Tag Archives: Cactus League

Blue Hound

Baseball fans score big at Hotel Palomar through March

Baseball season is rounding the corner as Spring Training has officially kicked off in Arizona with the Cactus League playing at 10 stadiums across the Valley. Fans from all over the country are taking over the Valley of the Sun to cheer on their favorite team.

Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix, is a top choice for fans looking for centrally located lodging to all of the ballparks to experience Spring Training at its best. Fans can watch all of their favorite teams, and while staying downtown, enjoy the dining and nightlife at CityScape Phoenix, as well as many other entertainment, sporting and cultural options within walking distance of the hotel.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix is offering fans the Rounding 2nd Second Base Package, which includes beautifully appointed deluxe accommodations, two specialty cocktails, $15 off transportation to get to or from the games, complimentary morning coffee and tea service in the living room, a hosted evening wine reception in the living room from 5pm until 6pm daily, complimentary access to EOS Fitness and for Kimpton Karma Rewards members, free wireless internet access. Rates from $269 (code RTWOB) and the package is valid through March 31 (877-488-1908, www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com).

Considered among the best places in the Valley for craft cocktails, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails’ head bartender, Stephanie Teslar, has created three specialty cocktails for Cubs, Royals and Angels fans. The Horsefeather (rye whiskey, lemon juice, angostura bitters, ginger beer) is a Kansas City favorite, Bobb Chinn Mai Tai (Jamaican rum, orange/pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine) is the only cocktail available at Wrigley field and served in a backpack, and a Shot and a Beer (Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Anaheim 1888 Lager) is a simple staple in Anaheim.

Hotel Palomar Phoenix is contemporary, connected and cosmopolitan, yet comfortable and welcoming all at once. A boutique hotel, Hotel Palomar Phoenix is ideally located at CityScape Phoenix, downtown Phoenix’s dining, entertainment and shopping hub, with dozens of impressive options all walking distance from the hotel’s front door. Guests are also just steps away from US Airways Center, Chase Field, the Phoenix Convention Center, the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Science Center and more amazing restaurants than you’ll have time to indulge in.

Inside the hotel is the masterfully designed space that begins in the elegant mid-century modern lobby and extends all the way to the hotel’s 242 guest rooms, 16 of which are suites. Guests find everything they need at the hotel beginning with LUSTRE Rooftop Garden, perched on the hotel’s third floor pool deck, which is an oasis in the heart of the city with sweeping views of the stunning skyline. The spacious guest rooms, some of the largest in downtown Phoenix, have modern interior touches and views of the surrounding city and mountains. Among the many guest amenities are complimentary bikes for rental to cruise around downtown along with a custom pocket map that serves as an insider’s guide to the best of the city.  

To learn more about Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape, visit www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com.

baseball

ASU takes on Diamondbacks today at Salt River Fields

Although college baseball has been underway for the better part of a month, the first major league Spring Training games start this week.

While the majority of the teams in the Cactus League will face off against each other for their respective opening days, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers have different teams to start their seasons off against.

The Diamondbacks will host Arizona State and the Brewers will host University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at their Spring Training stadiums for exhibition games.

The Diamondbacks welcome Arizona State March 3 at Salt River Fields at 3:20 p.m.

The game against ASU is the first in a round of collegiate games to occur over the coming years. The organization announced in November that they would be rotating through Arizona State, University of Arizona, and Grand Canyon University baseball teams over the next six years.

“This is a unique experience for our kids because they get to experience a big league atmosphere in the middle of our college season,” ASU Head Coach Tracy Smith said.

The Diamondbacks have close ties to ASU as current D-Backs player Tuffy Gosewisch previously played for the Sun Devils. In addition, minor league instructors Mike Benjamin and Jacob Cruz both played for ASU.

ASU has the highest winning percentage of .681 among the Pac-12 competitors. As far as the 2015 season goes, the team currently stands 7-4.

Over the weekend, the team batted through the inaugural Phoenix Muni Classic. The tournament featured Purdue, Gonzaga, and CSU Bakersfield. The Sun Devils went 3-1 in the games.

As for Milwaukee, the Brewers will host University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee March 4 at Maryvale Baseball Park at 1:05 p.m.

This game marks the first collegiate exhibition game for the Brewers since 1983 when they played Arizona State. It is also the first time the Brewers have played UWM in an exhibition game. 

“The Brewers have always wanted to do it. It was just scheduling and getting it together. Our guys are fired up to play this game,” UWM Head Coach Scott Duffek said.

While there is no set schedule for future games with the Brewers, Duffek is optimistic that this game could occur every other year or every third year.

UWM baseball is currently 5-3 for the season. In recent years, the team was the Horizon Conference champions in 2013 under Duffek.

The Panthers played Grand Canyon over the weekend, breaking even with a 2-2 out of the games. Before they play the Brewers, UWM will play Aoyama University, a university from Japan, at Surprise Municipal Stadium March 2.

The Cactus League is not alone with professional teams hosting collegiate teams for games.

In the Grapefruit League, professional teams will host collegiate teams throughout the first week. The schools include University of Tampa, Florida International University, Florida Southern, Northeastern, University of Miami, and University of Minnesota.

For tickets to either of the collegiate exhibition games or any other Cactus League Spring Training game, visit cactusleague.com.

baseball

Baseball City brings stars to Scottsdale

The City of Scottsdale and Baseball City, have announced an impressive list of Baseball Legends, All-Stars, Hall of Famers and Current Major League Baseball Players joining the premier FanFest happening Saturday and Sunday, March 7th and 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the heart of Spring Training at the Scottsdale Civic Center.

The 2015 Baseball City line-up includes:        

Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians

Billy Butler – Oakland Athletics

Steve Garvey – Los Angeles Dodgers & San Diego Padres Legend

Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers

Scott Kazmir – Oakland Athletics

Ferguson Jenkins – Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer

Bill Buckner – Boston Red Sox Legend

Yangervis Solarte – San Diego Padres

Mike Aviles – Cleveland Indians

Arismendy Alcantara – Chicago Cubs

Melky Cabrera – Chicago White Sox

Orlando Cepeda – San Francisco Giants Hall of Famer

Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks

AJ Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks

Andre Susac – San Francisco Giants

Tyler Matzek – Colorado Rockies

Sean Newcomb – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks

Baseball City, presented by the City of Scottsdale and Scottsdale CVB serves as the symbolic kick-off to Arizona Spring Training and is the premier, largest and only interactive FanFest around Spring Training. Admission is FREE and this year the interactive FanFest will be located in Scottsdale’s Civic Center, just minutes from the spring training homes of the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and several other teams.

