NAZ Suns Leaving Prescott Valley

The economics of COVID-19 has forced the relocation of what has been a popular attraction in Prescott Valley: the Northern Arizona Suns professional basketball team.

The team is being moved to the Greater Phoenix area for the current season by its parent ballclub, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and then sold to the Detroit Pistons, under which it will play the 2020-21 season.

The announcements came in July. Phoenix Suns spokeswoman Maria Baier said streamlining operations was needed to minimize the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the sports and entertainment industry.

The NAZ Suns started its 2019-2020 season in November but had to cancel what remained of the season when the G League, in which it competes, suspended play on March 12.

People throughout Prescott Valley were disappointed at the decision to pull the team from the community. The team had become popular among locals and tourists since it first began playing there in mid-2016. The team had relocated to Prescott Valley from Bakersfield, California.

Its home court had been in the Findlay Toyota Center. The $35 million multipurpose facility has seating for approximately 5,100 for athletic contests and up to 6,200 for concerts. It is owned by the Town of Prescott Valley.

Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta and Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said they are confident other professional organizations will express interest in the event center. Both said they would like to see professional hockey return.

As would Town Councilman Marty Grossman.

“I hope we get hockey or some other pro team,” he said. The Arizona Sundogs, a member of the Central Hockey League, called the center home from 2006 to 2014.
Spectra Venue Management, a Scottsdale-based firm, manages the arena and is seeking replacement activities and events for the arena.