To cut to the quick, Phoenix Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley stated during a Thursday live stream that the report that anyone associated with the Phoenix Suns organization — including owner Robert Sarver — threatened the city of Phoenix with relocating the Suns to any other city were “100% false.”
”We have been 100% committed to getting this deal done with the city of Phoenix,” he said. ”We’ve been partners with the city of Phoenix for 27 years in this building.” He said that the Suns’ relationship with the city has been “extremely strong” and “Any characterization that this relationship is either strained or that we’re in some type of state of dispute or conflict is absolutely not accurate.”
Is this just damage control? Perhaps. Under the Suns’ existing deal with the city, they already have an out if Talking Stick Resort Arena is deemed by an arbitrator to be obsolete in July 2019. He feels as though it is a foregone conclusion that the arbitrator will do just that based on the building’s age and condition... and the city has not disputed that claim.
”If we wanted to threaten to leave, we’d just have to wait until July first of 2019, initiate that proceeding and be out the door on our own,” Rowley said. The implication was, why would they make a threat to leave Phoenix now when the city already knows that it is a possibility in July if no agreement is reached before then? It’s not a very convincing argument to me that no one - including Robert Sarver - might not have made a comment as a sort of ‘reminder’ of that fact though.
Some other interesting topics related to the proposed renovations that he covered were that any agreement they come to does not create any new taxes for Phoenix citizens and that any expenses in excess of the renovation budget agreed upon will be picked up by the Suns. He also pointed out that, although the Suns are the primary tenant of TSRA, only about 30-35% of the events scheduled at TSRA are Suns games and the Suns have paid for the bulk of TSRA’s upkeep since opened on June 6, 1992.
Five town hall meetings are planned before the Jan. 23 vote is scheduled to take place.
You can watch the replay of the entire interview on the Suns’ Rise Network.