Come and swing for the fences, test out the newest baseball products and meet Hall of Famers and All-Stars, the ultimate baseball fan experience!

Now through Thursday, March 5th at midnight score an activity bracelet in-advance for just $7 at Baseballcityexperience.com. Activity Wristbands can be purchased on-site for $10.

“If you love baseball as much as we do, then Baseball City will be your paradise for two action packed days come March,” said Michael Principe, CEO of The Legacy Agency.  “From meeting your favorite baseball stars, to the hands-on action, the excitement doesn’t stop and we have it all, including free contests and giveaways all day long at Baseball City.” 

Baseball City offers something for every baseball fan, including numerous activities and interactive elements to ensure a hands-on baseball experience. Check out Baseball City Field surrounded by a number of interactive games like speed pitch, professional batting cages, running the bases competition and lil’ sluggers.

Baseball City is also proud to announce its partnership with the Arizona SciTech Festival. From weighted bats to curveballs, the Science of Baseball presented by Arizona SciTech Festival brings unique partnerships with Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Midwestern Scientists to engage the public in hands on opportunities with the science behind sports.

Some of the Baseball City Highlights:

  • Clinics and panel discussions with current and former baseball stars
  • Fans can take a swing for the fences on the Baseball City Field
  • Test your base running abilities at the Running the Bases Competition
  • How hard can you throw? Find out at the Speed Pitch Competition
  • Kids will give it all they can at the Lil’ Sluggers Field
  • Check out some of the newest baseball products and gear
  • Player photo opportunities
  • Free contests and giveaways all day long!

In 2014, Baseball City partnered with the MLB Network to broadcast, MLB Tonight on site. MLB’s signature show joined some 6,500 fans participating in all of the action and aired the clips from the event on the show. It allowed Baseball City to reach more than 71 million subscribers nationally.  

More information on the event can be found at www.baseballcityexperience.com.  

The OH Pool Bar + Cabanas at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale.

Hotel Valley Ho anchors Cactus League experience

Original Hotel Valley Ho owner Robert Foehl, Ted Williams and Bob Feller.

Original Hotel Valley Ho owner Robert Foehl, Ted Williams and Bob Feller.

To truly embrace Arizona’s spring training experience you need to start with an anchor. For Cactus League baseball fans, there may be no better anchor than the retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho in Downtown Scottsdale.

The hotel has hosted Baseball Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Ferguson Jenkins, George Brett, Rickey Henderson and Leo Durocher. More recently, the Hotel Valley Ho has been the spring training home to Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard, Coco Crisp, Ichirio Suzuki, Barry Zito and Hideki Matsui, to name just a few.

But beyond the baseball history, the Hotel Valley Ho is centrally located with easy access to all spring training facilities in the valley, features some rooms equipped with kitchens and all rooms have access to the hotel’s amazing OH Pool Bar + Cabanas.

The hotel really hits a home run with baseball fans by offering a Spring Training Weekday Savings special. The special is valid Sundays to Wednesdays through March 31 and includes 15 percent off the best available room rate, a welcome amenity and two drinks upon arrival. Click here to make reservations or call 866-882-4484.

For a complete guide to every Cactus League team and stadium, check out the digital issue of Play Ball magazine.

STAYING CLOSE TO SCOTTSDALE?

If you’re staying at the Hotel Valley Ho or somewhere else in Scottsdale, here are some of the best hotspots to make your Spring Training game day complete:

SOL Mexican Cocina

Located at the Scottsdale Quarter, SOL Mexican Cocina’s patio is the ideal place to sit back, relax and sip on a margarita before or after a day at the ballpark. The restaurant’s menu features Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh, sustainable ingredients. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday you can stop by for SOL’s happy hour. Try some of the restaurant’s baja inspired dishes or refreshing margaritas at a discounted price. SOL is located at 15323 N Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85254. For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Old Town

Enjoy your favorite pizza while you soak up the Desert sun and spring breeze. Each of Grimaldi’s eight Arizona locations has a distinct patio. So if you’re in the mood for pizza and a cannoli or just want to enjoy a glass of vino or beer, Grimaldi’s in Old Town is a perfect place to unwind after a game. Grimaldi’s in Scottsdale is located at 4000 North Scottsdale Rd. Ste. 105. For more information, visit www.grimaldispizzeria.com.

Kelly’s at SouthBridge

To enjoy the cool weather and feel the awesome Old Town atmosphere, hit Kelly’s at SouthBridge before or after your spring training game. It’s the perfect place for some pre/post game day drinks. Join them on Wednesdays for their live music on the patio after 5 p.m. Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000 square foot upscale restaurant offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine and the perfect laid back atmosphere. Kelly’s is located at 7117 E 6th Avenue, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit www.kellysatsouthbridge.com.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery

Save some money before you hit the game with those ballpark prices and enjoy specials on their “Hoppy Hour” menu throughout the week. The dishes range in price from $2 to $5 and are offered daily. Visit their Scottsdale location at 7077 E. Bell Rd or try out their Paradise Valley location at 4731 E. Cactus Rd. www.tiltedkilt.com.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

Scottsdale’s newest dining addition, Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill, opened in February at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Hail a golf cart to take you to the games from the comfort of their 1,500 square foot patio. Enjoy happy hour, seven days a week from 3:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m. & again from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Choose from $4 featured pints, house margaritas, well drinks and featured wine. There’s even a $3.95-$5.95 food menu. The venue is located at 7014 East Camelback Road Suite 1423, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit thirstyliongastropub.com/scottsdale.

HEADING WEST?

From March 3 through April 4, baseball reigns supreme in the West Valley with five ballparks hosting more than half of the MLB teams in the Cactus League. If you’re heading toward the West Valley to check out spring training game, Westgate Entertainment District is the hub of activity for baseball fans looking to grab a bite, a few beers and sweet treats or enjoy live music and a little shopping before or after the game.

