Are Silver And Bettman Pushing For A New Phoenix Arena?

There are stories floating around that Gary Bettman and Adam Silver are lobbying people in the Phoenix area to get together and and work out a deal for a new arena.


There is some talk that National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman are getting behind a plan to encourage the NBA’s Phoenix Suns ownership and the ownership of the Glendale-based NHL Arizona franchise to work together to build a new arena in Phoenix. The NBA and NHL are not competitors and actually work hand in hand so it makes sense that the two commissioners start applying pressure to get a new building in a market that both businesses think is pretty good. The Phoenix indoor arena business should be good except politicians absolutely messed up in building the Suns present home when putting together a plan nearly three decades ago.

Had the Phoenix city council been smart, they would have approved a multi-purpose arena back in the late 1980s that would have accommodated the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and an NHL team. Instead lawmakers approved a $90 million expenditure that was designed to appease Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. The arena was built in such a way that the building was only good for basketball and not hockey or Arena Football or indoor soccer and that severely limited the potential revenues that could be generated in the place. The building approved by Phoenix politicians in 1988 had more than 3,000 view-obstructed seats.  Making sure they further satisfied Colangelo, the terms of the lease between the city and the NBA team required that the franchise pay the bulk of lease payments in years 36-40 of the 40-year lease agreement. The arena opened in 1992. Richard Burke put together a group that included Steven Gluckstern and bought the Winnipeg Jets. Burke and Gluckstern moved the team to Colangelo’s building in 1996 and that is when trouble started.  It was a bad building. Hockey team owners are still searching for the right building. Part of Silver and Bettman’s job description is arena builders. Next stop. Phoenix.


A commissioner is also a lobbyist.