The NHL failed in Phoenix because of a flawed arena.
What is going on in Phoenix? It appears Robert Sarver is at an impasse with the city government in an effort to get almost a half billion dollars to fix up the city’s 25 year old building for his Phoenix Suns basketball team. Phoenix elected officials have been taking a hardline against the city’s sports franchises with the Arizona Diamondbacks ownership unhappy with conditions at the city owned baseball field and now Sarver. Two statements put out by two council people sound ominous. It is not in Phoenix’s best interest to invest in an arena and taxpayers have been expected to foot the bill for sports venues. That practice must stop now. It is not what Sarver wanted to hear. Sarver wants a basketball only facility and does not want an NHL partner in his flawed building. The design has cost Valley of the Sun taxpayers a lot of money.
In the late 1980s, Phoenix elected officials decided to build an arena to satisfy Jerry Colangelo who was an owner of the Phoenix Suns National Basketball Association team. Instead of thinking about a multi-use arena, the solons of Phoenix approved a building to Colangelo’s specifications which was basketball centered and basically was useless for other events. Colangelo wanted an NHL team in the building. An NHL franchise came to Phoenix but it did not work because the arena design was bad. The various local Phoenix ownership groups looked elsewhere. They struck out in Scottsdale but landed in Glendale which had visions of being a sports hub. Glendale has been a financial disaster for the municipality in the arena building business, the franchise and the NHL. The hockey team ownership is still looking elsewhere. Sarver said in July his preference was to stay in downtown Phoenix but he could look elsewhere. Where might that elsewhere be? Parts unknown.
Diamondbacks ownership wants a new Phoenix area ballpark.