AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 15: Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Phoenix International Raceway will officially be renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway on Nov. 15, 2015 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, PIR President Bryan R. Sperber announced today. The race is the semifinal race for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and will be Gordon’s last Sprint Cup Series race at the track as a full-time competitor.
Tickets for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 start at $25 and are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 866-408-RACE (7223) or at the PIR box office. The green flag for the semifinal race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will fall at 12:30 p.m. local time.
“Jeff has had an amazing career in NASCAR, both as a tremendously successful competitor and as an incredible ambassador for the sport,” Sperber said. “When we thought about how to recognize his accomplishments for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, we knew we had to put together a celebration that was bigger than anything we’ve done in the past. It doesn’t get bigger than renaming the race track and Jeff Gordon is a person who is truly deserving of that honor.”
The renaming of the track will be a way for all PIR fans to celebrate the importance Gordon had on the track, the fans and the sport as a whole. It is the first time that a track has been renamed for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“It’s an honor to have the track named after me, even if only for a day,” said Gordon. “What a cool gesture by Bryan Sperber, his staff and ISC. I’ve had some great moments at Phoenix International Raceway, and this will just add to the many great memories I have of racing in Phoenix.”
PIR will also release a series of five individual trading cards featuring Gordon’s image and key moments throughout his 24-year career at PIR. A limited number of each card will be randomly distributed to ticket holders both with their ticket mailing and at the gates each day during the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 race weekend. Fans will have the opportunity to trade with each other at locations on the Fan Midway throughout the weekend in order to collect the complete set.
Leading up to the race, PIR will present 24 Moments of Greatness on its social media channels highlighting some of the track’s and fans’ favorite moments with Jeff Gordon.
In addition, the event will be commemorated with an official logo displayed throughout the track, and fans will be able to purchase apparel online and on race weekend through a partnership with Fanatics, the market leader for licensed sports retail.
Gordon has four career wins at PIR, including three in NASCAR-sanctioned races. Each of his wins represented a significant moment to the track’s history. On Nov. 6, 1999, he raced to victory in the inaugural Xfinity Series race at Phoenix, before tying the legendary Dale Earnhardt with his 76th career Sprint Cup Series win on April 21, 2007. Forever etching his name into PIR history, Gordon kicked off the repaving of the track by digging the first piece of pavement following his win on Feb. 27, 2011. His 23 top-10 finishes at Phoenix is a track record, and he will tie Mark Martin for the record for most Sprint Cup Series starts at PIR in November when he makes his 34th start.
In January of 2015, Gordon announced that the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season would be his last. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will join the FOX broadcast team full-time in 2016 as race analyst.
The 2015 Super Bowl kicked off an unprecedented run for the Phoenix metro area as the host of mega-sporting events. But if the Valley is going to continue to lure Super Bowls, NCAA championship football games and Final Fours, leaders in the sports community say the current system needs to be improved.
“We’re playing with a bow and arrow and everybody else is playing with a howitzer,” said Jon Schmieder, founder and CEO of the Huddle Up Group that is based in Phoenix and consults with sports commissions across the country.
The howitzer belongs to cities like Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Miami that have deep pockets and one central sports commission with full-time staffers.
Phoenix, in conjunction with Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa, won bids for high-profile collegiate and professional events without the benefit of a unified sports commission to spearhead the effort. The successful bids were the results of hard work by dozens of people around the city, none of whom work together under one roof on a regular basis.
Phoenix might be in danger of falling behind other cities if it doesn’t update the system used to organize these events.
In 2016, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. One year later, the Men’s Final Four rolls into the Valley.
These rotating events complement the annual large-scale sporting events that call the Greater Phoenix area home. For more than 40 years, college football pageantry has descended on the Valley with the Fiesta Bowl and, more recently, the Cactus Bowl. Phoenix International Raceway hosts two NASCAR races every year. The Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale is arguably the most raucous and fan-friendly tournament on the PGA Tour.
And the city hosted two Super Bowls in seven years.
When the pieces fit together, the picture seems clear: Phoenix has carved out a place among the major host cities of the nation’s biggest sporting events.
The question now becomes: Can the metro area maintain its hot streak?
David Rousseau, president of the Salt River Project and chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, worries the current system of assembling a different committee each time a new event comes to town could hinder future attempts to secure and produce the events.
“That (system), at some point, is going to start to be this frayed, fragmented effort,” he said. “I think there’s some value in just continuing to improve upon and refine that effort and you can only do that if you have that one platform model as opposed to startup efforts every time a new bid opportunity comes by.”
Only one person served on both the 2008 and 2015 Super Bowl host committees. Several members of the 2015 committee have transitioned to the Arizona Organizing Committee that will produce the college football championship game. But the majority of the Super Bowl host committee members have taken other jobs and gone their separate ways.
Each loss means some institutional knowledge gained from valuable experience is siphoned off, but the lack of overall consistency in personnel from committee to committee doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in the quality of the event.
By all accounts, the 2015 Super Bowl was a major success for the Valley. Rousseau hopes the economic impact report being produced by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business will show numbers that equal or exceed the half-billion dollars of direct-spend money he said was captured around the 2008 game.
“We’ve never been better in terms of customer satisfaction than we are right now but we don’t have a staff to go ahead and go forward and secure that commitment for future bids,” Rousseau said.
Tom Sadler, president of the Arizona Organizing Committee, shined a positive light on the current model but also acknowledged there might be a better way to operate.
“I wouldn’t say it puts us at a disadvantage when we are bidding head to head … because at the end of the day we’ll rise to the occasion,” he said. “Could it be more efficient to have an overarching commission overseeing this so we’re not reinventing the wheel every year? The answer is yes.”
Sadler is a busy man in the landscape of mega-events en route to the Valley. As president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, he is the head of the group that oversees the operation of University of Phoenix Stadium. He was also co-bid chair for the Final Four.
“I would like to see an organization that would respond to not just the big three mega events – Super Bowl, college champ, Final Four – but soccer events, entertainment events, to be an agency that’s nimble enough to be on the leading edge of competition with these other cities,” Sadler said.
Cities that perennially host major sporting events in the country are the competition: Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis. The New York Super Bowl opened the door for so-calledcold-weather cities to host the game.
Minneapolis was awarded the game in 2018, to be played in a new domed stadium.
Those cities, as well as many others in the rotation for at least one of the big events, have one central sports commission to oversee the recruitment and coordination of events of all sizes. The size and scope of the commission varies from city to city.
Individual committees can be formed on an as-needed basis or the commission itself can double as the host committee, as is the case with the Dallas Sports Commission.
“The sports commission is the local organizing committee (for the 2017 Women’s Final Four),” said Larry Kelly, communications and marketing manager for the Dallas Sports Commission. “It varies event to event but on all the collegiate and amateur events that we bring in, we’re the local organizing committee. And then on the major professional events, depending on the event, there will be a larger committee involved.”
The oldest sports commission in the country is the Indianapolis Sports Corp. Founded in 1979, its website lists close to 30 full-time employees who run departments like business development, finance and events.
Miami’s sports commission is one of the smallest, though the city is obviously a prime destination. The staff is comprised of only two people but the commission’s large board of directors, which includes ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard, helps bring in all types of events.
“We have a very wide array of board members so that helps bridge a lot of the gaps and helps bring everyone together,” said Miami-Dade Sports Commission Associate Executive Director Mathew Ratner.
Despite the size and duties of a specific commission, the NFL requires each host city to form a new stand-alone committee to oversee the production of a Super Bowl. Even with an all-hands-on-deck mentality, the effort required for success is enormous.
“It is a herculean task put together an effective bid,” Sadler said. “It’s beyond herculean to execute these events when they come out.”
Two themes run through the discussion when the word “fundraising” comes up among metro-area leaders of the sports community: Arizona could benefit from a state fund for mega-events similar to the one used in Texas. Fundraising on an event-by-event basis is not a sustainable model for the future if Phoenix wants to remain competitive with other markets.
“Our fundraising focus was on largely (the) business community and I think we probably raised on the order of 70 percent of our dollars of the $30 million that it took to host the game from our business community,” Rousseau said.
With three mega-events landing in the Valley in consecutive years, the concern is each host committee must try to raise money from the same small pool of potential donors.
“We just can’t year in and year out count on the support from the private sector,” Sadler said. “I think it’s possible to do it for a few years in the short run, but year after year would be very difficult, and that’s why we need the state’s help.”
Texas has adjusted and amended its model over the years, but the concept has remained the same. If an event hosted in the state can prove a certain level of revenue was generated during its run, the state will reimburse the host committee for a percentage of its operating budget on par with the money earned.
The host committee can then pass some of those savings on to the rights holder of the event to hopefully ensure the event returns in the future and also roll some of the money over to pursue subsequent events.
Said Kelly: “The Texas Major Event Trust Fund program has been a tremendous success story for the city of Dallas and its ability to attract and retain major sporting events and certain citywide conventions to the state of Texas, and to Dallas.”
Texas has $50 million authorized for the fund for the 2015 fiscal year.
While many sports leaders in Phoenix agree a state fund would be beneficial, if not necessary, they also agree the $50 million figure is probably too high for Arizona.
“I frankly think that’s too rich of a model,” Rousseau said.
The exact dollar amount feasible in Arizona is debatable, but attempts to create such a fund have already begun.
In 2014, former state Rep. Tom Forese, R-Gilbert, introduced a bill that would have created a $10 million fund, though he and others were quick to say the fund must be carefully regulated.
“It’s a very competitive environment when you’re chasing opportunities like this, so you want to give the state every competitive advantage and yet you don’t want to be throwing money blindly at anything,” said Forese, now a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. “So the model that we had was a revolving fund, and it was a fund that could be used in order to provide that competitive edge and then be reimbursed by the proceeds of the event.”
The bill did not make it through the Legislature, but Sadler, who helped promote the bill, hopes to keep the issue alive.
“Given the state’s current economic status, it wasn’t a great time to enter into that conversation, but we’re going to keep it on the front burner and see if we can get something enacted,” he said.
The challenges of raising money in the Valley can be daunting, and proponents of the fund say it would help ease the burden on both the host committees and local businesses.
The Phoenix metro area is home to only four Fortune 500 companies, according to the 2014 list compiled by Fortune magazine. By comparison, Dallas and Minneapolis both have 18 and Atlanta has 16.
Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix, has the unique experience of having worked with the Texas fund during his 14 years at the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and 14 years at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has overseen Visit Phoenix for 13 years and sees the need for some kind of state fund for events.
“Those states that enjoy mega-event funding have clearly placed us at a disadvantage. It’s no longer just that our good weather is going to bring mega events here. It has to be an organized, consistent, well-funded effort that is a great business model, that is inclusive and aware, and abides by the sunshine (law) of open government.”
Questions without answers
The reason for a central sports commission, which would recruit and coordinate major sporting events in the Valley, seem plentiful. However, the idea is rife with questions.
Alan Young, COO of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission, which primarily organizes youth and amateur events, sees several outstanding issues that would need to be addressed.
“I think the main question to ask is, what do the citizens believe?” he said. “What is the overall concept of this? Is building stadiums a drain on the economic impact of the community or is it a positive, is it a plus? Investing in these events – is it a drain on the citizens, the taxation, or is it a good investment? Is it a good business decision or not?”
Despite numerous questions, Young is in favor of a unified sports commission and a state fund.
“I certainly believe and our commission believes it’s a great business decision to invest in these types of events but getting the Legislature, getting the citizens, to buy into this has always been a difficult task,” he said.
Steve Moore speculated about the uses of a potential state fund for event production.
“Is this (state fund) something you’d use for a national political convention?” he asked. “That’s a partisan event. Would you use that for it? Is there an answer to that? That’s not a sports commission issue, but it’s a mega-event issue.”
Tom Sadler raised the issue of the year-round responsibilities of the prospective commission.
“What does this commission do between bids and between executing these bids?”
Opinions and theories are abundant in the sports community, and the discussion is ongoing. The goal, though, is the same for all.
“When we have these national sporting events … they’re massive economic drivers and so it’s much more than just sports,” said Commissioner Forese. “This is a way to put Arizona’s best foot forward, and also it’s a way to have people come and take a look at Arizona and consider moving here or moving their business here.”
Phoenix International Raceway has announced the operating schedule for its Park ‘N Ride program – encouraging race fans to take advantage of the convenient shuttle service when traveling to and from the CampingWorld.com500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15.
After much success in recent years, the Park ‘N Ride program returns to Ak-Chin Pavilion, located just two blocks north of I-10 on 83rd Avenue (Exit 135) at 2121 N. 83rd Ave. All NASCAR fans heading to PIR are encouraged to enter at the 83rd Avenue entrance and park on Pavilion grounds, from where shuttle bus service (provided by First Student Charter of Phoenix) will take you to the Gate 4 area at the track.
Cost for parking and shuttle services to PIR will remain at $7 per car. Those with a PIR-issued parking pass may ride for free. Shuttle buses will take guests to PIR via preferential traffic routes, offering guests an earlier arrival to the facility.
With the green flag dropping on the CampingWorld.com 500 at 12:30 p.m. PST, Park ‘N Ride services will be available for 12 hours – from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. – on Sunday, giving all NASCAR fans an alternate transportation option before and after the race. The first shuttle will depart at 7:30 a.m., with PIR gates open to the public at 8 a.m.
Tickets for the CampingWorld.com 500 are available starting at $25; and tickets and pit passes may be purchased online atPhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the track ticket office.
It’s Spring Break, NASCAR-style, and fans coming to the CampingWorld.com 500 race weekend are encouraged to take a bite out of the CARBuretor Crunch, the first-ever signature item of Phoenix International Raceway. A collaboration between PIR and Americrown, the item is a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich encrusted with Cap’n Crunch, covered with bacon crumbles, fresh sliced bananas and caramel drizzle.
The CARBuretor Crunch, which comes in at roughly 900 calories, will be exclusively sold in the new ZOOMTOWN Food Court located in the heart of the Midway. Fans can purchase a single CARBuretor Crunch for $7, or a double order for $13, and will have social media bragging rights with a photo station declaring, “I ate the CARBuretor Crunch.”
“With food being such an important part of the race day fan experience, we asked our chefs to create a one-of-a-kind treat that fans can’t get anywhere else,” said Kristie Maggs, Director of Consumer Marketing & Partnership Activation. “Just like NASCAR, this creation is classic Americana with a little extra horsepower.”
Also featured at the new ZOOMTOWN Food Court will be the Bootleggers bar, in addition to a variety of other food options including bar-b-que, hot dogs, quesadillas and tacos. The ZOOMTOWN Food Court offers free WiFi and covered seating to patrons.
Tickets for the CampingWorld.com 500 are available starting at $25; and tickets and pit passes may be purchased online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the track ticket office.
BioInspire, the Peoria-based incubator for medical device companies, accepted an “Excellence in Innovation” award at WESTMARC’S Best of the West award ceremony this week.
The award is the latest recognition for BioInspire, whose goal is to help start-up companies in the competitive field of medical device innovative gain a competitive edge.
The BioInspire facility is a joint effort between Plaza Companies, the City of Peoria and BioAccel. The Plaza Del Rio campus is the home of BioInspire is operated by BioAccel and is the brainchild of the City of Peoria Economic Development Office and Sharon Harper, the President and CEO of Plaza Companies. BioAccel offers first-class working space, technical and business assistance and collaborative opportunities.
A partnership between Plaza Companies, City of Peoria and BioAccel/BioInspire has produced results in the form of new jobs in the West Valley and in positioning Peoria and the West Valley as a hub for innovation and technology.
WESTMARC’s Best of the West Awards is the West Valley’s most prestigious business recognition event, celebrating the best in Western Maricopa County for more than two decades. The event, on Nov. 5, was held at Phoenix International Raceway and honors outstanding contributions to the economic development, innovation and quality of life in the West Valley. A diverse panel of outstanding leaders, specifically chosen for their community and business expertise and located outside of the West Valley, determines the winners from a large selection of deserving entries.
Awards are presented in the categories of Economic Engine, Excellence in Innovation and Quality of Life.
“BioInspire is especially deserving of an award that has the word ‘Innovation’ in it. BioInspire gives companies the chance to tap into business, marketing, research and development and other resources that give them the best opportunity for success,” Harper said. “With health care emerging as one of the country’s most important issues, now more than ever we need companies that can truly innovate in the medical field and this is what BioInspire is helping companies to do. It also means more jobs in the West Valley and will help to attract even more companies and more jobs.”
“We want Peoria to be a signature destination not only for visitors but for businesses,” said Scott Whyte, economic services director for the City of Peoria. “BioInspire reflects our message that we are looking to grow our economic base and that we will pursue partnerships, projects and initiatives that make sense and help further this goal. BioInspire adds vibrancy and symbolizes the essence of innovation. It’s a perfect symbol for Peoria’s aspirations. We thank WESTMARC for recognizing the importance of this initiative with this award.”
“Great partnerships help foster innovation and drive economic success,” said MaryAnn Guerra, CEO of BioAccel. “That’s what we have with BioInspire, which is helping to bring jobs, products and ideas to Peoria in the form medical innovation.”
Plaza Companies, with office locations in Peoria and Scottsdale, Arizona, is an award-winning leader in the development and management of medical office properties, technology and bioscience facilities, and senior housing communities. Founded in 1982, Plaza Companies is a full service firm with a portfolio of more than 5.5 million square feet valued at more than $1 billion. For more information about Plaza Companies, visit www.theplazaco.com.
BioAccel is a unique, fully independent, non-profit organization created to provide funding and business expertise to develop early stage life science technologies that drive local economic development efforts. BioAccel accelerates the development of new companies, drives economic development, and creates new biomedical products, which over time will become available to the general public. For more, go to www.bioaccel.org.
The City of Peoria boasts 160,000 residents. To regular vacationers and smart home buyers, Peoria has long been one of the most desirable locations in the Grand Canyon State. The city of Peoria provides excellent municipal services by anticipating community needs, creating partnerships, promoting sustainability and embracing diversity.
NASCAR released the 2015 Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) schedule and Phoenix International Raceway will once again host two NSCS race weekends next season.
PIR’s spring event weekend, headlined by the Camping World 500, moves two weeks later, to March 12-15, is scheduled to be broadcast on FOX. In the fall, PIR will continue to host the final race in the Eliminator round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with the Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 weekend November 12-15, and will be broadcast on NBC.
“I’m delighted that Phoenix International Raceway will once again be able to host an exciting NASCAR weekend in the spring,” said PIR President Bryan R. Sperber. “The March 15th date will give fans a great opportunity to sample so many attractions in the Valley as well as enjoy our great weather that time of year.”
The move of PIR’s spring race weekend to mid-March promises to provide race fans and teams with fantastic weather, and the new date coincides with the Spring Break schedule for most Arizona K-12 school districts, making it a great family entertainment option. The race weekend also falls during Spring Break at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University.
Season tickets for the 2015 season at Phoenix International Raceway are on sale now beginning at $99. Tickets are available online at PhoenixRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the PIR ticket office.
Each season ticket includes admission to all NASCAR races during both event weekends, along with great savings over individual ticket prices. Season ticket holders also have the exclusive opportunity to purchase parking passes, pre-race pit passes and Budweiser ROLL-BAR passes at discounted prices. Other exclusive benefits to season ticket holders include the first opportunity to upgrade or change seat locations each year and the opportunity to purchase additional race tickets at the discounted season ticket holder price.
A new feature for PIR season ticket holders the 2015 is the Zoom Pass. The Zoom Pass, a hard plastic credential, will replace individual grandstand tickets and will grant the season ticket holder access to all races throughout the event weekend.
Phoenix has hosted a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the spring every year since 2005, and the new date marks the fourth change in PIR’s slot on the NASCAR schedule during that time. PIR has hosted the second race of the NASCAR season in each of the last four years.
