EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns make huge progress on arena renovations, set for home opener

Dec 15, 2020, 4:40 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm

 

The Phoenix Suns did a terrific job of making the most out of a bad situation.

With the COVID-19 pandemic stalling the NBA calendar and having the 2020-21 season begin shortly before Christmas, the organization was able to complete 20% more of the planned renovations to Phoenix Suns Arena. In a significant accomplishment, the building won’t have to be shut down in the summer of 2021 to finish off the renovations, as previously planned.

Instead, with 80% done before the start of the season, 5% will get done in the middle of the season through the suite levels and some food sections in the 200 level. That last 15% will be able to get done in the offseason while other events are being prepared and taking place in the building.

The Phoenix Suns Arena, the temporary name after Talking Stick Resort did not renew its naming rights, will have its new look debut on Wednesday in preseason action against the Los Angeles Lakers, albeit with no fans for the foreseeable future. Arizona Sports got a peek at everything that could be shown before tip-off.

Most fans will enter the building through the pavilion, which is where fans will immediately notice the largest transformations.

That big ol’ area in the middle slabbed with marble is what the Suns are calling Arizona’s largest sports bar, which is 60 feet long. The two LED walls stretch over 7,000 square feet and the Suns will be able to show games on those screens prior to the Suns’ getting underway. They’ll have the game up there for fans who want to spend some of it at that bar.

Walk beyond the bar and you get the opening to the court.

The screen is six times larger than the last, measuring in at 26 feet tall and 36 feet wide. That area you see above is one of two corner bars in the arena, accessible for all fans with tickets.

You’ll notice two LED ribbon boards on the perimeter that swing around the arena. Here’s a better look of those from the event floor:

That court is new and just arrived last week, and as you can see, the theater lighting Devin Booker is a fan of is in place. The tour did not have the full effect of that lighting in place yet, but it’s already very noticeable and quite the sleek look.

Those seats you see are among the 15,100 new ones that all include cushioning and cupholders for both the lower and upper deck.

For fans fortunate enough to be sitting in the first six rows of the lower bowl, they’ll have access to Club Gila River, an incredible space at the event level below the seats that will have its own twin on the opposite side of the court as well.

That features its own pizza oven that the club will offer made-to-order, as well as other food and beverage options from chef-attended stations.

And for those looking to get even more of an experience, the south tunnel has three private suites that offer a view of the opposing players as they enter and exit the court.

General upgrades across the arena include new concourses and restrooms, with those concourses being widened to allow for more room walking around the arena.

The Suns announced earlier in December they will begin the season without fans as COVID-19 numbers hit record highs in the state. When the team does allow fans back, season ticket holders will first be allowed access.

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