The US Airways Center in Phoenix, which is home to the NBA Phoenix Suns and WNBA Phoenix Mercury, is getting a new naming rights sponsor and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is in contention to name it.
The Phoenix Business Journal reported that an existing team sponsor could take over the naming rights. Major team sponsors are Southwest Airlines and the Salt River tribe’s Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, but CenturyLink, Verizon, Carl’s Jr. and Kia motors are also contenders. And according to the magazine, a source from the Suns/Mercury said that the new name could be Talking Stick Arena.
In 2005, the Suns extended their five-year marketing partnership with Casino Arizona, which earned them title sponsorship of the team’s American West Arena pavilion, now the Casino Arizona Pavillion, among other facets of the deal. They also extended their partnership in 2006, making Casino Arizona a presenting sponsor of the Suns through the 2014 season.
A merger between American Airlnes and US Airways last year forced the name change, and AZCentral.com said in September that American Airlines would not renew its naming rights, leaving the Suns and Mercury to search for a new official sponsor.
In an interview with the newspaper in September, Suns President Jason Rowley said that current sponsors had expressed interest. "You look at this facility. You look at its reputation. The traffic counts. Its location. The fact that every plane that flies into Sky Harbor looks down into the building as it comes in," he said. "It's [all] something that will bring a new corporate partner some real value. We're excited to go out there and look."
US Airways Center has been the arena’s name since 2006. An announcement about the arena’s new name is expected today at 2:00p.m. MST.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Diane Enos, president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, announced that the new name for the former US Airways Center is now the Talking Stick Resort Arena. A complete transition is expected in October 2015.