American Airlines Group will not renew its naming-rights agreement for the US Airways Center in Phoenix, where the NBA’s Phoenix Suns play.The Fort Worth-based company, formed with the merger of American and US Airways in December, has opted not to renew the 10-year contract, which ends in October 2015. The Phoenix Suns have the option to seek a new sponsor before the deal expires.American has its name on two other sports venues: the American Airlines Center in Dallas, where the Mavericks play basketball and the Dallas Stars play hockey, and the American Airlines Arena in Miami, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat. The Miami arena deal cost $42 million over 20 years and will expire in 2019. The Dallas sports center cost the airline $150 million over 30 years, expiring in 2031, and included $45 million for advertising at the facility and during broadcasts.The company said it has no plans to change those long-term agreements.American spokesman Andrew Christie Jr. said the airline is committed to maintaining its corporate and operational presence in Phoenix, where US Airways was based before the merger, even though it is relinquishing the naming rights to the arena.“As we sunset the US Airways brand, we’re looking at new ways to maximize existing long-term deals with other sports arenas that highlight the American Airlines brand,” Christie said.US Airways took over the arena name in 2006 after it merged with America West Airlines. America West entered into the original naming-rights agreement in January 1990.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk