Phoenix’s Fetish for Name Changes

Phoenix’s Fetish for Name Changes

Name changes

I don’t know if this is a phenomenon specific to Phoenix, or if it occurs a lot of other places, but I noticed recently that we seem to have a fascination with changing the names of locations around the Valley. Here’s a list, off the top of my head:

(1) In 2008, Squaw Peak became Piestewa Peak, named for a female Native American soldier fallen in the Iraq War.

(2) Christown Mall, which had that name ever since it opened in 1961, became Phoenix Spectrum Mall in 2000 in attempt to modernize – but it then changed to a hybrid of Christown Spectrum Mall in 2006. Everybody still calls it Christown.

(3) The outdoor amphitheater that was originally Desert Sky Pavilion has since been:

  • Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion (1996-2001)
  • Cricket Pavilion (2001-2006)
  • Cricket Wireless Pavilion (2006-2010)
  • Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion (2010-2013)
  • Ak-Chin Pavilion (2013-present) Current naming rights are held by the Ak-Chin Indian Community, although the venue is not located on tribal land.

(4) Opened in 2002, the Dodge Theatre has since sold its naming rights, becoming Comerica Theatre in 2010.

(5) What started out as America West Arena in 1992 became US Airways Center in 2006 when the airline merged and changed names. In 2015, it sold naming rights and became the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

(6) Cardinal Stadium had its name for two short months when it opened in 2006, until the naming rights were sold and it became the University of Phoenix Stadium. However, it was announced in April 2017 that UoP is pulling out, so the hunt is on for a new sponsor – and a new name.

(7) The new hockey arena opened as Glendale Arena (2003–2006). Then it also sold naming rights and became Arena (2006–2014). It then became Gila River Arena. Is it any wonder gambling’s a big industry here, with three out of four of the local pro teams’ venues affiliated with casinos?

Don’t get me started on the college bowl games. Three Arizona games appear in the top 14 on this list of the 40 bowl games, ranked by the absurdity of their names.

What’s the point? Getting it right can be difficult for even the most diligent of authors. Stan visits a LOT of venues over the 18 months of his trek, which takes place from April 2011 through October 2012. One place he stops on his way home is Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros and formerly known as: The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, and Astros Field.


I did my best to research and fact-check every detail, but in this world of near-constant change, I’m willing to bet I got something wrong. Maybe even a couple of somethings. The goals was correctness, though – and I’m going to print this coming Spring with these facts in place. If readers find things that are off, I’m sure they’ll let me know.

What’s changed in your community since you moved there? Pictures are even better – so send us your links!


Laura’s first novel, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World is forthcoming in early 2018. Watch here for updates – and prepurchase your signed copy here.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *