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US Airways Center night
US Airways Center inside


US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena) is a sports and entertainment arena located in Phoenix, Arizonamarker. It opened in 1992, and is the home of the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association, the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Arizona Rattlers of Arena Football 1, Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL, and the Arizona Sandsharks of the CISL.

The arena, which is situated near Chase Fieldmarker, is named after its sponsor, US Airways. After America West's merger with US Airways, it was announced that America West Arena would be renamed to US Airways Center on November 14, 2005 with the name change taking place in January 2006.

Sports teams and events

Basketball, arena football, and ice hockey are all played at the Center, in addition to concerts, professional wrestling, ice shows, and other events.

The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL once called the US Airways Center home, starting with their move to Phoenixmarker in 1996, and up until 2003, when they moved to Jobing.com Arenamarker (formerly Glendale Arena), which was more suited for NHL hockey. It was also the home of the indoor soccer team Arizona Sandsharks of the CISL.

Its most common nickname is "The Purple Palace," though during the Rattlers' season it is known as "the Snake Pit."

Capacity for basketball was originally 19,023, but was downsized in recent years to 18,422.

Three of the games of the 1993 NBA Finals between the Suns and the Chicago Bulls, including game six where John Paxson hit a last second 3 point shot to clinch the Bulls' Championship, were played there, as was one of the three 1998 WNBA Finals games and two ArenaBowl games. In 1997, the Rattlers won ArenaBowl XI at America West Arena. The 1995 NBA All-Star Game was played in the arena, and the arena hosted the 2009 NBA All-Star Game.

The building has hosted many World Wrestling Entertainment house and televised shows, and PPVs throughout the years, including SummerSlam 2003, Judgment Day 2006 and Cyber Sunday 2008. It is scheduled to host a taped Smackdown/ECW on August 25, 2009.

History

Construction of this arena began in 1988, as Suns owner Jerry Colangelo envisioned a need for a new playing facility to replace Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseummarker. In 1992, the new arena was officially inaugurated with a 111-105 Suns win over the Los Angeles Clippers. After the Suns lost the NBA championship series that year, a parade that attracted more than 300,000 Suns fans made its way through downtown and finished at the new arena.

NHL years

When the Winnipeg Jets NHL franchise announced their intention to move to Phoenix as the Coyotes for the 1996-97 season, the arena was quickly reconfigured for hockey. Unlike most multipurpose arenas, America West Arena's sightlines were not designed with a hockey rink in mind. While its tight seating configuration suits basketball very well, it made it difficult to fit a standard NHL rink onto the floor. The lower level had to be sheared in half to fit the rink and create retractable seating.

As it turned out, the result was completely inadequate for the Coyotes. Most notably, a section of seats in the upper level actually hung over the boards, obstructing the view from over 3,000 seats. In those areas, a good chunk of the view from beyond the top of the face-off circle was cut off. The problem was so serious that after the team's first season in Phoenix, the team had to curtain off some seats in the areas where the view was particularly obstructed, cutting listed capacity from over 18,000 seats to just over 16,000.

The Coyotes added a second video board in an area where the view was particularly obstructed, and also put up numerous proposals to improve sight lines in order to boost capacity back over the 17,000 mark. They also had to sell many obstructed-view tickets at a reduced price. In addition, an unfavorable lease caused further financial troubles from which the franchise has never recovered. The Coyotes moved into an arena of their own, Jobing.com Arenamarker located in suburban Glendalemarker for the 2003–04 NHL season.

References

  1. http://hockey.ballparks.com/NHL/PhoenixCoyotes/index.htm


External links




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