Tag Archives: fiesta bowl

tostitos_fiesta_bowl_-_50_yd_line_logo

Fiesta Bowl has new leadership

The Fiesta Bowl has hired former Phoenix Coyotes CEO Mike Nealy as it executive director.

He replaces Robert Shelton, who resigned in January after spending 2 1/2 years trying to rebuild the bowl game in the wake of scandal. Shelton took over after John Junker resigned for taking part in an illegal campaign contribution scheme that ended with an eight-month federal prison sentence for him.

Nealy spent eight years as the Coyotes’ president and CEO, leading the franchise during a difficult four-year stretch without an owner.

He also worked as an executive with the Minnesota Wild for four years prior to joining the Coyotes.

In March, the Fiesta Bowl announced that Andy McCain, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Hensley Beverage Company, had been elected the 2014-15 Chairman of the Board.

McCain joined the Fiesta Bowl organization as a Board member in 2007. As Chairman of the Board, McCain will oversee the Fiesta Bowl organization, which operates the Tostitos® Fiesta Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings BowlTM and more than 40 related statewide events.

“It is an honor to be this year’s Chairman of the Fiesta Bowl,” McCain said. “I look forward to continuing the legacy started by our founders more than 40 years ago by hosting great games and events with unmatched hospitality, promoting Arizona and giving back to the community.”

Diamond Head

Arizona lands 2016 championship game

Arizona will host the College Football Playoff championship in 2016 and Tampa, Fla., will be the site of the 2017 title game.

The conference commissioners who oversee the playoffs announced Monday their choices for the sites of the second and third championship games in the new postseason system that goes into effect next season.

“This was not an easy decision,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the playoff. “It was a very competitive process. The decision was difficult because we received eight excellent proposals.”

The first championship game will played Jan. 12, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The second title game is scheduled to be played Jan. 11, 2016, in Glendale at University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Fiesta Bowl and the NFL’s Cardinals. The Fiesta Bowl is also part of the six-bowl semifinal rotation for the playoff, but it won’t host a semifinal until the 2016 season.

The other bidders for the 2016 game were Jacksonville, Fla., New Orleans and Tampa.

IMG_2769

Valley Leadership Announces 2013 Man & Women of the Year

Valley Leadership announces Gary Trujillo and Ellie Ziegler as the organization’s 2013 Man & Woman of the Year. The pair will be honored for their long-term contribution and commitment to our community at an awards luncheon in March 2014. This will be the 65th Annual Man & Woman of the Year Luncheon.

Trujillo has demonstrated long-term, proactive community leadership in the Valley for nearly four decades.  Known for his unwavering commitment to advancing educational opportunities for Arizona’s underserved students, Trujillo and his wife Melissa founded the      Be A Leader Foundation in 2002.  In 1994, he created Roosevelt Community Technology Center (RCTC) giving underprivileged youth access to state-of-the-art computer and software. Trujillo serves on numerous community boards including Arizona State University Foundation, Arizona College Scholarship Foundation, Arizona Community College Council, Well Fargo Bank Advisory Board, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association and Hispanic Business Students Association.  Currently, he is chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Harvard Group Venture Capital.

“Gary embodies Valley Leadership’s mission by advocating and modeling the importance of the life cycle of giving,” said Tom Ambrose, co-chair of this year’s Selection Committee. “He is dedicated to helping others achieve greatness by serving and strengthening their community.”

Ziegler is dedicated to serving multiple philanthropic support and non-profit organizations benefitting education, arts, athletics, Boys and Girls clubs, healthcare and human services.  She is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with a career spanning 25 years working with Valley organizations including Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Jennings & Thompson and Westcor.

She is most known for her leadership with the Fiesta Bowl providing more than 30 years of active volunteerism. In 2006, she led a staff of 28 and 3,000 community volunteers in the execution of three national college Bowl games and 50 statewide events as chairman of the Board.  Ziegler not only gives her time, but commits resources to many worth causes.  She provided the lead gift to raise funds for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and for Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s Campus for Exceptional Children in Phoenix.

Currently, Ziegler is leading scholarship, after school, hunger and family support projects for Boys & Girls Clubs of Phoenix and Scottsdale, United Way and Barrow Neurological Institute.

“Ellie’s innate leadership abilities motivate her fellow citizens to give back to their communities,” said Ambassador Barbara Barrett, Selection Committee co-chair.   “Her selfless service to her community is shining example of what it means to be a Valley Leadership Women of the Year.”

Trujillo and Ziegler join a prestigious list of past Man & Woman of the Year award recipients.  U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was honored as the inaugural Man of the Year and most recently Tom Ambrose and Ambassador Barbara Barrett were recognized as the 2012 recipients.

The newest inductees will be formally recognized at a luncheon on March 27, 2014, at the Arizona Biltmore. For more information or to purchase seats or sponsorships, call the Valley Leadership office at (602) 952-6760 or visit www.valleyleadership.org.

IMG_2769

Valley Leadership Announces 2013 Man & Women of the Year

Valley Leadership announces Gary Trujillo and Ellie Ziegler as the organization’s 2013 Man & Woman of the Year. The pair will be honored for their long-term contribution and commitment to our community at an awards luncheon in March 2014. This will be the 65th Annual Man & Woman of the Year Luncheon.

Trujillo has demonstrated long-term, proactive community leadership in the Valley for nearly four decades.  Known for his unwavering commitment to advancing educational opportunities for Arizona’s underserved students, Trujillo and his wife Melissa founded the      Be A Leader Foundation in 2002.  In 1994, he created Roosevelt Community Technology Center (RCTC) giving underprivileged youth access to state-of-the-art computer and software. Trujillo serves on numerous community boards including Arizona State University Foundation, Arizona College Scholarship Foundation, Arizona Community College Council, Well Fargo Bank Advisory Board, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association and Hispanic Business Students Association.  Currently, he is chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Harvard Group Venture Capital.

“Gary embodies Valley Leadership’s mission by advocating and modeling the importance of the life cycle of giving,” said Tom Ambrose, co-chair of this year’s Selection Committee. “He is dedicated to helping others achieve greatness by serving and strengthening their community.”

Ziegler is dedicated to serving multiple philanthropic support and non-profit organizations benefitting education, arts, athletics, Boys and Girls clubs, healthcare and human services.  She is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with a career spanning 25 years working with Valley organizations including Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Jennings & Thompson and Westcor.

She is most known for her leadership with the Fiesta Bowl providing more than 30 years of active volunteerism. In 2006, she led a staff of 28 and 3,000 community volunteers in the execution of three national college Bowl games and 50 statewide events as chairman of the Board.  Ziegler not only gives her time, but commits resources to many worth causes.  She provided the lead gift to raise funds for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and for Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s Campus for Exceptional Children in Phoenix.

Currently, Ziegler is leading scholarship, after school, hunger and family support projects for Boys & Girls Clubs of Phoenix and Scottsdale, United Way and Barrow Neurological Institute.

“Ellie’s innate leadership abilities motivate her fellow citizens to give back to their communities,” said Ambassador Barbara Barrett, Selection Committee co-chair.   “Her selfless service to her community is shining example of what it means to be a Valley Leadership Women of the Year.”

Trujillo and Ziegler join a prestigious list of past Man & Woman of the Year award recipients.  U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was honored as the inaugural Man of the Year and most recently Tom Ambrose and Ambassador Barbara Barrett were recognized as the 2012 recipients.

The newest inductees will be formally recognized at a luncheon on March 27, 2014, at the Arizona Biltmore. For more information or to purchase seats or sponsorships, call the Valley Leadership office at (602) 952-6760 or visit www.valleyleadership.org.

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.”

Photo: Andy Jou

Top 5: Sporting Events (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Sporting Events — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Nascar Sprint Cup Series

7602 S. Avondale Blvd.,
Avondale, AZ 85323
(623) 772-2000
phoenixraceway.com
Held at the Phoenix International Raceway, the Sprint Cup Series is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.


WM Phoenix Open

7226 N. 16th St., #100,
Phoenix, AZ 85020
(602) 870-0163
wmphoenixopen.com
One of the PGA’s premiere tour stops, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is a must-see tournament for all professional golf enthusiasts.


Fiesta Bowl

7135 E. Camelback Rd.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 350-0900
fiestabowl.org
One of the largest events in college football, the Fiesta Bowl takes place at the start of the new year and is part of the Bowl Championship Series.


Cactus League Spring Training

16101 N. 83rd Ave.,
Peoria, AZ 85382
(623) 773-8700
cactusleague.com
Watch your favorite West Coast baseball teams prepare for the fall season during spring training games. Ticket prices range from $6 to $23 dollars.


Accenture Match Play Championship

15000 N. Secret Springs Dr.,
Marana, AZ 85658
(520) 572-3500
worldgolfchampionships.com
The Accenture Match championship is a knockout event hosted in January and February — opening the world golf tournament season.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

 

ryan

Ryan House announces new leadership

Ryan House, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that provides respite and palliative care to Arizona children facing life-threatening conditions and, as needed, end-of-life care, is pleased to announce a new Executive Director and Chairman of their Board of Directors.   The nonprofit recently selected Julie Bank as their new Executive Director and Matthew Winter has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board.

Bank comes to Ryan House with more than 25 years of experience in program planning, administration, communications and marketing experience in the nonprofit sector on both the national and local level.  She brings strong qualifications that will enhance Ryan House’s fundraising, program development, and donor relations. Bank will be responsible for a budget of $2million while overseeing the staff and work in collaboration with severalcommunity partners.

“I look forward to furthering the mission of Ryan House and to bring awareness to the good work being done through our respite, palliative and end-of-life care program,” said Bank.  “I have a passion to want to help children and will look forward to bringing my nonprofit expertise to help serve the children and families of Ryan House.”

Bank has previously worked for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as the Director of Education, at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control and most recently was the Executive Director at Animal Care & Control of NYC, running the largest animal welfare organization in the North East.  Bank also has spent more than eight years as a CASA volunteer helping children in the foster care system in Calif., New York and Ariz.

In addition, the Board of Directors recently elected Matthew Winter as the Chairman of the Board. He is currently the managing member ofWinter Law Group, P.L.C., founded by Winter in 2008.  He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial transactions and litigation, and has been practicing law for 20 years.

Winter is committed to serving youth through various community organizations and sports, coaching youth football and baseball and serving as an instructor at various youth sports clinics.  He joined the Board of Directors of Ryan House in 2011 to further his personal commitment to helping youth in the community.

“Ryan House truly is a unique nonprofit in our community and in the country,” said Winter.  “ I am honored to be a part of their leadership and look forward to making great strides to bring awareness to such a needed program.”

Winter currently also serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, after having served as a member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee since 1997.

Sky Harbor Airport

Sky Harbor Offers Parking Deals, Travel Tips

Traveling for New Year’s? Here are a few things you need to know about traveling from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Sky Harbor is ready for the holidays with extra staff and volunteers to serve customers. Every day from now through January 3 will be busy. Busy days continue as travelers visit the Valley for the New Year, Insight Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. On an average day Sky Harbor serves 90,000-100,000 passengers, but this holiday period will average 130,000.

If you are planning to park at the Airport now through January 4, Sky Harbor is offering a coupon for 40 percent off the terminal garage rate. Download the coupon from skyharbor.com and park in the terminal garage for just $15 per day, compared with the usual rate of $25. This means no waiting for buses ― just drive to your terminal, park, and walk directly to your gate.

Upon exiting the parking garage, use one of the lanes with a parking attendant so they may credit you the coupon amount. You may still pay with a credit card, but the Credit Card Only lanes have no attendant to process the coupon. For parking availability, visit skyharbor.com/FindASpot or call the 24-hour parking information hotline at (602) 273-4545.

Travel tips for the holidays:

  • Get to the airport two hours before your flight departs, especially if you are parking in economy areas or checking bags.
  • Liquids and gels must be in 3 oz containers or less for carry-on bags and placed in a zip top bag. Larger quantities of medically necessary liquids are allowed at the discretion of TSA screeners.
  • Bring a snack or meal for the plane. Food may be carried through security and beverages may be purchased past security and brought onto the aircraft.
  • Visit skyharbor.com on your smart-phone to access our mobile website where you can find out what food and shops are near your gate as well as other Airport information.
  • If you park in the Economy Parking lots, look for a sign to scan a QR Code.  Use your phone to scan it and you will be sent a note reminding you where you parked.
  • Remove large electronics from your carry-on bags and place them in their own TSA bin.
  • Mark your bags and electronics clearly so you recognize them immediately.  Have your claim check or ID ready at baggage claim when you return to Phoenix so that if you are approached by staff, you won’t be delayed looking for this information.
  • Use the free cell phone lots to wait for arriving passengers and avoid circling the terminals.
Glendale CVB - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

Glendale CVB Expands Its Mission, Scope By Serving Entire West Valley

Glendale CVB – Whether travelers are visiting for leisure or business, Glendale has blossomed from being considered a one-day destination to a highly sought-after travel experience both nationally and internationally in a single decade. And to successfully market Glendale’s increasing expansion as the host city of sporting and mega-events — as well as the entire West Valley — the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) was formed in July 2010.

The first incarnation of the CVB was formed in 2007, with partners comprised of representatives from Glendale, Westgate City Center, University of Phoenix Stadium and Jobing.com Arena. This group was called the West Valley Events Coalition and eventually grew to 300 members. Its growth led to the creation of the CVB within three years.

“As a brand new CVB, one of our primary focuses is to increase awareness and exposure of our region through various activities that showcase the West Valley,” says Lorraine Pino, manager of the CVB.

The Glendale CVB promotes Glendale are through a regional visitors guide and sponsoring events to media buyers in national and international markets.

With venues such as the Phoenix International Raceway in Peoria, Jobing.com Arena in Glendale and spring training sites across the region, the Glendale CVB has successfully collaborated with businesses and West Valley cities to make these events possible and boost tourism.

According to Pino, the spring training facilities generate $328 million annually, and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale generates $200 million per year. In addition, there is revenue from concerts, Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes games and NASCAR events. As a result, hotel room count in Glendale alone has more than tripled from 400 rooms in 2007 to nearly 1,500.

“The West Valley is the real hub of spring training in Arizona, showcasing nine of 15 teams in the Cactus League,” says Frank Ashmore, director of sales and marketing for The Wigwam in Litchfield Park.

Because the CVB has been able to bring sporting events to the area, in turn attracting visitors, businesses in the region are benefiting.

The events have made a huge impact on all neighboringbars and restaurants, says Michelle Sniegowski, sales and marketing manager for The Shout! House in Glendale.

“The events bring in thousands of people; they fill our venue and in turn boost our economy,” she says.

One attraction vitally important to the Glendale area, according to Pino, is Westgate City Center. It generates tax revenue by drawing visitors from around the world.

Paul Corliss, director of communications for the Phoenix International Raceway, says “the West Valley certainly deserves attention.”

“It’s the quality of dining, shopping, hotel rooms, spas, convention space and more that keep (tourists) coming back,” says Nicole Traynor, director of public relations for Westgate City Center.

As West Valley tourism increases, The Wigwam is receiving a facelift from its new owner, the development company JDM Partners. Headed by former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo and his partners Mel Shultz and David Eaton, JDM Partners is investing in the multimillion-dollar restoration, with Phase I recently completed.

It seems to be making a difference. “Group markets are up nearly 50 percent over the last year,” Ashmore says.

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Political junkets

Politicians Need To Travel, But They Also Have To Be Aware Of The Pitfalls

In light of the Fiesta Bowl scandal, we can expect a higher level of scrutiny when it comes to our elected officials and their travel. People will be very fixated on our politicians’ trips abroad and the reasons for them. This isn’t a new issue, but it is an issue that sometimes goes unnoticed and then other times receives a lot of attention (especially after controversy).

I had a friend ask me why it seems so hard for elected officials to just say no to travel, especially when it may be so obviously a junket. Having been in elected office, I can only tell you that this issue isn’t always so black and white. I traveled a few times in the four years I served and never felt like I took a single junket, but others might disagree.

When staff or some other outside interest first approached me about traveling, there were often selling points introduced up front. It starts with why the trip needed to be taken. Next was the explanation of who would be paying for the trip (taxpayers, a nonprofit, business, etc.). Occasionally, and this could be the biggest indicator of whether it would be a junket or not, they might give you validation statements: “This won’t even be noticed.”  “Everybody does it.”  “Nobody will care.” Sadly, sometimes those points are accurate. Now I am not excusing what happened with the Fiesta Bowl “junketeers” as they are being called, but this temptation can cloud your perspective.

The saddest part about blatant abuses is that it taints everybody. There are trips that we should have our elected officials take. Without a doubt the public receives benefit from some of these trips. The most obvious example I have is of Sen. Lamar Alexander when he was governor of Tennessee. The state’s economy was in bad shape, so he spent time traveling in the Far East, where he was able to convince a Japanese car company to build a plant in Tennessee. Without a doubt this benefited his state and probably could not have been done without direct “on-the-ground” contact.

