A beautiful and unusual place, the Phoenix Suns Stadium is. It’s called the US Airways Center, and it draws local crowds for various events over the course of a year.
From basketball to arena football to concerts, with arena football and professional wrestling in between, the “Purple Palace” is filled year-round with attendants flocking through the curvy entrance.
During Suns games, they are greeted by the enthusiastic mascot The Gorilla, then take their seats from the 18,422 available and settle in for some high-scoring basketball.
The Phoenix Suns’ stadium is located near Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, making that portion of downtown Phoenix a hub of sports activity.
Recently, a portion called the Casino Arizona Paviliion was added to the arena. This new front entrance is made, from the viewer’s perspective, entirely out of glass panels that reflect the lights of the city behind it.
Inside, information plays out on a 12- by 20-foot video screen, broadcast to the 14,000 square feet of indoor space. Construction on the US Airways Center began in 1988, replacing the outdated Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, under the supervision of Suns owner Jerry Colangelo; the Purple Palace was officially finished in 1992, when the NBA franchise played their first game there, officially making it the Phoenix Suns’ stadium.
Predictably, the US Airways Center is sponsored by US Airways, a company that merged with America West (the airlines that formerly gave the stadium its name).
Costing $90 million to build, the Phoenix Suns Stadium is about the average age for an NBA stadium; it has been used about as long as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Target Center, the Utah Jazz’s EnergySolutions Arena, and the Chicago Bulls’ United Center, to name a few.
The arena boasts lounges, bars, and clubs; the Verve Energy lounge, for example, provides visitors with a nightclub feel and plasma TVs to go with their food.
Tickets to US Airways Center events are available directly through the official Web site, or there are all the typical ways to go about purchasing NBA tickets. Suns tickets run from around $10 per game for absolute nosebleed seats to just over $100 for upper lower level seats at midcourt to upwards of $1500 for courtside club seats.
These prices jive with NBA averages; the Phoenix Suns’ arena is not known for its especially expensive tickets.
Other teams and events are held when the arena does not belong to the Suns. Until 2003, the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL played on the converted ice arena, but it turned out that because of the franchise’s abrupt move and the then-America West Arena’s design as a single purpose arena, many of the seats were made obsolete and the arena was deemed inadequate for a hockey team. Of course, Phoenix’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, play all of their home games in the US Airways Center.
The Arizona Rattlers, an indoor football team of the AFL, has called this arena home since their inaugural season in 1992. The team plans to continue to play in the US Airways Center as part of the most recent incarnation of the AFL.
The World Wrestling Entertainment group has previously held shows in the US Airways Center.
Additionally, thanks to the ability to convert the arena to an ice rink, Disney on Ice has made several appearances there, and big-name musicians and bands such as Michael Bublé and Muse have booked the US Airways Center on their tours.
Interested individuals or groups can book the arena for private or corporate parties; the official Web site boasts that the facilities can host groups as small as ten or as large as 20,000.
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