Tag Archives: Phoenix International Raceway

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Lavidge Launches National Campaign with Dole

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.

KOOZA Photos 2007 004

Glendale CVB Rising in the West

Game on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500

Gov. Brewer will start race at PIR

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).

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Fox Sports, PIR announce new TV deal

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.

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NASCAR Mexico Series will race at PIR in 2013

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.”

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PIR lands AdvoCare as race sponsor

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)

The Bachelorette - PIR

PIR Will Be Featured On ‘The Bachelorette’

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.”

The new season of “The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8/7 Central on ABC. For more information on “The Bachelorette,” visit abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelorette. To learn more about Phoenix International Raceway visit phoenixraceway.com.

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

Best of the Best Awards 2011, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Best of the Best Awards 2011: Advertising, Marketing & Media

Winner: KPNX-TV, Channel 12

KPNX, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 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

12 News Logo,  AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 200 E. Van Buren Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-257-1212
www.azcentral.com



Finalist: News Talk 92.3 KTAR

KTAR, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 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
KTAR News Logo, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 7740 N. 16th St., #200
Phoenix, AZ 85020
602-274-6200
www.ktar.com



Finalist: The Lavidge Company

Lavidge Company, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 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
Lavidge Company Logo, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011 2777 E. Camelback Rd., #300
Phoenix, AZ 85016
480-998-2600
www.lavidge.com


Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Phoenix International Raceway Family Day, Flickr: AZNow.biz, Michele Bardell

Catching The Races At The Phoenix International Raceway

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!

[slickr-flickr tag="PIR" items="20" type="galleria"]

Photography by Cassandra Tomei

Cover Story – High Octane

High Octane

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.

High OctanePIR 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.

The Study
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.”

Capitalizing Success
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.

Statewide Impact
AZ Business Magazine April May 2007Jacki 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.

www.phoenixraceway.com

Evolution of PIR

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.”

AZ Business Magazine April May ’07 |  Next: The Road to Success