Footprint Center – Phoenix Suns
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Footprint Center 201 E Jefferson St Phoenix, AZ 85004
Year Opened: 1992 Capacity: 18,422
House Of The Rising Suns
Note: July, 2021 – Arena name changed to Footprint Center.
The Phoenix Suns are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the franchise during the 2017-2018 season. They have a wide variety of special observances scheduled, including appearances from Suns stars of the past, special exhibits with highlights of Suns history over the last half century, and retro nights for each of their five decades of existence. During its existence, the arena has hosted the 1993 NBA Finals, as well as the 1995 and 2009 NBA All Star games.
For more than half of those years, the Talking Stick Resort Arena has served as their home. The 18,055 seat venue opened in 1992 and has been previously known as the America West Arena and the US Airways Center (both Phoenix-based airlines which merged). At the time of its opening it was considered state of the art (including being named Best Arena to Play In by the NBA players) but it has gone through several renovations over the years in order to keep up with the changing trends in sports arena amenities.
The Talking Stick Arena now features 87 suites, six party suites and two private restaurants for season ticket holders. Other renovations include the addition of a glass atrium at the main entrance and the updating of the technology in the facility.
In addition to the Suns, the arena is home to the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). From 1996-2003, the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL played in the building. This proved disastrous, as the building was not designed for ice hockey. The seating areas had several thousand seats with obstructed views of the ice, causing a huge reduction in seating capacity for Coyote games. As a result, the team left in 2003, moving to the Gila River Arena in nearby Glendale.
Food & Beverage 3
One of the most impressive elements at Taking Stick Arena is its wide assortment of concessions offerings. While you can always find the traditional arena fare at one of the generic stands, several offer a more specialized menu. These include 201 Eat Street (sweets), Carl’s Jr (hamburgers), Copper Kitchen (baked items), Dave’s DogHouse (gourmet hot dogs), Dribbles (ice cream, candy and candied apples), Fractured Prune Doughnuts (gourmet doughnuts), Nocawich (deli sandwiches), Pork on A Fork (BBQ), and Streets of NY (pizza, wings, and pretzels).
The Suns management does an excellent job in creating a great game day experience for fans. The seats in the arena come in the team colors of purple, orange and copper. Pregame introductions feature a great light show and graphics project themes related to the term “sun.” Fans are kept well informed by the 900 foot ribbon board that encircles the arena and the center-hung scoreboard that features several HDTV panels.
Talking Stick Arena is in the Legends Entertainment District in downtown Phoenix. This is a 12 block area which contains the basketball arena, Chase Field (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks), the CityScape and Collier shopping/entertainment complexes and the Comerica Theatre. In addition, there are a wide variety of museums and more than 200 restaurants within the district. If all your plans are within the district, the Sheraton Grand Phoenix and the Hyatt Regency Phoenix provide you with great accommodations to serve as a base to venturing out on foot. It is a very walkable neighborhood that is also served by Phoenix’s light rail system.
The Suns were the first professional sports franchise in Phoenix and the fan base has always seen them as their hometown team. While many of the teams in the Valley draw primarily from the large retirement population in the area, the Suns draw a very diverse crowd spanning all generations. The bond between the fans and the players is so great that many of the Suns players stay in the Phoenix area after retirement.
Fans tend to arrive early for games as the Legends Entertainment District offers a wide variety of pregame dining and entertainment options. The Casino Arizona Atrium at the front entrance provides a great place to meet up with friends prior to the game in air-conditioned comfort.
Once the game starts, the fans become a major force in disrupting the opposition, as their cheers disrupt the communications between the coach and team. The Suns also do a great job in coordinating the excitement with the Sun Dancers Cheer team and the video board at center court.
One member of the Suns team has been a fan favorite since 1980. He is simply known as The Gorilla. He serves as the team mascot and is continually entertaining fans with his antics. He is probably best known for doing his aerial gymnastics in performing dunks between periods. In 2005, The Gorilla was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. He alone is worth the price of admission to see.
Parking is available at the Jefferson Street Garage (261 South 3rd Street) for $12. The Phoenix Light rail system also has a station (Convention Center Station) very close to the arena. .
The arena entry is primarily through the Casino Arizona Atrium. It is very spacious and provides an air-conditioned environment to wait in before the gates open. There are major differences between accessibility on the lower and upper levels. The upper level concourse is much narrower and offers less services (i.e.,restrooms and number of concessions available). Sit on the lower level if at all possible.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Suns games fall into the following ticket ranges: upper level end of court ($18), upper level midcourt ($30), lower level end of court ($67) and lower level midcourt ($86-$295 depending on how close to the court). Typically, the Suns do not sell out, so it is not necessary to buy more expensive tickets on the secondary market. Concessions are fairly priced and offer a wide menu. Parking in the Jefferson Street Garage is $12 and taking the light rail is even cheaper ($4 for an All-Day pass). The Talking Stick Resort Arena offers an excellent return on investment compared with other NBA arenas.
The Suns Ring of Honor includes such well known players as Charles Barkley, Paul Westphal, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson and Steve Nash. Each player has a banner hanging from the rafters.
The arena was one of the first professional sports facilities to install solar panels. This results in a great energy savings for the facility as Phoenix averages 300 sunny days a year.
Among the other events the Talking Stick Arena has hosted are WWE wrestling, PBR rodeos, boxing matches, tennis matches and circuses. Concerts have featured such talents as U2, Depeche Mode, Cher, the Rolling Stones and Elton John.
The Phoenix Suns’ Talking Stick Arena is one of the anchors of the Legends Entertainment District. However, the once state of the art facility is beginning to show its age and is losing many of its bookings to more modern arenas in the area.