With economic development you also run into the issue that you can’t expect an obvious result attached to each trip. Sometimes you need to cultivate relationships. A trip may not bring an exact result, but eventually it might pay off with a win such as Tennessee received.

Then you run into the question of how important is diplomacy? Does the public receive a benefit from elected officials having meetings with other elected officials from both the U.S. and abroad? The city of Phoenix has benefited greatly by elected officials traveling to Washington, D.C. to pursue grant dollars and other assistance.

Sometimes the public has the view that any travel is a “perk” and unjustified. When I was on council, I was involved in a program called River Rampage. This program took inner-city kids and youth with physical disabilities on a river trip. Each kid had to perform 40 hours of community service. In order to accomplish this, they used volunteers who had to go through an orientation, help three or four kids get their service in (which meant serving with them), and then make sure they had the appropriate gear for the trip. After months of working with these kids, it ended with a one-week trip on the river. I volunteered with River Rampage. My office staff worried that this trip would be viewed as a “free” river trip junket as opposed to me volunteering in a youth program. Fortunately, that accusation was never made, but it was a concern.

Without a doubt there are abuses that occur in elected officials’ travel. These abuses are harmful to the public because they create a sense that elected officials are in it for their own pleasure. But beyond that, these abuses also create fear within the elected ranks that might prevent officials from taking trips that are important and would serve the public.

Fiesta Bowl, Junker Terminated

Investigation Leads to Termination of Fiesta Bowl President and CEO John Junker


The Fiesta Bowl today released the findings of a far-reaching and comprehensive investigation by an independent Special Committee of the Board of Directors that has led to the immediate termination of president and CEO John Junker.


The investigation examined issues related to the reimbursement of campaign contributions; a previous investigation conducted by former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods; excessive executive compensation; and inappropriate expenditures and gifts.

The Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors formed the independent Special Committee to investigate allegations of wrongdoing after an employee came forward to provide information about some of the alleged misconduct. The Special Committee, which was composed of retired Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and Fiesta Bowl Directors Jim Bruner and Steve Whiteman, conducted a wide-ranging, five-month investigation.

The investigation included the review of more than 55 gigabytes of electronic data and of tens of thousands of pages of documents, and interviews with more than 50 individuals. Two former FBI agents and a retired Maricopa County Deputy Criminal Chief assisted the Special Committee with its interviews and fact-finding mission.

The Special Committee uncovered many facts, including:

  • An apparent scheme to reimburse at least $46,539 in improper campaign contributions.
  • A flawed initial investigation and an apparent conspiracy to conceal the reimbursement scheme from the Board of Directors and state officials.
  • Unauthorized and excessive compensation, non-business and inappropriate expenditures (including a $1,200 bill at a Valley strip club) and inappropriate gifts.

After reviewing the results of the Special Committee’s investigation, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to fire Junker for his role in the improper and inappropriate activities documented in the final report. Junker was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 14 after failing to comply with two written directives by the Fiesta Bowl to cooperate with the Special Committee’s investigation.

“We are extremely disappointed and angered by the findings of the Special Committee’s investigation,” said Duane Woods, chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “While the Special Committee Final Report speaks for itself, I must say that the actions undertaken and orchestrated by John Junker and others are shocking and completely unacceptable.

“Their actions, unfortunately, have tainted the stellar reputation that the Fiesta Bowl has worked so hard to maintain for more than 40 years. The Fiesta Bowl, however, is greater than a few individuals; it is the product of thousands of dedicated volunteers and exemplary employees who work tirelessly and care so deeply about the Fiesta Bowl and all it does for the state of Arizona.”

Special Committee member and former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor praised the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors for establishing and empowering the Special Committee.

“It took great courage for the Board to take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of these allegations and review its business practices,” McGregor said. “The Special Committee was instructed to complete a full investigation and follow the facts wherever they led. With the assistance of our independent legal counsel and other experts, we worked very hard in our fact-finding mission to determine exactly what transpired.

“We are confident that our report is thorough and accurate. Although the findings are deeply disturbing, I am gratified that the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors is moving forward with affirmative and concrete steps to address its problems.”

Woods added, “The Fiesta Bowl is legally bound and highly motivated to recover money that was misappropriated and will be examining all of our options to do so. I want to thank Justice McGregor and our Special Committee for their thorough investigation. The Fiesta Bowl will continue its full cooperation with the Arizona Attorney General’s investigation.”