Tag Archives: Phoenix Open

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Sporting events pump billions into Arizona economy

If you build it, they will come.

We did. And they have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phoenix Open

Waste Management Phoenix Open: More Than Just A Golf Tournament

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is an event that draws hundreds of thousands of people to the Valley each and every year. It may boast the largest attendance of any golf tournament worldwide and has an overall economic impact of more than $220 million, but the real conversation piece should be about the millions of dollars the tournament raises for Arizona charities — and the 55 men who make it happen.

Tom Altieri, Photo: wmphoenixopen.comI had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Altieri, this year’s 2013 tournament chairman and 8th year Thunderbird, who gave me the 411 on exactly why the Thunderbirds do what they do.

Where they came from and what they do: the charity of the Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds began back in 1937, when they selected five committee members to fulfill the role of a special events committee to accommodate the expansion of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce suggested that the committee become an “official” group and expand its membership. Each of the five then selected 10 additional members to make up a committee of 55. The Thunderbird name was chosen because the emblem of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was, and still is, a Thunderbird derived from American Indian symbols.

Since its creation, the Thunderbirds have raised more than $79 million for charity.  Last year alone they raised an impressive $5.5 million, which was given to charities like The Boys and Girls Club, Valley of the Sun United Way and, most notably, the amazing athletes of the Special Olympics Arizona.

An official spokesperson for the Thunderbirds commented on their love for the Special Olympics, saying, “As the premier sponsor of the Special Olympics Summer Games, the Thunderbirds are providing an outlet of athletic expression for these challenged competitors. Nowhere will you witness the absolute joy and enthusiasm of a runner as he or she crosses the finish line — not in first place, but in the arms of his or her greeter. This unbridled passion for competition speaks volumes of the Thunderbirds’ commitment to these determined individuals.”

As if being the premiere sponsor for the Special Olympics isn’t fantastic to begin with, the Thunderbirds have a dedicated day to honor the Olympians at the Waste Management Phoenix Open itself. On Tuesday, January 29 at 11 a.m., they will host the CBS Outdoor Special Olympics Open. This is a chance for celebrities, sports stars and prominent business leaders to participate in a putting contest with children.

“The event offers a really unique and special opportunity for all involved,” says Altieri.

And for our military service members, a new element has been added this year. A free ticket and a private tent for military service members and a guest.  The Patriots’ Outpost is located on the 18th fairway and offers anyone with a military ID the VIP treatment with food and beverage. Just walk up to the ticket booth, show your military ID, and you are in for free! This is just another way the Thunderbirds are giving back.

What it takes to be a Thunderbird

When I asked Tom why he wanted to be a Thunderbird, his response was, “To help promote the community grow and assist Arizona-based charities. We don’t get paid, we all volunteer. We are out here giving up our lives during tournament week and for most of the year. It’s time consuming, but a labor of love. And we all have the same goal and objective: helping those in need.”

Even though the position is strictly volunteering, you still must be chosen to be a Thunderbird. Those who are selected and asked to join have demonstrated a sincere interest in sports and a dedication to community affairs. All Thunderbird activities and events are the prime responsibility of these Active Thunderbirds and are under the watchful eye of the Big Chief and Thunderbird Council. When a Thunderbird reaches the age of 45, his status changes from Active to that of Life Member. Each year, they receive hundreds of requests from charities who can use assistance. Tom assured me each and every single request that comes through is looked at, evaluated and carefully considered to receive funds. And although the charity component is the main focus of these great community leaders, they have one big job we can’t forget about: running and organizing the details for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

How you can help

“Although there are 55 Thunderbirds who run the Open, we can’t run it alone,” Altieri explains. “The entire success of the event is based upon volunteers. We have thousands of volunteers who come out, from all over the Valley from places like Tucson, Sun City and Flagstaff to contribute. Whether it’s working a concession tent or standing by a rope or working a tee at the tournament, or working the Birds Nest, each person counts and helps make this event the success it is.”

Altieri encourages anyone to get involved and to call the Waste Management Phoenix Open’s office.

“We will make sure to find a way for you to get involved,” he says.

If you are unable to volunteer, Altieri mentioned another way you can help contribute to the Valley’s local charities — and it’s pretty simple, and even fun.

“Just attend the Open,” Altieri says. “Our primary source of fundraising is derived from the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Everything from buying a general admission ticket to a Greenskeeper pass to the purchase of any food and beverage at the event helps Arizona-based charities.”

Be sure to grab your ticket and a friend and head out to this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, January 28 to February 3. You can purchase tickets online and stay up to date with event info and schedules by visiting wmphoenixopen.com.

