Feb 18, 2013

American Airlines and US Airways have agreed to merger to create the world’s biggest airline company; American Airlines. While most consumers are concerned with price increases as the airline industry continues to shrink — this is the seventh airline merger since 2005 — in the sports industry people are left wondering…What happens to US Airways agreement partners?

Specifically, what happens to the US Airways Arena in Phoenix?

The US Airways Center has been in existence since 1992, and received its present name after America West airlines merged with US Airways in 2005 (the arena was previously known as the America West arena prior to the 2005 name change).

The original America West Arena naming rights deal was signed in 1992 for $26 million dollars. It is not set to expire until 2022.

According to Phoenix Suns president Jason Rowley — the Suns currently run the arena — no immediate changes to the arena signage are expected,

“We are aware of the US Airways and American Airlines merger discussions, but at this time there will not be any changes to the US Airways Center name or any signage within the arena,” said Rowley. “It is possible that a change could occur in the future and we are in close communications with US Airways management. For now, the airline remains a valued partner that we will continue to support however we can.” (via Phoenix Business Journal)

The airline also has sponsorship and marketing deals in some of their other hub-cities, including Phoenix (Arizona Cardinals) and Charlotte (Charlotte Bobcats). No official word has come from US Airways on any of those sponsorship discussions at this point, either.

If the US Airways Arena is re-branded with American Airlines signage, the Suns would become the third team with some sort of connection to American Airlines and their arena. The Dallas Mavericks (American Airlines Center) and the Miami Heat (American Airlines Arena) have already signed deals with the airline.

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