The Phoenix Suns Enter Into an Arena Naming Agreement With … Really?

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Although the Phoenix Suns suffered a heartbreaking 123-119 loss at home to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Five of the 2021 NBA Finals this past Saturday evening, and now down three games to two in the series need to beat the Bucks in Milwaukee to force a deciding Game Seven at home, they can at least take solace in knowing their arena has a, well, spiffy new name:

Footprint is dedicated to replacing single-use plastic items with plant-based substitutes, this explaining recently discovered swaths of the Arizona desert with rows of Coke bottles emerging from the cracked and crusted earth. Either they’ve figured out a way to grow the suckers, or it’s a pop art exhibition by people who got terribly lost while heading to Burning Man, which is held in Nevada.

The press release breathlessly announcing the naming rights deal reaches new heights in hyperbole:

… exponentially amplify awareness and use of plant-based fiber alternatives to plastic and build toward a carbon-neutral, plastic-free arena. Over the next year, fans returning to the newly named Footprint Center for Suns and Mercury games or concerts and shows will begin to experience food served in Footprint’s biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable solutions as well as educational points about the positive impact of making a switch from single-use plastics in their everyday lives. Ultimately Footprint Center will become an immersive living innovation lab for fans, enterprising partners, and likeminded venue operators from around the world to visit.

And you thought people went to a sports arena to, oh, watch sports and stuff.

Actually, given the effort’s location in Arizona, it is understandable why businesses would like to start steering clear of plastics. When you’re in an environment where recycling plastic is made difficult by it melting and evaporating after fifteen seconds outside, attempts to forestall this by burying it resulting in such disasters as the Great Triceratops Trampling of 1966 when a collection of discarded Tupperware mutated back first into oil and then back into its original dinosaur form with the results making quite a mess of the local landfills, alternatives are suggested.

Although the press release doesn’t delve into specifics, one can only imagine the immense popularity of fan activities during timeouts and halftime of Suns and Mercury (the Mercury are in the WNBA — you might have heard of them, but I doubt it) games. Already rumored are such sure to be favorites as:

  • The Paper Straw Showdown — Contestants will have thirty seconds to unwrap, insert into a drink, and flatten with one suck as many straws as possible. The paper straws were necessitated due to a small mixup in the plant-based drinking straw project, which saw unexpected consumer disapproval of straws made from saguaro cactus.
  • The Recyclable Container Road Race — This thrilling exhibition of speed and daring will feature two attendees trying to make it from a concession stand to their respective seats with a Footprint container loaded with steaming hot food before the container biodegrades in their hands or into their lap.
  • The Big Gulp Blowout — Using only one paper straw, contestants will attempt to drink an entire forty ounce container of soda before the carbonation eats through the cup.

There will be other contests. Kids will love the guessing game as to which will last longer, their mac and cheese or the fork with which they’re trying to eat the stuff. The Taco Tuesday promotion will now be the Taco Tree promotion, with every tray containing tacos guaranteed to grow into a wood and leaf delight once planted somewhere other than most of Arizona. Horror film aficionados will be enthralled with The Potato Monster Vs. The Recyclable Renegade, an action-packed chiller about what happens when a potato left in a jar of water encounters a forgotten food container come back to life. The mind reels at the possibilities.

We at the Good Pirate Ship RedState are excited beyond excitement at this new partnership and all it will bring. Doubtless the more ecologically-minded fans in Phoenix are equally ecstatic. However, it’s been rumored that 99.44% of the people who attend Suns games would prefer something else … like a championship.