Recent poll reports support for Talking Stick renovations

Arizona citizens have been at a crossroads about the proposed renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns. Or at least, that was considered to be the case until the Greater Phoenix Chamber released the results of a recent OH Predictive Insights poll.

The City of Phoenix has proposed $230 million in renovations to the arena. The Suns organization would contribute $80 million, and the remaining $150 million would stem from taxpayers. Once individuals polled learned about the intricacies of the deal, they strongly shifted toward a position of support for the renovations.

Under the deal terms, the renovations would be financed by a Sports Facility Tax, which taxes rental cars and hotels. Because these are mostly utilized by out-of-state visitors, Arizona citizens will end up paying for just eight percent of the stadium renovations. OH Predictive Insights Managing Partner Mike Noble explains that this information had a significant effect on the polling results.

“After going through the facts and realities, you saw a massive swing from the initial question — it was a 53 percent swing,” Noble said. “All of a sudden, after you fill them in on the details, a lot of those folks that want a vibrant downtown came back and realized that the arena was a big part of that.”

According to the poll, 49 percent of residents support the stadium renovations, compared to just 25 percent in opposition (26 percent had no opinion). Before the newest informative poll, 52 percent were in opposition and just 23 percent were in favor of the renovations; the opinions completely flipped once individuals understood the fine details of the proposed deal.

The deal also impacts more than just Suns fans. Greater Phoenix Chamber Vice President Janelle Tassart notes that only 33 percent of ticketed events at Talking Stick Resort are Suns games. The remainder include community fundraisers, philanthropic events, youth physical education activities, concerts, and more.

Greater Phoenix Chamber President & CEO Todd Sanders emphasized his support of the stadium renovations, highlighting its impact on the state economy and community.

“The Greater Phoenix Chamber understands the tremendous value of Talking Stick Resort Arena—from the $182 million in economic impact, to the hundreds of jobs it produces,” Sanders said. “Polling results are clear: when residents of Phoenix understand the facts surrounding the deal and the impact of the stadium, they too support the renovations. Without implementing new taxes, the City and Suns have the opportunity to improve the facility and make downtown Phoenix an even more attractive place to live, work, or visit.”

The Phoenix City Council will vote on the arena proposal January 23rd.

Ben Norman

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