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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Findlay Toyota Center – Northern Arizona Suns


Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Findlay Toyota Center 320a N Main St Prescott Valley, AZ 86314



Year Opened: 2006

Capacity: 5,100

 

NAZ Suns

Editors Note: The Northern Arizona Suns played four seasons in the G League at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.


The Northern Arizona Suns (NAZ Suns) play their home basketball games at the comfortable Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, AZ. They are the minor league affiliate of the Phoenix Suns which makes sense as the two teams are only 90 miles apart. They play in the G-League (Gatorade League) formerly known as the NBDL (National Basketball Developmental League or D-League). The team was previously known as the Long Beach Jam and the Bakersfield Jam; their name changed in 2016 when the Phoenix Suns purchased the team and moved them from California to Prescott Valley.


The Findlay Toyota Center hosted the Arizona Sun Dogs from the now defunct Central Hockey League and the Arizona Outlaws from the American Indoor Football League (also defunct). It hosts Monster Trucks, concerts, Cirque Du Soleil, rodeos, ice shows, and more. It is a nice, intimate facility in which to watch an event and basketball.


Food & Beverage 3

Depending on attendance, not all concessions are open for Suns’ games.


Cinnamon roasted nuts and other nut treats, Dippin’ Dots, shaved ice, kettle corn, corn dog snack bars, etc. dot the concourse.


A small bar kiosk is located on the concourse near section 203 selling cocktails, wine, and beer. Beer is $7. Burgers and Brews provides the main nourishment during a Suns’ game offering hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with fries for $8. Snacks such as hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, candy, chips can be purchased a la carte ranging from $1.50 – $6.50.


Papa John’s pizza has a stand with 8” pizzas running $8. This seems to be the more popular choice for fans.

A 32-oz fountain Pepsi is $4 with Arizona tea, coffee, water, Gatorade offered for $2.75 – $4.


Small tables with chairs are set up along the concourse to enjoy your refreshments without having to carry it them your seats; a nice feature.


Atmosphere 3

Findlay Toyota Center is a comfortable facility in which to watch some hoops. Two entrances are available, one that is wheelchair accessible. The concourse, which houses a respectable merchandise shop, concessions, and restrooms, forms a U around the entertainment floor with no ability to see the court. Only those with access to the premium floor seats and subsequent buffet can enter at the top of the U.


After ascending seven or eight steps, fans enter the seating area on row E and rows go up to Q or so and down to A. Plastic maroon fold down seats (no cup holders) are provided and the first four rows (A – D) are cushioned. One level of seating is available with suites on top. The steps have hand rails for those needing a little balance. Half-moon floor tables line parts of the court for fans to get an up-close view of the action while enjoying a bite to eat and drink.


The music selection is decent and the level is not too loud and fans can have conversations without having to yell. It is played throughout the game. No center hung scoreboard is in the arena, instead, two video scoreboards are placed on each side of the seating area which show the basic info like score, quarter and time. Dot matrix scoreboards mounted on the stands behind the baskets are actually designed more for hockey than for basketball as they show labels for shots on goal, player penalty, and period but plug in the basketball info where needed.


The court is placed on a larger entertainment floor so lots of empty space is behind the baskets.


Promotions include the typical fan participation activities at the quarters and breaks like kiss cam, run the court and shoot for a basket. A mascot called Bucket roams around high-fiving fans in attendance. At the game of this review, the Movement Studio dance team performed for the fans during halftime.


The temperature is comfortable. Not too warm nor too cold, just right!


Neighborhood 3

Prescott Valley has certainly developed since the opening of the event center and quite a few places to entertain oneself are within a mile.


Two good places to eat are Susy B’s (a family breakfast/lunch/early dinner family-style restaurant) and Gabby’s Grill (steaks, burgers, sandwiches – an American grill). A Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s Bar and Grill as well as many fast food restaurants are within two blocks if chain restaurants are the preference.


Lonesome Valley Brewing is less than a mile away and serves their own brewed craft beer and mead and they serve traditional bar food too. Try the Big Neib if IPAs are your beer of choice.


Other things to do when in Prescott Valley might include a visit to the Plum Creek Alpacas farm, taking a hike on the Iron King Trail or seeing a movie at the Harkins Theatre. A little over five miles away is historic Prescott. The closest other sports would be an hour north to Flagstaff where fans can watch an NAU basketball or football game. The parent club, Phoenix Suns, is 90 miles south on I-17.


Prescott Valley has several hotels now, including a GreenTree Inn, Super 8, and Hampton Inn & Suites all within a mile of Findlay Toyota Center.


Fans 2

The NAZ Suns fans are quite supportive of the team. Lots of families and kids are in attendance as it is designed to be a family friendly entertainment choice. Attendance is generally around 1,000 fans which is on the low end of the G-League, which is kind of a shame as the minor league games are a most affordable exciting game day experience.


Access 3

Findlay Toyota Center is 32 miles from I-17 if coming from Phoenix from the south or about 22 miles if coming from Flagstaff from the north. Free parking is on the north side of the arena off Main St. One must pass through a security check but no clear bag policy is in place.


A Greyhound bus stop is located two blocks from the arena. Prescott Regional Airport – Ernest A Love Field – is 10 miles away with service via United Airlines to and from Los Angeles and Denver. Public transportation is not yet available in Prescott Valley.


Fans must walk up seven or eight steps to get to seating area but I am told there is wheelchair accessible seating for the Suns games. The concourse doesn’t get too crowded at half time but I suspect if there is a full crowd, it could.


Bathrooms are clean and sufficient.


Return on Investment 4

Spending a few hours watching a NAZ Suns game is well worth your sports dollar entertainment.


End zone tickets cost as little as $10 ($9 military) going up to $29 for center court ($22 military). Those with a college ID get in for $9. Floor seating goes from $75 – $124 and includes a buffet. Concession prices are on par with similar sports venues and relatively reasonable. Parking is free.


Extras 3

The event center has benches to sit and wait outside for friends or for the gates to open. More arenas should do this.


After the game, the NAZ Suns players walk the circumference of the floor and high-five fans providing quite a thrill for the kids. And, player autograph sessions are scheduled after most games.


A stocked merchandise shop is just inside the one entrance with plenty of shirts, caps, and trinkets, including hat pins.


Final Thoughts

Watching an NAZ Suns game is a fun, entertaining few hours. The game day production is not over done, the games are played well, and it is affordable. I encourage Northern Arizona fans or Phoenix Suns fans to take in a few games each season in Prescott Valley.

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