The fall race at Phoenix International Raceway has been a fixture on the NASCAR schedule since 1988, and continuing a longstanding tradition, the Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 will be the semi-final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The Lavidge Company (TLC), a full-service advertising, public relations, communications, consulting and interactive marketing agency, and Dole® Food Company have partnered in developing the summer “Peel the Love” campaign.
TLC edged out national agencies with its Peel the Love campaign idea and was selected to lead the concept, design and messaging standards of the year-long Dole campaign. The Peel the Love theme focuses on the fun, versatility and universally loved aspects of the iconic yellow fruit, which Dole grows more of globally than anyone else. The campaign is playful and modern, utilizing vibrant, summer colors, that invites people to Peel like a kid again. Dole. Peel the love.
TLC’s team created the overall campaign concept, developed the messaging and visual direction, and worked on in-store promotional materials including posters and special recipe cards. Additionally, the agency oversaw the production of the campaign standards guide, working in collaboration with Dole’s public relations and interactive agencies that extended the campaign through additional channels.
A feature of the Peel the Love campaign is the Peel the Love Summer Food Truck tour that will be visiting banana-loving cities across the country. The brightly colored Peel the Love food truck, featuring TLC designs, is staffed by healthy-eating advocates and will stop at supermarkets, parks and other venues to dispense samples and recipes that use DOLE Bananas in fun ways. The truck will be making several stops in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding areas from June 27 through July 6. Dates, times and truck stop locations can be found at www.dole.com/peelthelove.
“We’re extremely proud to have worked with Dole on this campaign,” says Bob Case, chief creative officer of TLC. “The work was strategically driven, smart, and incredibly fun to do – we thank Dole for the opportunity and look forward to continuing our work with them.”
TLC is a Phoenix based full-service advertising, public relations, and interactive marketing agency offering best-in-class traditional and leading-edge marketing services all in-house. Since 1982, The Lavidge Company has specialized in developing brand positioning for products and services. Lavidge serves prominent national, regional and local brands including Dole, United Rentals, Phoenix International Raceway, Republic Services, Discount Tire, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Massage Envy, Phiten USA, Banner Health, McDonald’s and many more. The agency has helped companies increase sales, raise brand awareness and grow their businesses.
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.”
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has been selected as the Honorary Starter for the AdvoCare 500, Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today. As the Honorary Starter, Governor Brewer will wave the green flag to start the AdvoCare 500, as well as greet the drivers during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.
“We are delighted to welcome Governor Brewer to serve as the Honorary Starter of the AdvoCare 500,” Sperber said. “Governor Brewer has long recognized the positive economic impact to the State that NASCAR events at PIR have had. Her participation underscores that the race is more than a championship sporting event, it’s also an economic engine for Arizona.”
Named Arizona’s 22nd Governor on January 20, 2009, Brewer was elected Arizona’s Secretary of State in 2002. Brewer’s career in politics began in 1982 when she was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives where she served until 1987. Following that, she ran for and was elected to the Arizona State Senate, where she served until 1996, including a four-year period as Majority Whip. In 1996 she was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors where she served two terms with the county before being elected Arizona Secretary of State.
“Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR are premier attractions for the City of Phoenix and State of Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. “Like tens of thousands of Arizona racing fans, I’m excited for the AdvoCare 500 and thrilled to have the opportunity to participate as the Honorary Starter. I would like to thank PIR and NASCAR for their continued collaboration on this successful event.”
Tickets for the November 11 AdvoCare 500 Semi-Final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and other events throughout the November race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway are available at www.phoenixraceway.com or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223).
FOX Sports Arizona and Phoenix International Raceway have agreed to a new partnership that allows the regional sports network the ability to showcase Arizona’s premiere motorsports venue.
The historic track hosts the Southwest’s biggest racing events and has become one of NASCAR’s fastest and most exciting stops in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Beginning this Wednesday (Oct. 10), racing fans will be able to relive some of PIR’s best races in recent memory when FOX Sports Arizona debuts its new “Phoenix International Raceway Classics” series.
Produced to highlight past races at the venue won by NASCAR legends and get fans ready for this year’s Advocare 500 Weekend at PIR (Nov. 11-13), the first show will take viewers back to the 2003 Checker Auto Parts 500 that was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The series will offer four different one-hour episodes hosted by Valley resident Chris Neville, who is part of NASCAR’s coverage on TNT and SPEED TV.
Other races that will air in the series include the 2006 Subway Fresh 500 won by Kevin Harvick, the 2007 Subway Fresh Fit 500 won by Jeff Gordon and the 2009 Subway Fresh Fit 500 won by Mark Martin. Here is the complete schedule:
Oct. 10 @ 7:00 pm 2003 Checker Auto Parts 500
Oct. 15 @ 7:00 pm 2006 Subway Fresh 500
Oct. 24 @ 7:00 pm 2007 Subway Fresh Fit 500
Oct. 30 @ 7:00 pm 2009 Subway Fresh Fit 500
With the victory in 2007, Gordon tied Dale Earnhardt with his 76th all-time win and he recently said this about the moment, “What stands out to me is winning that race, tying Dale Earnhardt and carrying the No. 3 flag. That was a big deal. I looked up to Dale so much, admired him, respected him, to accomplish anything that he did in this sport was huge, so we wanted to honor him.”
When also asked a few weeks ago about his 2009 victory in Phoenix, Mark Martin said “That race was real special because it certainly looked like I wouldn’t win another race in my career at that time and it had been a few years since I’d won.”
This new agreement will also have FOX Sports Arizona produce a half-hour program in the Spring that highlights all the happenings from the 2013 Subway Fresh Fit 500. Phoenix International Raceway is one of just 12 tracks to host two Sprint Cup Races in one season and this program will bring to light everything that happens on not only the 1.0-mile oval, but off the track and outside PIR during race week. The air date and time for the show will be announced at a later date.
“Our new partnership with Phoenix International Raceway expands FOX Sports Arizona’s coverage of the local sports scene even further and strengthens our reputation as the network Arizona sports fans turn to first for comprehensive local sports programming,” said Brian Hogan, FOX Sports Arizona Sr. Vice President & General Manager.
“We’re tremendously excited to work with FOX Sports Arizona on a project that showcases many of the dramatic victories that have occurred at PIR over the years,” said Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber. “It will be a real treat for fans to watch some of these historical accomplishments as we draw closer to our 2012 semi-final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – the AdvoCare 500.”
In addition to the Sprint Cup Races, PIR is also home to the Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series, K&N Pro Series West and the first NASCAR Mexico Series race to ever be held in the United States on March 1, 2013.
FOX Sports Arizona televises the most regional sports action in the state and is the exclusive cable television home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, Northern Arizona University and Phoenix Mercury. FOX Sports Arizona is currently seen in 2.5 million households in Arizona & New Mexico and can also be seen across the country via home satellite services. And for even more coverage of the local sports scene, log onto www.foxsportsarizona.com, www.twitter.com/foxsportsaz and www.facebook.com/foxsportsarizona.
The most popular motorsports series in Mexico will make its U.S. debut next season at Phoenix International Raceway, according to an Associated Press report.
The NASCAR Toyota Series will run at Phoenix on March 1 in conjunction with the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and K&N West Series. The race will be the 2013 season opener for the series, which runs Mexican V8 stock cars.
George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of regional and touring series, said the race further develops a vision by chairman Brian France to offer racing that appeals to U.S. Latinos. NASCAR took its second-tier Nationwide Series to Mexico for four races from 2005-08.
“Mexico has a long and rich motorsports heritage but not necessarily in stock car racing,” Silbermann said Monday. “The whole Mexican motorsports culture has followed either open-wheel racing or sports car racing. Brian made it very clear that a strategic goal of his was to reach a growing fan base and connect with Mexican-American fans here in the states. It was a seed that was planted in 2005 and it has now grown into a tree.”
NASCAR and PIR officials scheduled a Tuesday news conference in Phoenix. The event will be a 75-lap race with a scheduled break after 50 laps for pit stops.
The series was launched in 2004 as the “Desafío Corona.” NASCAR sanctioned it in 2007, and it was called the NASCAR Corona Series. It became the NASCAR Toyota Series this year, and has run 125 races, all in Mexico.
Bryan Sperber, president of PIR, said he jumped at the opportunity to host the first series race in the U.S. and the demographics of his track’s fan base made it a natural fit.
“I look at this as a real opportunity for sports to bring people together,” Sperber said. “It’s no secret in terms of NASCAR that we want to broaden our consumer base and reach the Latino market. NASCAR Mexico allows us to reach out potentially to new race fans but also give exposure to this series and its drivers.”
It’s welcome exposure for 20-year-old points leader Daniel Suarez, who has relocated to Charlotte, N.C., in an attempt to climb through the NASCAR ranks.
Suarez has been identified as part of the NASCAR’s Next 9 — a group of nine drivers who are under 21 and represent the next wave of young talent. He’s on track to become the youngest champion in series history, and won his first race in May at Mexico City.
Suarez said the chance to run at the same track on the same weekend as the premiere Sprint Cup Series gives Mexican drivers an opening to showcase their talent to prospective owners and sponsors.
“People can see what is going on in Mexico,” he said. “There are fans who know nothing at all about racing in Mexico. This series is the best in Mexico, the racing is the best. We have more fans, the best drivers, the best sponsors and the chance to race in America is a very big first step.”
The race at PIR is a one-year agreement, per NASCAR guidelines. But Silbermann said it’s part of a long-term plan for NASCAR.
“This is an important race for making the connection on both sides of the border,” he said. “From a business standpoint, a lot of the series sponsors and partners see the value of a race in the U.S., and everyone sees the value in building the sport among Spanish speaking audiences. We believe the race will shine a spotlight and be a pleasant eye-opener for fans when they see the high caliber of talent in that series.”
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today that AdvoCare International (AdvoCare) has been named title sponsor for the track’s November 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event: The AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
“We are thrilled to be working with AdvoCare for NASCAR’s semi-final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup here in Phoenix,” Sperber said. “AdvoCare’s products and emphasis on performance line up perfectly with our mission to deliver a superior racing and event weekend experience for our fans each November.”
The AdvoCare 500, the Semi-Final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, will be the feature event for PIR’s November race weekend. With the Sprint Cup Series Championship on the line, the green flag will drop on the AdvoCare 500 at 1 p.m. MST.
“We are excited to bring the AdvoCare 500 to Phoenix to share the AdvoCare products and business opportunity with race fans in the West,” said Richard Wright, AdvoCare President and CEO. “Our focus on health and wellness, personal growth, financial freedom and strong values is a great fit for the NASCAR community and race fans in the Phoenix area.”
AdvoCare is a health and wellness company that offers world-class nutrition, weight loss, energy and sports performance products. No stranger to NASCAR fans, AdvoCare is also the primary sponsor of rising star Austin Dillon and the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for legendary owner Richard Childress Motorsports.
Tickets for the November 11 AdvoCare 500 Semi-Final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, as well as all other events throughout the November race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway are available at www.phoenixraceway.com or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223)
Phoenix International Raceway will be featured in the July 2 episode of “The Bachelorette.” The episode will cover a unique individual hometown date with the newest Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, the first single mom to ever star on the series, who first captured America’s heart on the 15th season of “The Bachelor.”
As the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest and a mainstay in the sport of NASCAR, Phoenix International Raceway is excited to branch out into primetime television with the track’s debut on The Bachelorette. “We are thrilled to host Arie and Emily on part of their hometown date,” said track President Bryan R. Sperber, “Race fans should keep an eye out for the blue wall of their favorite race track on July 2 and cheer on their hometown.”
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.
12 News is Arizona’s leading source for local news on television, online with top-viewed website azcentral.com, and on-the-go with text and video available on mobile devices. With the combined resources of NBC News, The Arizona Republic and USA Today, 12 News is consistently the first choice for information whenever a major story breaks. 12 News is one of the top-performing NBC affiliates in the country, with ratings that frequently exceed the network’s national average. With a long history as the leader in innovation, 12 News was the first to deliver a local newscast in high-definition. Whenever and wherever consumers want quality news and information, 12 News is positioned to meet their needs.
Year Est: 1953 Weekly Audience: 1.1M Principal(s): John Misner
What started as one radio station 88 years ago has now evolved into one of the state’s leading media companies, delivering content to not only radios, but also cell phones and Internet browsers. KTAR’s news team is one of the largest in the state and is the winner of the coveted Edward R. Murrow Award for journalistic excellence. In the world of sports, KTAR is the play-by-play home of the state’s most popular teams. And, when it comes to on-air personalities, KTAR is the place to interact with the biggest names in news and sports talk. Also, its commitment to the community has generated more than $3 million in listener donations to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.
Year Est: 1922 AZ STAFF: 100 Principal(s): Scott Sutherland
7740 N. 16th St., #200
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Finalist: The Lavidge Company
Lavidge Interactive’s roster of clients includes Massage Envy, LifeLock and Phoenix International Raceway, just to name a few. This specialized division is made up of creative strategists, marketers, software engineers and developers. Together, they work to create websites, online marketing campaigns, mobile apps, digital assets, social media strategies and more — transforming businesses that merely exist on the Web to Digital Magnets that profit on it. Also known as Internet Marketing Agency, Lavidge Interactive is a division of The Lavidge Company, an independently owned full-service advertising, interactive and public relations agency serving local, regional and national clients since 1982.
Year Est: 2006 AZ STAFF: 18 Principal(s): Bill Lavidge
2777 E. Camelback Rd., #300
Phoenix, AZ 85016
For those of you who would like to “rev up” your family weekend, take a drive to Phoenix International Raceway.
The short drive to Avondale and the winding road back into the raceway is a great way to start the adventure. You will find that parking is quite easy and is just a short walk into the raceway. Once inside, the hum from the garages and the rumble of the race engines begin the excitement and the countdown to the Green flag.
If you have the opportunity to get into the garage and pit area before the races, I would highly recommend it for children to get a “behind the scenes” view of what it really takes to prep the cars, drivers and crew for the big race. The staff at PIR were extremely helpful and very interactive with the kids throughout the entire day.
We counted down the laps and watched the excitement of the crowd build; Victory Lane was a great way to cap off a fun-filled family day at PIR!
With two major NASCAR races and a huge impact on the region, Bryan Sperber and Phoenix International Raceway add plenty of fuel to the Arizona economy
Activity in the West Valley has hit an all time high as new hotels and mixed-use developments suddenly appear in what used to be stark dirt fields, but they are not for the upcoming Super Bowl XLII. The take-off of economic development is almost as fast as the blur of engine-revving cars circling at Phoenix International Raceway.