All season long, fans are encouraged to show their ticket stub to take advantage of the many deals offered by Westgate tenants including:

Saddle Ranch Chop House

20 percent discount on total food bill. Does not apply to happy hour.

http://www.srrestaurants.com/glendale, 623-889-7770

McFadden’s

20 percent discount on total bill.

http://www.mcfaddensglendale.com, 623-872-0010

Just Sports

20 percent discount on one regular-priced item.

www.justsportsaz.com, 623-872-9490

Calico Jack’s Mexican Cantina

20 percent discount on total bill.

www.calicojacksglendale.com, 623-877-5225

Crave Waffle Sandwich Creations

Buy one, get one 50 percent off. Applies to all menu items except alcohol and discounted items. Must be of equal or lesser value and cannot be combined with any other offer.

www.icravewaffles.com, 623-772-0622

OPA Life Greek Café

20 percent discount on any order.

www.opalifegreekcafe.com, 623-242-8338

Whiskey Rose Bar and Grill

Receive one free appetizer with the purchase of one regular-priced entrée.

www.whiskeyrosewestgate.com, 623-877-7673

As You Wish Pottery

50 percent discount on a regular studio fee.

www.asyouwishpottery.com, 623-772-5403

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant

15 percent discount on total bill. Offer valid for same-day ticket stubs only.

http://www.kabukirestaurants.com, 623-772-9832

IT’SUGAR

$5 off a purchase of $20 or more with same-day ticket stub.

www.itsugar.com, 623-877-8124

Fractured Prune Doughnuts

One free 16 oz. fountain soda drink with the purchase of two or more made-to-order Fractured Prune Doughnuts. Not valid in the US Airways Center, must show game-day ticket stub and valid on game days only.

www.fracturedprune.com, 623-872-0008

Cold Stone Creamery

10 percent discount on any order (excluding gift card purchases).

www.coldstonecreamery.com, 623-877-1580

Fresh Healthy Café

10 percent discount on any order.

www.cafefresh.com , 623-505-3277

Shane’s Rib Shack

20 percent discount on one regular-priced item.

www.shanesribshack.com , 623-877-7427

Mama Gina’s Pizzeria

20 percent off one regular-priced item.

www.mamaginaspizzeria.com , 623-872-0300

Johnny Rockets

10 percent discount on any order.

www.johnnyrockets.com , 623-877-2977

The Shout! House

Show your ticket stub to receive a $1 domestic draft, well wine or well liquor drink.   

http://www.theshouthouse.com/az, 623-772-1500

HotAirBalloon, WEB

Five things to do before summer in Arizona

While Phoenix natives enjoy beautiful weather in the fall and winter, it’s tough for anyone to stand outside for more than a couple minutes during the hot summer months. So, here are five outdoor activities to do with family and friends before triple-digit temperatures hit the Valley.

Lost Dutchman Trail

Lost Dutchman Trail

Hiking

Arizona is home to some of the most spectacular hikes in the country.  From Camelback Mountain to the Superstitions, there is no shortage of gorgeous trails that are close to home for many.  If you haven’t checked out these hikes yet, then there’s still time.

●    Hieroglyphic Trail –  Gold Canyon, AZ 85118
●    The Lost Dutchman State Park
●    First Water Trailhead – Srv Road 78, Arizona 85219

Have a picnic at Tempe Town Lake

Close to Mill Avenue and Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake is a great place to jog, walk your dog, play Frisbee or enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic.  Set up camp right up next to the bank on a beautiful Friday afternoon after a long week.

Spring Training

One of the best times of the year is getting the chance to watch one of the 15 Cactus League teams playing at the 10 spring training venues around the Valley. Even if you are not a huge fan of baseball, Chicago Cubs’ Sloan Park is worth checking out.  Plus, Mesa Riverview shopping mall and recreational area is nearby.

HorseRidingGo horseback riding

Horse lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike can enjoy beautiful guided rides at the Ponderosa Livery Stable at South Mountain Park.  There are more than 50 miles of trails through 18,000 acres of the beautiful Sonoran Desert.  There is nowhere else you can get the same taste of the western life and the “Cowboy Way” while enjoying beautiful scenery with family and friends.

Hot air ballooning

Want an unforgettable bird’s eye view of the desert?  Let Hot Air Expeditions take you up in the clouds, while a guide points out the McDowell, White Tank and Mazatzal mountains, Lake Pleasant, Weavers Needle and downtown Phoenix.  The San Francisco Peaks may also been seen on a clear day.  Hot Air Expeditions also offers a post-flight gourmet meal after every hot air balloon excursion.

Golden Gate Sazerac, Susan Cope

Pink Pony offers Spring Training specials fit for Giants fans

Spring Training is a few tender weeks away, and Pink Pony is already ready to round the bases with its special cocktail, Golden Gate Sazerac — an ode to the San Francisco Giants, we assume — and “bomb burger.” The specials run March 1 through April 1. The burger costs $13, the cocktail costs $11 and together they cost $20.

Golden Gate Sazerac
St. George Whiskey & Absinthe Verte – Peychauds Bitters – Demerara – Orange Peel – Anchor Steam

Umami Bomb Burger
Niman Ranch Beef – Anchor Steam Braised Onions – Soy Emulsion – Local Cheddar – Parmesan Crisp
Shredded Lettuce – Roasted Mushrooms – House Made Brioche Bun

baseball

Spring training attendance grows

Major League Baseball says spring training games drew a record average of 8,078 fans, up 7.3 percent from last year’s 7,527.

The previous mark of 7,793 had been set in 2008.

Overall attendance for 447 dates was 3,610,738, baseball’s fifth-highest total, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The Chicago Cubs drew 213,815 fans and an average of 14,254 for the first season of Cubs Park in Mesa.

baseball

Goodyear Ballpark named best in Cactus League

After a long, fierce and competitive battle of the spring training ballparks, the results are in and it’s official.

Goodyear Ballpark – the spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, has been voted as best place to see a spring training game in the Cactus League in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll.

Overall, Goodyear Ballpark – the crown jewel of the city which has been gaining notice on a national level also finished second nationally among Arizona and Florida spring training ballparks in the poll spearheaded by the newspaper’s longtime baseball writers Bob Nightengale and Paul White.

