The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced the return of professional basketball to its Arizona birthplace, Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Downtown Phoenix. The Mercury will play preseason, regular season and playoff home games during the 2020 WNBA season at the original home of the Phoenix Suns, the Valley’s first professional sports team, while the club’s current home, Talking Stick Resort Arena, undergoes a $230 million renovation.
First opened in 1965, Veterans Memorial Coliseum instantly became the epicenter of sports and entertainment in the State of Arizona. Its distinct silhouette visible by Arizonans and travelers alike commuting through Phoenix, the Coliseum has been the backdrop for some of the greatest sports moments in the history of our state, and the staging ground for some of the world’s greatest artists. Its existence made possible NBA expansion in 1968, and the venue subsequently hosted scores of events like the 1975 NBA All-Star Game, 1976 NBA Finals, performances by Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones, and the annual State Fair. The Coliseum is a part of Arizona’s past and present—and now the Mercury’s future.
“Returning to ‘The Madhouse’ was absolutely the right move for our team and we are grateful to our ownership, management and the management of the Coliseum for making it possible,” said Mercury Chief Operating Officer Vince Kozar. “Staying centrally-located for our fans, and finding a home for games and practices that puts the least amount of stress on our players and staff was crucial. We will make the Coliseum feel like home and the X-Factor will make it feel like ‘The Madhouse’.”
For the first time since May 11, 1992, when the Suns and Portland Trail Blazers battled in the NBA Playoffs, professional basketball will return to The Coliseum thanks to the Mercury’s temporary relocation. The Mercury now look to revive “The Madhouse on McDowell,” long regarded as one of basketball’s loudest buildings and most intimate fan experiences. With the X-Factor virtually right on top of the action, combined with the amenities the Mercury will add to the building, and the nostalgia of basketball’s return, it will create a one-of-a-kind homecourt advantage.
“The State of Arizona is thrilled to welcome the three-time World Champion Phoenix Mercury to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for their 2020 season,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “There’s no better place to watch these electrifying games than the ‘Madhouse on McDowell’ — Arizona’s most legendary hardwood. I’m fully expecting it to be the home court for another Championship season!”
The Mercury’s relocation will include several interior updates and investments to the current facility geared toward providing an exceptional basketball experience. These modernizations include a high-definition video board, a scoreboard, upgraded lighting and sound systems, improved seats, plus the Verizon Courtyard event-level fan area which has been a staple at Mercury games since 2014. The Mercury will bring its own court and be able to hang its championship banners and retired-player banners in the Coliseum rafters. Perhaps most importantly, while staying in the City of Phoenix, full and part-time staff employed by the Mercury and Talking Stick Resort Arena will continue with the organizations while the downtown arena is shut down for renovations.
“We are honored to welcome the Phoenix Mercury to Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” said City of Phoenix District 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “I am personally excited that Phoenix District 4 families will be able to see live WNBA basketball right there in their own neighborhood and witness our three-time champs play with a brand of athleticism that inspires and amazes all of us.”
In January 2019, the City of Phoenix approved a multi-million dollar renovation proposal that will bring Talking Stick Resort Arena into the 21st century with infrastructure, technology and comfort innovations that will elevate every level of the arena and enhance the fan experience for all guests that attend games, concerts and events in the building. When renovations are completed, Talking Stick Resort Arena will be a premier sports and entertainment venue and an amenity that can be enjoyed by both local residents and the millions of visitors that frequent the Valley annually.