Ceremony at downtown Phoenix arena makes it official: It's now the Footprint Center
The downtown home of the Phoenix Suns was officially christened Wednesday as Footprint Center with a pledge to eventually divert from landfills all food-packaging waste generated by fans.
The venue, formerly known as Talking Stick Resort Arena, was renamed for a Gilbert-based company that aims to eliminate single-use plastic with cups, lids, cartons and other food packaging that can be recycled or reused as compost.
Terms of the naming-rights deal, including the length of the partnership, weren't disclosed. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and brief fireworks show was attended by representatives of Suns Legacy Partners, Footprint and others, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and former Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
The ceremony was sandwiched between a Suns preseason game and a WNBA Finals game for the Phoenix Mercury.
It's the fourth sponsored name for the 29-year-old arena that also hosts the Mercury, concerts and other events, drawing more than 1 million visitors annually. The arena is owned by the city but managed by the Suns organization. The venue debuted as America West Arena and later changed to U.S. Airways Center and then Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The arena is transitioning to Footprint's products that include disposable cups, plates, food trays and straws made from plant materials. Products made by the seven-year-old, privately held company are made from sugar cane, bamboo, wood and more. Customers include Conagra, Sweetgreen, Beyond Meat and Fry's Food Stores.
Gilbert-based Footprint employs around 3,000 people globally including around 800 in Arizona, said Susan Koehler, the firm's chief marketing officer.
The arena will become a showcase for recyclable and compostable products, said Dan Costello, chief revenue officer for Suns Legacy Partners. For example, the products will be showcased for corporate executives attending the Waste Management Phoenix Open next March, Koehler said.
Temporary signs for Footprint Center went up in summer after the name was disclosed July 16. Last November, Talking Stick Resort ended a five-year naming rights agreement for the arena. The resort is owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Footprint was founded by Troy Swope and Yoke Chung, former Intel managers who became interested in plastic reduction when they noticed the damaging impact that "outgassing" or emissions from plastic packaging had on some of the company's products.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.