Goodyear Ballpark, which was completed in 2009 and seats 10,311, also recently was named the top “must see” spring training facility by National Public Radio’s Pittsburgh station’s travel reporter Elaine Labalme who traveled to spring training ballparks in both Arizona and Florida.

“This is quite an honor for Goodyear Ballpark,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said of USA Today’s 10Best poll. “We’re proud to be recognized as the No. 1 ballpark in the Cactus League, and thank the fans for voting us there.”

This year marked the first year of the Best Spring Training Facility category in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Travel Poll, an annual contest in the largest newspaper in the United States. Readers and fans were allowed to vote once a day for a month – from Feb. 24 to March 24.

Goodyear was edged out by Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. – the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Salt River Fields, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community, finished third.

“They told us we ran a great campaign,” said Debbie Diveney, business-operations supervisor of Goodyear Ballpark. “We tried to have fun with it – we even had fans voting live with us at the games – beginning with Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord’s urging the fans to vote during our opening weekend festivities on Feb. 28 – right up to the very end. It was a valiant effort on our part. Thanks to all the fans who participated. Wait ‘til next year.”

Westgate Entertainment District

Spring Training Deals at Westgate District

It’s time to play ball! There is no better time to enjoy a spring afternoon, the smell of freshly cut grass and the thrill of cheering on your favorite baseball team than during Spring Training in Arizona.

Baseball reigns supreme in Glendale and the West Valley from February 26 to March 29 where five ballparks host more than half of the MLB teams in the Cactus League.

With over 20 restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues, Westgate Entertainment District is the hub of activity for baseball fans looking to grab a bite, a few beers and sweet treats or enjoy live music and a little shopping before or after the game.

Westgate has partnered with Camelback Ranch-Glendale, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, to offer a flat Discount Cab rate from Westgate to the ballpark for only $15.

All season long, fans are encouraged to show their ticket stub to take advantage of the many deals offered by Westgate tenants including:

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
Show your same-day ticket stub to receive 20 percent off your bill. Not valid during happy hour and reverse happy hour. Excludes alcohol, tax, gratuity and the purchase of gift cards. One offer per party, per table, per visit. Cannot be combined with other offers or rewards. For dine-in only.
http://www.kabukirestaurants.com , 623-772-9832

McFadden’s
Enjoy 15 percent off your total bill when you show your ticket stub. The discount does not apply on event and game days.
http://www.mcfaddensglendale.com , 623-872-0010

Just Sports
Receive 20 percent off one regular-priced item when you show your ticket stub.
www.justsportsaz.com , 623-872-9490

The Shout! House
Show your ticket stub to receive a $1 well drink or $1 domestic draft.
http://www.theshouthouse.com/az , 623-772-1500

Cold Stone Creamery
Cool down with a sweet treat and receive 10 percent off any order with a same-day ticket stub (excluding gift card purchases).
www.coldstonecreamery.com , 623-877-1580

Saddle Ranch Chop House
Guests will receive 20 percent off their total bill when they show their same-day ticket stub.
http://www.srrestaurants.com/glendale , 623-889-7770

IT’SUGAR
Enjoy 20 percent off bulk candy with your spring training ticket stub. Promote code: ST14.
www.itsugar.com , 623-877-8124

Razzleberriez Frozen Yogurt
Buy one yogurt, get the second one 50 percent off when you show your same-day ticket stub. Additionally, receive $5 off when you purchase $25 or more. Discounted yogurt of equal of lesser value; offer cannot be combined with other offers.
www.razzleberriezyogurt.com , 623-877-3542

Which Wich
Receive free chips or a cookie with every wich purchase when you show your ticket stub.
www.whichwich.com , 623-977-9424

M.U.G. Men’s Ultimate Grooming
Enjoy 20 percent off the Ultimate Haircut or Ultimate Shave when you show your ticket stub.
www.mugonline.co , 623-772-7279

la Lady Boutique
Enjoy 20 percent off anything in the boutique when you show your ticket stub.
www.facebook.com/laLadyDesigns , 623-872-9677

For more information about Spring Training deals, visit www.westgateaz.com/springtraining. For information on Westgate Entertainment District, a retailer directory or to see what’s happening today, visit www.westgateaz.com.

beer

Four Peaks Brings Local Flavor to Cactus League

Four Peaks Brewing Company will be showcasing their beers throughout Cactus League stadiums this Spring beginning February 26th. “Response to Four Peaks beers by stadium concessionaires has quadrupled for 2014 over last year” according to Greg Ross, Four Peaks Marketing Director.

Stadiums include Salt River Fields, Peoria Sports Complex, Camelback Ranch, Scottsdale Stadium, Maryvale Stadium, Surprise Stadium and Tempe Diablo Stadium. Kilt Lifter, recent Silver Medalist at the Great American Beer Festival will be featured on multiple taps at every stadium. Other styles such as 8th Street Pale Ale, Sunbru, Peach Ale, Hefeweizen and Oatmeal Stout will be on tap throughout the stadiums as well. Salt River Fields, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, will also feature local craft beers from both states in in cans.

New for 2014 will be the introduction of Four Peaks Short Hop ISA. With a lower alcohol percentage less than 5%, it’s a full flavored Session IPA. Ross adds, “Four Peaks is known for its balanced and seasonable beers. We don’t feel higher alcohol content makes better beer. We want local baseball fans and those from all over the United States to be able to enjoy a couple beers while watching their favorite team and maintain control over an afternoon of fun.”

SFCalTrain1

Scottsdale Promotes Spring Training in Denver, S.F.

Spring training is a short countdown away, and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is reminding Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants fans that Scottsdale is the place to be for baseball and sunshine.

The bureau unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail on Dec. 30 to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 12.5 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through the end of March.

New to the campaign this year is a wrap placement on the San Francisco-area Cal-Train featuring #BaseballWeather, which will run from Feb. 3 to March 2. During its February run, the ad is estimated to be seen by 1.5 million riders.

In addition to the train wraps, the bureau also will promote spring training through billboard advertising in Denver, a wallscape in San Francisco, WeatherChannel.com, email marketing, pay-per-click, social media efforts and a social media contest where fans will be encouraged to tag a photo of themselves experiencing spring training in Scottsdale using #Scottsdale and #BaseballFever for a chance to win two VIP Charros Lodge tickets to one of four games at Scottsdale Stadium.

