(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
America West Arena has been renamed US Airways Center and will officially open in January under its new moniker. The new 10-year agreement follows the merger between America West Airlines
and US Airways completed September 27.
The naming conversion is scheduled to take place over the next few months
and plans call for it to be completed and unveiled shortly after the first of
the year. Designs are currently under review with the City of Phoenix. Until
then, the arena will continue to operate as America West Arena.
"Because of the comprehensive and dramatic enhancements completed over the
past few years, today we really have a state-of-the-art building again
compared to the one that opened in 1992," said Suns Chairman and CEO Jerry
Colangelo. "It is the sports and entertainment facility of the future, so it
is most appropriate that it be identified with the airline of the future in
name and spirit."
"Since its inception in 1992, America West Arena has been a great source
of pride to our employees and now a much larger employee base can see US
Airways' commitment to the Phoenix community and the Suns organization," said
US Airways Chairman, president and CEO Doug Parker. "As the hometown airline
of Phoenix, we are excited that the US Airways Center will be both a symbol of
our future and a tribute to the proud history of our airline."
The arena is owned by the City of Phoenix and managed by a subsidiary of
Suns Legacy Partners, owners of the Phoenix Suns (NBA), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
and the Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL) hockey team. In addition to those teams,
the 19,000-seat venue hosts 200 events a year including the
Arizona Rattlers (AFL), concerts, the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus,
Disney ice shows, other family shows, sporting events, and conventions. More
than 2 million guests attend events annually.
"We're not just writing a new chapter in the book on Downtown Phoenix,"
said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, "we're writing a whole new book." "With the
expanded Phoenix Civic Plaza convention center, light rail, a new Arizona
State University campus and a host of other residential, retail and business
projects, the US Airways Center will continue to be at the heart of Phoenix
sports and culture."
An element of the partnership includes the creation of the "Heritage
Wall," which will profile the history of America West Airlines from birth
through the merger creating today's US Airways. The display will be located
just inside the arena's entrances from the plaza and Jefferson Street.
The arena recently completed a major $70 million expansion and improvement
project. Gone is the block exterior, replaced with soaring glass walls. The
outdoor ticket office is now enclosed inside the new 14,000 square foot Casino
Arizona Pavilion, serving as a grand entrance to the arena highlighted by a
12 x 20 foot video wall. On the arena's east side, the Bud Light Paseo is a
flexible outdoor entertainment venue covered by a football field-length canopy
featuring state-of-the-art sound and video projection systems, as well as the
stylish Bud Light bar area and facilities that double as television studio
facilities for Suns telecasts and a performance stage for music events.
improvements include new technology installed in the arena bowl including a
900-foot LED ribbon, a center-hung scoreboard with HDTV screens, a new sound
system, a new Courtside Club, Lexus Club and B Lounge nightclub. At street
level the arena now features a Starbucks, expanded Team Shop and il
Palazzetto, a Levy Brothers restaurant featuring fine Italian cuisine. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner