Basketball Franchises Phoenix Suns and Mercury Partner With Gila River Hotels & Casinos Chain

  • Suns and Mercury branded chips and table felts in the three casinos will be an NBA first
  • Gila River will be the first to sponsor a luxury club in the Suns' downtown Phoenix arena
  • The Arizona-based resorts will also offer Suns and Mercury-themed hotel rooms
  • Tribe-owned hotel and casino chain now has sponsorship deals with NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB teams
interior of a luxurious casino facility
The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have entered into a multifaceted sponsorship partnership with Gila River Hotels & Casinos. [Image: Gila River Hotels & Casinos official website]

Partnership makes industry firsts

The National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Phoenix Suns and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)’s Phoenix Mercury have announced a sponsorship deal with Gila River Hotels & Casinos.

The Phoenix Suns posted a video tweet announcing their new sponsor on Monday:

According to a November 16 news release on the NBA website, the partnership – the duration of which was unspecified – “creates firsts” for the NBA and will bring “all-new amenities to consumers across the Valley”.

One of the NBA firsts includes Suns and Mercury franchise-branded gaming chips and table felts across all three of the Gila River tribe’s casinos in Arizona: Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva, and Lone Butte. In addition, the deal makes the enterprise branch of the Gila River Indian Community the first sponsor of one of the new luxury clubs in the Suns’ downtown Phoenix arena, Club Gila River.

In 1859, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and the Pee Posh (Maricopa) tribes merged, creating the Gila River Indian Community. The tribe’s reservation is along the Gila River in Pinal County, Arizona, which is within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area known as the Valley. All three Gila River Hotels & Casinos are owned and operated by Gila River Gaming Enterprises.

Going big on branding

The sponsorship deal, which did not reveal any financial details, also includes having Suns- and Mercury-themed hotel rooms at Gila River’s Wild Horse Pass and Vee Quiva resorts, respectively. The rooms will feature autographed memorabilia, along with prominent franchise logos and design elements inspired by the Suns’ Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Chief strategic marketing officer of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, Dominic Orozco, deemed the union between his organization and the two basketball franchises as a coming together of “epic entertainment brands”.

a win for Arizona and beyond”

In the NBA news release, Orozco said the partnership with the NBA teams, both owned by Arizona businessman Robert Sarver, represents “shared values and celebrated principles”. He added: “Gila River Hotels & Casinos’ and Gila River Indian Community’s love for sports, and the Valley, certifies our synergy and will be a win for Arizona and beyond.”

NFL, MLB, NHL, and now NBA

Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley said that, as an entertainment leader committed to supporting communities in the Valley, Gila River Hotels & Casino was “an ideal partner for the next chapter of our storied franchise.”

The Suns-Mercury deal comes over a year after Gila River Hotels & Casinos struck a similar official casino and hotel partnership with National Football League (NFL) franchise, the Arizona Cardinals. Earlier in September 2019, the hotel and casino chain inked an almost identical agreement with Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

prominent sponsorship deals in place with teams across four major US sports leagues

The Suns-Mercury partnership means Gila River Hotels & Casinos now has prominent sponsorship deals in place with teams across four major US sports leagues.