Pages on the bureau’s site as well as the 2014 Spring Training Guide (available for download) will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, and dining options. In addition, spring training packages and coupons also are available.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2013, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, and Colorado Rockies, placed first, second and fifth for league attendance, respectively.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training at Scottsdale Stadium, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

baseball

Four Peaks Makes Mark on Spring Training

This Spring Training season, locally brewed Four Peaks craft beer made its way into the hands and hearts of baseball fans from across the globe—a big step for the Tempe-based company, whose clearly-stated mission is “to craft exceptional beer and be able to share it with good people.”

Greg Ross, Director of Marketing at Four Peaks, explains the reasoning behind the recent addition: “Obviously beer and baseball have enjoyed a long marriage over the years in our country. Once we told our story to stadium management and concessionaires, we felt consumer demand and our place as the market leader could lead to a mutually beneficial addition to their concession offerings.  Our sales figures three weeks into the Cactus League season have been very strong and feedback from our concessionaires has been very positive.”

Currently, four Cactus League stadiums now boast the ever-popular Four Peaks Kilt Lifter, a full-bodied Scottish style ale, along with gold-medal winning Sunbru, a Kolsch-style lighter and more delicate style of beer. You will also find the 8th Street Ale, Arizona Peach Ale, and Hefeweizen styles at select parks. Matt Slatus, Director of Marketing & Corporate Partnerships at Camelback Ranch Stadium in Glendale which hosts both the Dodgers and White Sox, expresses his excitement: “For the first time in [Cactus League’s] history, fans have the opportunity to taste beer that may be within 48 hours of finishing the brewing process. It’s a unique opportunity for fans to enjoy a local product in its freshest state.”

Arizona is not the only state to recently introduce local craft beers to its spring training selection. This year, they are popping up in stadiums throughout the nation. Not only does this enhance the overall experience of the fans, but it also allows the unique opportunity for product exposure to markets that a company might normally miss out on. This exposure helps increase craft beer sales in those out-of-state markets where various teams are represented.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales rose 17 percent in 2012, while volume was up 15 percent. By comparison, the entire U.S. beer industry saw volume go up only 1 percent. Better beer coupled with a positive economic impact is a win-win for the community and the craft beer industry. This increased desire to “drink local” has made companies like Four Peaks valuable contributors to economic growth.

Kelly's Burger 2

Spring Training Fun at Kelly's At SouthBridge

When spring training starts, Kelly’s At SouthBridge in Old Town Scottsdale is a great place to stop to add to your fun-filled season! Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000 square foot swanky pub offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine and the perfect laid back atmosphere to celebrate the return of baseball!

All season long, simply show any spring training ticket and get 15% off your entire bill. Valid Sunday through Thursday until the end of spring training. This special discount excludes happy hour prices and other offers.

The perfect spring training menu item: Kelly’s Original Four Cut Burger, recently awarded best burger in Scottsdale by Phoenix Magazine and Best Burger by Arizona Foothills Magazine. The burger is made with a blend of short rib, sirloin, chuck and brisket, and served with your choice of side for only $14. This is only one of Kelly’s signature items that you can enjoy before or after a game.

Saguaro pool

Saguaro Scottsdale Is Giants' Official Hotel

Less than a half mile, depending on the route.  That’s the distance from Scottsdale Stadium to The Saguaro Scottsdale, the official spring training hotel of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, a chic hotel in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, will be pouring bubbly for the legions of Bay Area fans who travel to get the season’s first look at the reigning World Champs.  Of course, The Saguaro also welcomes the oodles of San Francisco transplants who now call Arizona home.

“There’s always a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding spring training, and The Saguaro Scottsdale is thrilled to be an official partner with the San Francisco Giants,” Alan Klein, Saguaro’s general manager, said. “The Saguaro is a natural hub for Giants fans.  We welcome the sea of orange and black that traditionally marks the arrival of March at our hotel.”

Splashed with vibrant colors and cushioned by an active arts district, the Saguaro Scottsdale offers a quiet yet connected retreat for baseball fans and anyone else looking to slip away from the daily grind.  The Saguaro Scottsdale is home to Distrito, a restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces, featuring traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.  Distrito was among the region’s best new destinations as ranked by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Magazine, and was named as the “Best Place To Take A Foodie” by the Phoenix New Times.

The hotel is also home to the Saguaro Spa, a sanctuary offering replenishing treatments from wraps to massages to facials.  For information regarding reservations at The Saguaro, call 877-808-2440 or visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/arizona/saguaro.

Saguaro pool

Saguaro Scottsdale Is Giants' Official Hotel

Less than a half mile, depending on the route.  That’s the distance from Scottsdale Stadium to The Saguaro Scottsdale, the official spring training hotel of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, a chic hotel in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, will be pouring bubbly for the legions of Bay Area fans who travel to get the season’s first look at the reigning World Champs.  Of course, The Saguaro also welcomes the oodles of San Francisco transplants who now call Arizona home.

“There’s always a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding spring training, and The Saguaro Scottsdale is thrilled to be an official partner with the San Francisco Giants,” Alan Klein, Saguaro’s general manager, said. “The Saguaro is a natural hub for Giants fans.  We welcome the sea of orange and black that traditionally marks the arrival of March at our hotel.”

Splashed with vibrant colors and cushioned by an active arts district, the Saguaro Scottsdale offers a quiet yet connected retreat for baseball fans and anyone else looking to slip away from the daily grind.  The Saguaro Scottsdale is home to Distrito, a restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces, featuring traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.  Distrito was among the region’s best new destinations as ranked by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Magazine, and was named as the “Best Place To Take A Foodie” by the Phoenix New Times.

The hotel is also home to the Saguaro Spa, a sanctuary offering replenishing treatments from wraps to massages to facials.  For information regarding reservations at The Saguaro, call 877-808-2440 or visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/arizona/saguaro.

Saguaro pool

Saguaro Scottsdale Is Giants' Official Hotel

Less than a half mile, depending on the route.  That’s the distance from Scottsdale Stadium to The Saguaro Scottsdale, the official spring training hotel of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, a chic hotel in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, will be pouring bubbly for the legions of Bay Area fans who travel to get the season’s first look at the reigning World Champs.  Of course, The Saguaro also welcomes the oodles of San Francisco transplants who now call Arizona home.

“There’s always a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding spring training, and The Saguaro Scottsdale is thrilled to be an official partner with the San Francisco Giants,” Alan Klein, Saguaro’s general manager, said. “The Saguaro is a natural hub for Giants fans.  We welcome the sea of orange and black that traditionally marks the arrival of March at our hotel.”

Splashed with vibrant colors and cushioned by an active arts district, the Saguaro Scottsdale offers a quiet yet connected retreat for baseball fans and anyone else looking to slip away from the daily grind.  The Saguaro Scottsdale is home to Distrito, a restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces, featuring traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.  Distrito was among the region’s best new destinations as ranked by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Magazine, and was named as the “Best Place To Take A Foodie” by the Phoenix New Times.

The hotel is also home to the Saguaro Spa, a sanctuary offering replenishing treatments from wraps to massages to facials.  For information regarding reservations at The Saguaro, call 877-808-2440 or visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/arizona/saguaro.

Saguaro pool

Saguaro Scottsdale Is Giants’ Official Hotel

Less than a half mile, depending on the route.  That’s the distance from Scottsdale Stadium to The Saguaro Scottsdale, the official spring training hotel of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, a chic hotel in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, will be pouring bubbly for the legions of Bay Area fans who travel to get the season’s first look at the reigning World Champs.  Of course, The Saguaro also welcomes the oodles of San Francisco transplants who now call Arizona home.

“There’s always a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding spring training, and The Saguaro Scottsdale is thrilled to be an official partner with the San Francisco Giants,” Alan Klein, Saguaro’s general manager, said. “The Saguaro is a natural hub for Giants fans.  We welcome the sea of orange and black that traditionally marks the arrival of March at our hotel.”

Splashed with vibrant colors and cushioned by an active arts district, the Saguaro Scottsdale offers a quiet yet connected retreat for baseball fans and anyone else looking to slip away from the daily grind.  The Saguaro Scottsdale is home to Distrito, a restaurant by Iron Chef Jose Garces, featuring traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.  Distrito was among the region’s best new destinations as ranked by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Magazine, and was named as the “Best Place To Take A Foodie” by the Phoenix New Times.

The hotel is also home to the Saguaro Spa, a sanctuary offering replenishing treatments from wraps to massages to facials.  For information regarding reservations at The Saguaro, call 877-808-2440 or visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/arizona/saguaro.

DenverLightRail1

Scottsdale CVB Wraps Spring Training promotion

In an effort to bolster leisure traffic to Scottsdale this spring training season,  the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a variety of targeted ad campaigns in its top feeder markets including Denver and San Francisco.
Following the launch of the warm-weather campaign, which featured wrapping three New York subways, the bureau has unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 53 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through March 28.

To further enhance the campaign, the bureau has also launched “30 Days of Giveaways,” a contest that allows visitors to enter once a day for a chance to win a variety of Scottsdale prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, a hot-air balloon ride for two, hotel stays for two, and an airplane ride over the city. In 2012, this contest received 1,460 entries, a number which is expected to increase this spring training season with the light rail wrap initiative and additional advertisements.

The bureau will also promote 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants’ spring training season in the San Francisco market via Weather.com. Users who access Weather.com from a desktop or mobile app will see a banner ad, which will direct viewers to PlayBallinScottsdale.com. Spring training ads will also be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the second largest newspaper in the western United States.

New pages on the bureau’s site will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, dining options, plus information on Cactus League’s Legacy Trail and the bureau’s concierge service. With help from the bureau’s members, special spring training packages and coupons are also available to visitors.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2012, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, placed first, second and third for league attendance. More than 186,828 fans attended the Diamondbacks’ games at Salt River Fields, followed by 182,565 attendees at the Rockies’ games and 168,320 attendees at the Giants’ games. In all, Cactus League events had an economic impact of about $422 million statewide and $364 million for Maricopa County.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

DenverLightRail1

Scottsdale CVB Wraps Spring Training promotion

In an effort to bolster leisure traffic to Scottsdale this spring training season,  the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a variety of targeted ad campaigns in its top feeder markets including Denver and San Francisco.
Following the launch of the warm-weather campaign, which featured wrapping three New York subways, the bureau has unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 53 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through March 28.

To further enhance the campaign, the bureau has also launched “30 Days of Giveaways,” a contest that allows visitors to enter once a day for a chance to win a variety of Scottsdale prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, a hot-air balloon ride for two, hotel stays for two, and an airplane ride over the city. In 2012, this contest received 1,460 entries, a number which is expected to increase this spring training season with the light rail wrap initiative and additional advertisements.

The bureau will also promote 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants’ spring training season in the San Francisco market via Weather.com. Users who access Weather.com from a desktop or mobile app will see a banner ad, which will direct viewers to PlayBallinScottsdale.com. Spring training ads will also be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the second largest newspaper in the western United States.

New pages on the bureau’s site will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, dining options, plus information on Cactus League’s Legacy Trail and the bureau’s concierge service. With help from the bureau’s members, special spring training packages and coupons are also available to visitors.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2012, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, placed first, second and third for league attendance. More than 186,828 fans attended the Diamondbacks’ games at Salt River Fields, followed by 182,565 attendees at the Rockies’ games and 168,320 attendees at the Giants’ games. In all, Cactus League events had an economic impact of about $422 million statewide and $364 million for Maricopa County.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

triathlon store

Sporting events pump billions into Arizona economy

If you build it, they will come.

We did. And they have.

Over the last decade, the Valley has added Jobing.com Arena, University of Phoenix Stadium, built new spring training facilities, upgraded old ones and visiting sports fans have responded by pumping billions of dollars annually into the economy. And when the Super Bowl returns to Arizona in 2015, the big winner will be the Valley, which will score an economic impact $600 million.

“If you take a look at the economic-impact studies that have been done for events such as spring training and the Fiesta Bowl and the Phoenix Open, the numbers are impressive,” says Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau. “For example, the last time the Super Bowl was here, in 2008, if you added its economic impact to that of annual events like Cactus League, the Phoenix Open, the Fiesta Bowl, and the NASCAR events at PIR, you’re looking at a number approaching $2 billion.”

