball Festival National Championships and media day for the 2015 Super Bowl®.
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Let your voice be heard. We welcome your comments. Email
ArenaComments@Phoenix.gov. When you submit an email it falls under the city's policy which states that the email message is: (1) subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Law, (2) is not private or confidential and (3) is retained for 90 days. You may also call
602-262-7177 to leave a comment. You may access internet-enabled computers for free at any
Phoenix Public Library location.
While the city owns the building, the Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership (PADLP) oversees the day-to-day operation of the Arena. The PADLP is an affiliate of the Suns. The contract between the city (“landlord”) and the PADLP (“operator”) could expires as early as 2022. This contract has been in place since 1992 when the Arena was built under a partnership between the city and the Suns. The operating agreement has remained in place since 1992.
This contract includes a legal requirement that addresses building obsolescence. On July 1, 2019, the Suns can invoke this obsolescence clause. If they do, the city and the Suns must select arbitrators who will then conduct a hearing, take testimony and decide whether the building – after nearly 30 years – has become obsolete. The arbitrators must consider three factors in determining obsolescence: (1) the building’s physical deterioration; (2) its functional obsolescence; and (3) its revenue-generating capacity. The arbitrators will calculate the dollar amount necessary for the city to renovate the building so that it is no longer obsolete by this standard. The city must then enter into a binding agreement with the Suns to make all necessary improvements by 2023 solely at the city's expense. If the city refuses, the Suns may terminate their lease 10 years early, by July 2022.
Because the Arena’s infrastructure (plumbing, mechanical, electrical, roof and structural) is now nearly 30 years old, it must be replaced. The City and the Suns have been partners for almost 30 years, and in the past three years the City and Suns management have been discussing how to avoid the obsolescence clause, to renovate the building together and to extend the Suns commitment to play in the Arena. While PADLP pays for day-to-day operations and maintenance of the building, the city, as landlord, is responsible for renovations.
City management recently proposed a new agreement between the city and the operator to renovate the building and commit the team to stay in downtown Phoenix until at least 2037.
Details of the proposed agreement are below. The City Council will review the proposed agreement on January 23, 2019. Before then, there will be a series of meetings to gather public comments and ask questions. The Council also requested Arena information be posted to Phoenix.gov.
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