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By Tom Gresham
As if the challenge of COVID-19 wasn’t enough, the pandemic arrived as the Footprint Center in Phoenix also was undergoing a $245 million renovation of the arena. The renovation was completed this year, and Ralph Marchetta, senior vice president and general manager of the Footprint Center, said the experience was challenging but rewarding.
“A major renovation coupled with the pandemic was a lot all at once,” Marchetta said. “Being able to reopen, though, was emotional. We had our first fans in the building in February on Super Bowl Sunday – 1,500 fans in the building for a Suns game – and that was really incredible. We just kind of built from there.”
In addition to the renovation, the arena announced its new naming rights deal with Footprint, an environmental tech company that wants to eliminate single-use plastics.
“The partnership that we now have with Footprint toward creating a more sustainable arena environment is such a high priority for us,” Marchetta said. “We’re excited about the partnership and the things that we will be doing with Footprint. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate (single-use) plastics in the building. We’re really going to be a living laboratory, and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
Marchetta believes the year ahead will be a record-breaker for the Footprint Center in the number of shows and fans that flood to the arena.
One new draw: the FanDuel Sportsbook (see story, Page 20) that opened in the building Sept. 9 for the beginning of the NFL season. The 7,435-square-foot space is the first sportsbook to open inside a venue in Arizona since Arizona lawmakers voted to legalize sports betting in April.