The Phoenix Suns NBA basketball team will double its arena capacity to 3,000 fans from next week after successfully hosting 1,500 spectators during games this week.

Up to 3,000 fans will be inside Phoenix Suns Arena for next Tuesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. The expansion comes after the Suns hosted 1,500 fans in two-person and four-person socially distanced pods.

More pods will be added in the upper level of Phoenix Suns Arena ahead of the Nets game, with a limited number of floor seat pods to be offered. The Suns will also offer Party Pods for groups of four to six fans.

These pods will be located in the arena’s private luxury suites and will offer a choice of food and beverage package, one parking pass for the group, a dedicated restroom within the suite and a private shopping experience. Pricing for the Party Pods will start at $300 (£217/€247) to $500 per seat and will vary per game. Anyone who purchases a Party Pod during the regular season will be given priority access to purchase a Party Pod and/or suite rental during the end-of-season play-offs.

All floor seats will be located at least 10 feet from the sidelines, and fans will be required to remain masked at all times. Fans will not be permitted to eat or drink while in the floor area and all floor seat ticket holders will need to accept COVID-19 testing protocols put in place by the Suns and the NBA.

The Suns welcomed fans back for the first time during the 2020-21 season on Sunday for the game against the Boston Celtics, with the team having offered complimentary tickets to healthcare workers and their families in two-person or four-person socially distanced pods.

The Suns also welcomed fans for games against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday and the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday (Wednesday).

Phoenix Suns Arena is now a GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory Council) STAR accredited facility. Among the procedures set out for fan attendance, prior to attending any game, all guests at Phoenix Suns Arena will be required to submit a ‘Fan Promise’ – an online, standardised health questionnaire about COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. The Fan Promise will be accessible via the Official Suns App and must be completed by every fan, employee and vendor entering the venue.

Fans returning will be able to sample an array of improvements made to the venue. In December, the Suns unveiled new hospitality offerings as part of their ongoing arena renovation project. Daktronics has also been engaged in a venue-wide LED makeover.

Phoenix Suns Arena is also home to the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team, which has announced plans to return home to the venue if WNBA games are played in team markets in 2021.

The team has called the arena home its entire 25-year history but had planned on playing 2020 and 2021 home games at Phoenix’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum while renovation work was carried out at the venue. The 2020 WNBA season was held in a bubble environment in Florida but the Mercury will, league-permitting, return to Phoenix Suns Arena with renovation work now 80% complete.

Image: Christy Radecic