PIR pumps $473 million into Arizona’s economy annually, according to a recently released study on Phoenix International Raceway conducted by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. A staggering amount equal to what the Super Bowl is prospected to bring to the Valley. “The Super Bowl is predicted to generate $400 to $500 million,” says Julie Frisoni, marketing and communications director for the city of Glendale. “However, PIR happens every year.”
PIR’s economic impact figure is based on two NASCAR events, the second of which was added after heavy statewide lobbying in 2005.
Timothy Hogan, Ph.D., professor emeritus of ASU’s Department of Economics, directed the 2005 study. The new study updates the 2001 original study of PIR’s economic impact, but adjusts for inflation and increase in races and fans.
The raceway’s overall economic impact of $473 million takes into account visitor, organizational and induced expenditures, such as purchases by out-of-state visitors and business activities at PIR. The updated study identifies several other areas of growth including state and local tax revenues, as well as income generated directly and indirectly from PIR, which covers PIR employees’ wages and salaries and Arizona household additional income as a result of visitor spending, PIR operations and spending by PIR employees.
According to the study, visitors from out-of-state who attend PIR events spend $160 million annually on goods and services directly and indirectly associated with the raceway including dining, entertainment, lodging, recreation and shopping throughout the Valley. However, out-of-state monetary flow will shift away from dispersing over the entire Valley and become more concentrated in the West Valley as economic development increases in the area. “Over the years, with the University of Phoenix stadium and more hotels being built in Glendale, more activity will occur over in the West Valley,” Hogan says.
PIR President Bryan Sperber says the organization is working with ASU’s sports business program to conduct a complete study update, which should be finished by spring 2008. “It’s a pretty comprehensive program,” says Sperber. “The original study covered one NASCAR race, but the Valley has evolved and changed, and the landscape of the sport has changed.”
Preparing for the Rush
In preparation for out-of-state visitors, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers says the city has two new Hilton hotels that are already sold out for the next three years during race times, and several mixed-use developments opening in time for Subway’s Fresh Fit 500 weekend in April. PIR holds two races a year bringing in a total of 375,000 race fans to the Valley. “I remember when we first started [PIR] 17 years ago, looking forward and dreaming of what NASCAR could be,” says Sperber. “I think we’ve reached or even surpassed that dream.”
Feeding the Economic Giant
Sperber says PIR’s success is due to two key pieces of legislation that propelled the growth of NASCAR racing in the Valley.
First, the creation of the bridge over Gila River. Second, the $5 million spent in widening access roads coming from the west, where most race car fans travel from to get to PIR. A little known fact about these public improvements is that racing fans paid for them. “The public enjoys wider roads and a bridge year round, while PIR uses it a couple days a year,” says Sperber.
In addition to public improvements and huge economic impact, PIR is a privately owned entity. “Most professional sports venues are owned by the public,” says Sperber. “New changes to [PIR] are all funded privately by us. That’s well over $150 million given to the economy in addition to the races.” Which is great news for the booming West Valley.
“The more the races grow, the more PIR puts into capital investments, which will make the experience better,” says Jack Lunsford, president and CEO of Westmarc. “As the experience gets better, there is more money spent that directly affects our communities.”
Dina Serin, economic development specialist for the city of Avondale, says PIR was a vital component of their 2007 marketing plan, which introduces a new message point and brand awareness that uses PIR’s success to help promote the city.
Marketing materials for Avondale’s Economic Development Department display the city’s slogan: Avondale is on the move… And you are in the driver’s seat.Keeping with the theme, calls to action sprinkle fliers and brochures: Rev up your RPMs at local shopping and dining destinations; shift into low gear by relaxing at one of the Hilton hotels; and take the wheel and experience Avondale for yourself.
“[PIR] is a great asset to our community and we plan on continuing to work with them,” says Avondale’s Development Director Claudia Whitehead.
Jacki Mieler, director of media relations for the state’s Office of Tourism, says PIR attracts people who might consider doing business or relocating businesses to Arizona. “NASCAR has a lot of high-profile sponsors who will travel to come see the races,” says Mieler.
Lunsford says the hope is that those high profile sponsors will see the growth and development happening and create new jobs that will further propel the Valley’s economy.
As PIR races into another exciting season, the economy fuels up on visitors experiencing all the Valley of the Sun has to offer.
PIR was founded in 1964 by a group of professional sports car racers that had a dream of building a racing facility. PIR was carved out of the foothills of the Estrella Mountains in the West Valley and was intended to be a new crown jewel of American open wheel racing. At that time the tourism industry in Phoenix was just starting to grow.
It wasn’t until 1988, when NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing came to PIR, that auto racing in Phoenix really became a major sporting attraction for the area. The Checker Auto Parts 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in November is said to be the largest one-day sporting event in Arizona. A study by Arizona State University proves PIR’s economic impact to be among the top in the state, and demonstrated PIR’s tremendous growth over just a few years.
PIR President Bryan Sperber has a few exciting changes for upcoming events that will further propel PIR’s growth. “With every event, we attempt to introduce and try new things. We live in an entertainment world where the lines are becoming more blurry in terms of live entertainment, music and sports,” says Sperber. “We have to keep [PIR] fresh, fun and exciting.”