Billionaires usually get their way and if they don’t, there could be hell to pay.
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver desperately wants Phoenix City Council members to approve a $230 million upgrade at Talking Stick Resort Arena. According to a report by Laurie Roberts of AZCentral, Sarver has even threatened to relocate the team to Seattle or Las Vegas if Sarver’s demands aren’t met.
— Laurie Roberts (@LaurieRoberts) December 12, 2018
Sarver wants $150 million in public money to go with his $80 million to renovate luxury boxes and other arena areas between 2019 and 2021. It will take four yes votes on the seven-person council to approve the public funding.
Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams and two councilwomen paved the way for a postponement of Wednesday afternoon’s City Council vote on the renovations to the downtown Phoenix arena because they vote didn’t have support.
The team is currently in the 26th year of a 40-year lease in their current building, but Sarver has the option to move the team as early as 2022 “if the building is considered obsolete.” The Suns’ arena is old by NBA standards,
It’s the first time an NBA franchise has used Las Vegas to get a sweeter deal. And unlike Seattle, Las Vegas has an NBA-ready venue: T-Mobile Arena.
Will the city of Phoenix call the Sun’s owner bluff? Only time will tell. Knowing there are options in other cities that could use an NBA franchise, the city council should really consider meeting Sarver’s demands.