PHOENIX — The arena the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury call home is now named Footprint Center after a new partnership with a material science company.
The Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Real Mallorca announced Friday they have partnered with Footprint, a material science company that looks for ways to reduce dependency on single- and short-term-use plastics, according to a press release.
"The partnership will include naming rights and product integration, and it will exponentially amplify awareness and use of plant-based fiber alternatives to plastic and build toward a carbon-neutral, plastic-free arena," the press release said.
The Footprint Center will introduce biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable solutions as well as educational points about the positive impact of making a switch from single-use plastics, the statement explained.
“It was important to us to find a partner that could truly make a positive impact in our community and on the planet, and Footprint is a global leader that is also Arizona-based and therefore shares our commitment to the Valley," Suns, Mercury and Real Mallorca Managing Partner Robert Sarver said.
"Integrating Footprint’s plant-based fiber technology into our core business functions will mobilize partners and fans to drive collective and systemic change, in our arena and beyond."
The Footprint team will work to make the Footprint Center carbon-neutral and single-use plastic-free. They will also create an innovation lab for food and beverage suppliers on how they can transition away from plastic.
Footprint helps companies transition to plant-based fiber materials for products that can be recycled and composted.
Fans will notice a change in plates, packaging, utensils, coolers and other single-use plastic products that will be replaced with Footprint's plant-based material products. The Footprint Center will also feature recycling and compost containers, not trash cans.
“We have a unique opportunity with the Suns, Mercury and Real Mallorca to transform sports and entertainment experiences where fans can enjoy their food and drinks in sustainable packaging and learn more about how they can make changes in their daily lives to get rid of single-use plastics,” Footprint CEO Troy Swope said.
The statement explained cutting back on single-use plastics is one way to help the environment.
"This partnership is a significant step forward building on the momentum of the arena transformation that began in 2020, and has included over 8,200 tons of material being diverted from a landfill, 757 tons of plastic and metal being recycled, new LED lighting in all finished spaces, new energy efficient mechanical systems with economizers for more fresh air, and reused and recycled materials used throughout the arena," the statement said.
The arena transitioned to solar power in 2012. It was one of the first venues to take this step at the time.
“We believe our partnership with Footprint will put Phoenix on the map for a more sustainable future,” Suns and Mercury Chief Revenue Officer Dan Costello said.