But economic-impact studies alone don’t tell the whole story, Moore says.

“The enormous media value of hosting Super Bowls, college bowl games, NASCAR events, and NBA and (Majore League Baseball) all-star games simply cannot be purchased,” Moore says. “These big-time events also bring in corporate executives who use the games to entertain clients, and those executives and clients often return to town with their own corporate meetings.”

Arizona tourism leaders have utilized and marketed some its the state’s best features — sunny weather that guarantees no delays, desert scenery, excellent facilities and hotels — to become a major player in the world of sports. And the impact on the industry is staggering.

“Huge and immeasurable,” says Jesse Thompson, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. “Every traveling team spends a night in town. Every team has loyal followers who travel to see their teams. And more than just the team travel, you have sportscasters, television crews, medical teams, referees, and not to mention the hundreds of employees at these venues that service everything from security to bathroom cleaning. Also, all the ancillary travel revenues from cabs and taxis, airlines and airports, food and beverage, entertainment, and retail are huge considerations.”

Consider this:

> Cactus League baseball will have an economic impact in excess of $350 million this year; the average stay for fans will be four days; and most will spend $350 a day while they are here. “Spring training typically offers the biggest sporting-related economic boost we see every year,” says Ron Simon, general manager of Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort.
> The 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open pumped $222 million into Arizona’s economy — with direct sales tax revenue estimated to be $8.2 million — and non-local attendees spent an average of $300 per day.
> When the Super Bowl rolls back into town, 85 percent of the 73,000 fans at the game will be from out of state; 65 percent of them will be key company decision-makers; another 50,000 fans will visit without tickets; and the average Super Bowl visitor will spend $2,000 while they are here.
> Glendale alone draws between 4 million and 5 million people annually to sporting events that take place in Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment District, which contribute to the city’s increased hotel occupancy and sales tax collection throughout the year.

“The Fiesta Bowl and spring training are tremendous economic engines for Glendale and the West Valley,” says Lorraine Pino, manager of the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Both of these events bring hundreds of thousands of fans to the region. The hotel occupancy rate also reaches near capacity during spring training.”

But it’s not just high-profile athletes that drive sports tourism in Arizona. Beyond being known as a mecca for golfers, the Valley hosts high-profile events for amateur athletes that translate to big bucks for the tourism industry.

Events like Ironman Arizona and the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon are huge economic drivers because they bring not only the athletes, but their families and friends out for support which drives room nights and retail dollars for the entire community,” says Tori McLaughlin, regional director of sales and marketing, West Coast for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which includes both Hotel Palomar and FireSky Resort & Spa.

But beyond the beautiful golf courses, hiking trails and weather, Arizona has built its sports tourism empire by creating its own “Field of Dreams” story and epitomizing the “If you build it, they will come” strategy.

“There has been a major investment in the construction of spring training stadiums, including the development of new stadiums and enhancements to existing ones,” Simon says. “We’ve also seen great development and growth of the entertainment and shopping areas surrounding Chase Field in downtown Phoenix and Jobing.com Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.”

With improving infrastructure and venues, Phoenix is extremely well positioned to successfully bid for even more mega sporting events in the future, experts predict.

“Arizona’s success has created destination envy, particularly in Texas, which actually enjoys an advantage over us because they have legislation in place that allows them to provide hosting-obligation funds based on incremental visitor spending at these events,” Moore says. “In fact, both Houston and Dallas were chosen over the Valley during the last bids for the NCAA Final Four. But we’ve become a better competitor due to the metamorphosis of downtown Phoenix. We stressed this in our most recent Super Bowl bid. The fully expanded convention center, the 1,000-room Sheraton, light rail, CityScape, the new Westin and Hotel Palomar — none of these things were around in ’08, when the Super Bowl was last in Arizona. The NBA and MLB got a taste of the new downtown when they held their All-Star festivities here, and the NFL will get an even bigger taste in 2015.”

AB-DigitalIssueFeatured

AZ Business Magazine January/February 2013

AZ Business Magazine January/February 2013

Tourism hits a home run

Michael GossieOne of the greatest holiday gifts I will ever get my parents were tickets to the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Boise State. My parents are tough to buy for, they don’t need anything, but they love sports. So even though they aren’t fans of either team, they love live sports.

What they got from that gift was the experience of seeing one of the greatest games in college football history — the teams scored 22 points in the final 1:26 of regulation and 15 points in overtime, culminating with Boise State completing three do-or-die trick plays to win the game in an upset.

What’s great for the tourism industry in Arizona is that we can give those memories to visitors on a regular basis. Between Cactus League baseball, college football bowl games, the Waste Management Open, NASCAR events at PIR and the Super Bowl coming again in 2015, the Valley is a sports memory-making machine. Sports also have an economic impact on Arizona that adds up to billions of dollars annually.

In this issue of Az Business magazine, we talk about the merger of the Arizona Tourism Alliance and the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association to form the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (AzLTA), the political and economic power the new group will have, and how they will continue to utilize sporting events as a catalyst to attract more tourism dollars to the state.

Their initiatives are working. My father has already told me he’s coming in from New York this month to play some golf and check out the Waste Management Open.

Michael Gossie Signature

Michael Gossie, Managing Editor

Read more articles from this issue.

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

KOOZA Photos 2007 004

Glendale CVB Rising in the West

Game on!

Cities like Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear, Surprise, and the other 14 cities that make up the West Valley are capitalizing on the rapid expansion of tourism and hospitality amenities — particularly spring training baseball facilities and other sports-related events — to grab a bigger share of the $18 billion that Arizona’s 37 million annual visitors spend.

As tourism in the West Valley continues to grow, the Glendale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) is playing a bigger and more vital role to help drive visitors to West Valley hospitality businesses.

“The region provides the local and out-of-state traveler with an experience like no other,” says Lorraine Pino, Glendale CVB manager. “We are home to nine Cactus League spring training teams, the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix International Raceway, Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, great outdoor festivals, historic districts in each of our cities, performing arts centers and unique shopping venues. And, of course, you can be an astronaut for the day at our Challenger Space Center.”

