The Phoenix Mercury will soon be practicing in a new and improved facility built just for them, team owner Mat Ishbia announced Thursday.
Ishbia, who also owns the Phoenix Suns, said he is spending more than $100 million on the facility and a downtown campus for employees of the Mercury and Suns. The Mercury currently share a practice facility with the Suns in north Phoenix.
Ishbia plans to have the new facility ready to go by the start of the 2024 season. The speed of construction will be aided by the fact that the project is part of the renovation of an existing warehouse just three blocks from the Footprint Center.
“I don’t like things that take two years. We’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it fast,” Ishbia said via ESPN. “It’s going to be a special place for the Mercury.”
In a league in which joint facilities are the general norm, Ishbia was clear that he is spending the money as a show of faith in the Mercury and the WNBA.
“It’s just an investment in the Mercury, investment into women’s basketball,” Ishbia told The Associated Press. “It’s great to build a first-class, state-of-the-art facility for them, designed for them in all aspects, from the locker rooms to the workout areas. It’s not designed for the Suns and Mercury to share. It’s designed for the Mercury.”
In total, the development will span 123,000 square feet, including space for company offices and more.
The Mercury practice facility is set to account for 58,000 square feet of luxury. Amenities will include 10 baskets, a fitness center, a film room, hydrotherapy facilities and an expansive locker room. The facilities will also feature a family lounge and a kitchen with a private chef.
The new employee facility is expected to have indoor and outdoor basketball courts and a workout facility of its own. A proposed indoor arcade, pickleball court and putting green will provide recreational options. A fan store will be included somewhere as well.
“It’s going to be the best one in the WNBA, without question,” Ishbia said.
Currently, the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces hold bragging rights for top facilities after they moved into 64,000 square-foot practice grounds and team headquarters located nextdoor to the Raiders Headquarters in April.
For Ishbia, this is the latest in a flurry of big moves since he spent around $4 billion to acquire both teams from the embattled Robert Sarver eight months ago. The Suns have made major additions in superstar Kevin Durant and veteran Bradley Beal. Meanwhile, fan bases of both teams are poised to benefit from a reworked local television package.
The Mercury’s offseason should be an interesting one. They finished the regular season with the worst record in the WNBA (9-31), marking the end of the league’s longest streak of playoff appearances at 10. Before that, the Mercury broke the WNBA record and scored a whopping 45 points in one quarter against the Connecticut Sun. The return of Brittney Griner was a major storyline for the team, which also saw longtime WNBA leading scorer Diana Taurasi cross the historic 10,000-career-point threshold this season.
Both Griner and Taurasi are likely to be seen in the new facility, as both hope to return to the Mercury in 2024.