EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Phoenix Suns, Mercury partner with city to pursue future All-Star games

May 25, 2023, 4:30 PM

Footprint Center...

General view of action between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky during the second half of the WNBA game at Footprint Center on May 21, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury are working directly with the city of Phoenix and other parties in a pursuit of hosting All-Star games in the near future for both the NBA and WNBA, the teams said Thursday.

The franchises are connected with the city, the mayor’s office, the governor’s office, the Phoenix Convention Center and more groups in order to ensure a united presentation to the leagues when bidding on future spots. A Phoenix City Council meeting will discuss the matter next week.

The Suns and Mercury have submitted formal bids. The latest NBA All-Star Game announced is for 2024, taking place in Indianapolis. The WNBA’s is this year in Las Vegas.

“We’re excited to partner with the city of Phoenix to engage the NBA and WNBA to bring both All-Star games to the Valley,” Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said in a statement. “Phoenix is one of the great basketball cities in the world and the perfect place to bring together the players and fans to celebrate the sport. The Phoenix Suns and Mercury want to continue finding new and important ways to partner with the city to bring real impact to our community.”

The organization’s home arena is certainly ready for those types of events. The Suns recently completed $230 million in renovations to Footprint Center in October 2021.

“We’re doing things differently in Phoenix, and the sports world has noticed,” Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement. “From world-class facilities like Footprint Center to our sustainable, innovative transportation options like light rail or Waymo driverless taxis, Phoenix has everything we need to put on a successful major event like the WNBA and NBA All-Star games. I’m excited to support our bids to be a host city, and am looking forward to hearing positive news back from the WNBA and NBA!”

It would be the latest marquee sporting event to be added to the Valley’s schedule. After just hosting Super Bowl LVII in February, the Men’s Final Four arrives in 2024 and the Women’s Final Four comes to Footprint Center in 2026.

Phoenix has previously hosted the NBA All-Star Game three times. The first came in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 1975 followed by two in 1995 and 2009 at Footprint Center.

A pair of WNBA All-Star Games have also taken place in Phoenix. The second ever in league history was in 2000 and then the 2014 iteration was also hosted at Footprint Center.

NBA All-Star Games, of course, come with several days of festivities during the All-Star break in February on the league schedule.

Friday of that weekend includes the celebrity game and Rising Stars Challenge while All-Star Saturday Night offers the skills challenge, 3-point contest and dunk contest. Sunday’s All-Star Game is the main event.

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