Despite this diverse range of attractions, tourism is a relatively new industry in the West Valley. As a result, not every community in the area is equipped to implement independent marketing and promotion initiatives. Glendale CVB organizes and facilitates these initiatives, partnering with more than 100 restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities, resorts and hotels, and service organizations.

“We work closely with our hotels — such as the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, Wigwam Resort, Hilton Garden Inn Avondale and many more — to provide lead generation and conference assistance,” Pino says.

Glendale CVB also serves as a liaison to large-scale entertainment such as Cirque du Soleil, which was held at University of Phoenix Stadium this summer, and mammoth events such as the Super Bowl, which will return to Glendale in 2015.

“When the Super Bowl was last held in Glendale in 2008, the Glendale CVB was not yet in existence,” Pino says. “But now that our bureau is in place for the 2015 game, the region will be in a better position to capture a greater share of visitor spending.”

Economists estimate that hosting a Super Bowl has an economic impact of $300 million-$500 million on the region.

“In addition, realizing that this mega event impacts the entire metro area and several destinations statewide, the Glendale CVB will be working with other tourism and hospitality organizations throughout the Valley to ensure that we provide the greatest fan experience possible, and to host the best Super Bowl possible,” Pino says.

By the end of 2012, Glendale will welcome yet another visitor destination when the Tanger Outlets Westgate is completed. The 328,000-square-foot retail development will feature 85 brand-name outlet stores and is expected to bring an additional 5 million-6 million annual visitors to the area.

With economic growth in the West Valley expected to continue its upward trend for years to come, Pino insists that communities must work together to realize the greatest benefit from an increasing number of visitors.

“It’s important that we all work together and pool our resources to achieve economies of scale,” Pino says. “This is the very reason the Glendale CVB came into existence: to serve as a regional organization to promote and showcase the 14 West Valley cities and to bring tourism business to the area. This regional approach is what will be needed for our hospitality businesses to continue to grow.”

Chicago Cubs - Riverview Park - City of Mesa

Chicago Cubs, City Of Mesa Break Ground On Team's $99M Baseball Facility

The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played Tuesday night in Kansas City, but there were plenty of heavy hitters present Wednesday morning as the Chicago Cubs and the City of Mesa broke ground on a new, $99M year-round facility — Riverview Park.

Chicago Cubs - Ground BreakingThe project, at the SEC of the intersection of the Loop 101 and 202 freeways, was approved by Mesa voters in 2010. The park will feature a 15,000-fan main stadium with a video board, shaded seats and luxury suites as well as improved concessions and restrooms. Construction is scheduled to be completed before the 2014 spring training season.

“A stadium is a stadium; the beauty is the game,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. “This has been a community effort. It’s all about the Cactus League and what it means to the Valley and Arizona.”

Added Chicago Cubs Executive Vice President Mike Lufrano: “This facility will provide the best fan experience in spring training and offer world class training and development facilities for our players year round. We look forward to bringing this new ballpark to Mesa and continuing our commitment to work together on a stadium which will make the community proud.”

Dignitaries who addressed the crowd of about 200 people included Jody Davis, a former Cubs catcher; Tom Ricketts, team chairman; David Bower, principal of architectural firm Populous; Robert G. Hunt, president and CEO of general contractor Hunt Construction; and several Mesa city officials. A tribute was given to Robert Brinton, a longtime advocate of the Cactus League who passed away last October at age 60.

When completed, Riverview Park will feature four MLB fields, which the Chicago Cubs will use during spring training; team training facilities, which will provide the team year-round player development; and the 15,000-seat main stadium.

Other amenities will include multiple entrances to the park, heavily landscaped grounds, a large, open concourse, a seating bowl with 70% of the seats in the shade, and features that will capture the intimacy of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“Congratulations to Mesa, this will be a knock-dead facility,” said Bower, who added that the Phoenix office of DWL Architects-Planners will also be a part of the design team. “It will be second to none in the Cactus League.”

The Arizona State University baseball team is scheduled to play its games at Riverview Park once it is completed, but negotiations are still on-going.

For more information on Riverview Park, visit the City of Mesa’s website at www.mesaaz.gov.

The Chicago Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium - Play Ball

The Chicago Cubs' Hope Continues

The Chicago Cubs aren’t called “The Lovable Losers” for nothing.

However, when it comes to spring training, they’re one of the biggest draws in the Cactus League. Even with their 103-year World Series drought, they continually sell out their games and have set attendance records at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa for years.

With a new vice president of baseball operations (Theo Epstein) and new manager (Dale Sveum), the Cubs are optimistic about the 2012 season. Fans in the Windy City are hoping that the dynamic duo of Epstein and Sveum can help snap the Cubs’ unlucky losing streak once and for all.

Some notable players in Cubs’ lineup at Hohokam this spring inlcude Geovany Soto, Alfonso Soriano, Kerry Wood, Carlos Pena and Marion Byrd. Additions include pitchers Travis Wood and Chris Volstad, third baseman Ian Stewart and outfielder Dave Sappelt.

The Chicago Cubs are scheduled to play 16 home games at Hohokam, 17 road games in Arizona and two games against Texas in Las Vegas. The Cubs wrap up spring training on  April 3 at Hohokam  against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs were once known as the Chicago White Stockings, then became members of the National League in 1876. This makes them one of the oldest active major sports teams among those in North America. The first game they played was April 25 of that same year.

In 1907, the Cubs won their first World Series against the Detroit Tigers. They won their second and last World Series in 1908 in a rematch against Detroit.

The Cubs have trained in Mesa since 1952. Back then Hohokam Park was called Rendezvous Park, which was less than ideal in accommodating the players. However, the new state-of-the-art Hohokam Stadium took its place. Since then the Cubs have played their games at Hohokam as a member of the Cactus League.

Hohokam was built in 1997 and seats 13,074 fans. An interesting fact about this 48-acre stadium is that its scoreboard is the largest in the Cactus League, measuring a whopping 12 by 16 feet. The stadium features one practice field and one practice infield, with additional training facilities at Fitch Park that include four practice fields, one practice infield and a 25,000 square-foot clubhouse.

So grab your Cracker Jacks and baseball mitts, practice your rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and get ready for an exciting spring training. Who knows, maybe if we keep cheering. our “Lovable Losers” on they might just get a name change.