Robert Sarver seems to want a new Phoenix arena but does not want to share it with an NHL team.
Robert Sarver owns the Phoenix Suns National Basketball Association franchise, the city of Phoenix owns the building that houses Sarver’s Suns. Phoenix taxpayers’ foot the bill and Sarver inherited a sweetheart lease when he purchased the team for a then NBA record of $401 million in 2004. Sarver is a banker and owns a real estate company. Presumably he knows about finances and real estate and he knows part of the reason he paid so much for the basketball team is that the business is highly subsidized by Phoenix taxpayers. Sarver’s home is now 25-years old and that means the building is near the end of its lifespan. The building needs another renovation or to be replaced by a newer and shinier facility with even more revenue enhancers. Sarver gets to keep a large amount of the revenues generated in the present building and wants that to continue.
But the new owner of the NHL’s Arizona franchise is seeking a new building. In a perfect world, one building would be constructed by the two main tenants with them helping to pay down the debt incurred by a municipality as these places get taxpayers assistance. But Sarver is not going for that and implied Phoenix taxpayers should help with the expense. “Our arena is becoming outdated. We have to have an NBA-quality facility. I know that. The city of Phoenix knows that. Hopefully in the next couple of years we can start construction on something.” Phoenix elected officials should call Sarver’s bluff and say with your attitude that it is unlikely we will pay for your factory, the arena. It was kowtowing to then Suns owner Jerry Colangelo in the late 1980s to build a basketball first arena that created all sorts of facility problems in Phoenix. The building is useless for other sports. Phoenix elected officials should say we need a multipurpose building and then let Sarver fend for himself.
Sarver does not want to share the loot from a new building although he will never say that.