And, if you see a gentleman walking around the Open wearing one of the iconic Thunderbird necklaces, take a second to say “thank you” for their hard work and dedication to our Arizona-based charities.

2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open

All About The 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open

It’s back — the Greatest Show on Grass. One of the PDA Tour’s most popular tournaments, the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open consists of an entire week of golf, drinks and live entertainment, taking place from Monday, January 28 through Monday, February 4.

2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Who: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and several other prestigious golfers (view the entire list of committed players here)
What: Events include R.S. Hoyt Jr. Family Foundation Dream Day Activities, CBS Outdoor Special Olympics, the Phoenix Suns Charities Shot at Glory, Coors Light Birds Nest entertainment, Waste Management Phoenix Open and more (view the calendar of events here)
When: January 28 – February 3, 2013
Where: Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, 17020 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale

Places to eat, play & stay around the Open:

Eat

True Food Kitchen
Bourbon Steak
Cantina Laredo

Play

Bobby’s Restaurant & Jazz Lounge
Scottsdale Fashion Square
A Taste of Old Town Scottsdale Food Tour

Stay

Zona Hotel & Suites Scottsdale
Fairmont Scottsdale
Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains

The Birds Nest at the Phoenix Open

If golf isn’t really your thing, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 2013 Phoenix Open isn’t for you. The Coors Light Birds Nest party features several talented musical acts. Purchase tickets to the Bird’s Nest here.

  • Wednesday, January 30: The Bird’s Nest party begins with video DJ Roonie G, Kelley James and local band Smasht.
  • Thursday, January 31: Dierks Bentley will be headlining the Bird’s Nest. Concertgoers can expect to be treated with his popular country hits like “Am I The Only One” and “What Was I Thinking.”
  • Friday, February 1: O.A.R. will be making a return to Bird’s Nest after taking a year off from preforming at the Phoenix Open.
  • Saturday, February 2: Bird’s Nest will conclude on February 2 with DJ Roonie G once again and Metalhead, another band indigenous to Arizona.

Before and After Party: El Santo Cantina

El Santo Cantina will serve as the ultimate hangout before and after an exciting day at the Phoenix Open. This 25,000-square-foot venue will even pick you up and drop you off with its complimentary El Santo Party Bus shuttle scheduled to run every 30 minutes Thursday through Sunday.

  • El Santo Cantina
    Where: 7301 E. Butherus Dr., Scottsdale
    Contact: 480-584-3801
    Online: elsantocantina.com

Tickets

Ticket prices range from $25 to nearly $6,000 and can be purchased at the gate during WMPhoenix Open or online. Purchase tickets here.

General Admission | $25

  • Ages 17 & under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Sponsor Packages | $300

  • 4 transferable badges good for all week
  • 4 daily general admission tickets on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
  • 1 reserved parking pass for the week
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open souvenir program

Members Club | $1,800

  • 4 Members Club badges per day each of the 7 days
  • 4 general admission tickets per day for each of the 7 days
  • Complimentary beverages and light snacks in the on-course Members Club locations on 9, 12, 17 & 18
  • 1 reserved parking pass (good all week)

Greenskeeper | $3,300

  • 4 Greenskeeper badges per day each of the 7 days
  • 4 general admission tickets per day for each of the 7 days
  • Complimentary food & beverages
  • 1 valet parking pass (good all week)

Clubhouse | $5,900

  • 6 Clubhouse badges each day (Wed. – Sun.)
  • Complimentary buffet lunch and open bar
  • 6 Greenskeeper badges per day (Mon. – Tues.)
  • 10 general admission tickets each day for all 7 days
  • 3 valet parking passes (good all week)

Chairman’s Club | $5,000

Access to six venues, all week long:

  • Greenskeeper
  • Members Club
  • Clubhouse
  • Skyboxes
  • Corporate Village
  • Birds Nest VIP
  • Valet parking

Birds Nest General Admission

  • $35 (Wed. – Sat.)

Birds Nest VIP Admission | $150

  • Hosted bar and catered buffet each night of the Birds Nest (Wed. – Sat.)

 

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Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson set for Phoenix Open

Two-time champion Phil Mickelson and Masters winner Bubba Watson have committed to play in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The news of the popular PGA players’ participation should be an economic boost for business. The 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open pumped $222 million into Arizona’s economy — with direct sales tax revenue estimated to be $8.2 million — and non-local attendees spent an average of $300 per day.

Defending champion Kyle Stanley, 2011 winner Mark Wilson and 2010 champion Hunter Mahan also are entered in the Jan. 31-Feb. 3 event along with Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Carl Pettersson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Lucas Glover.

Mickelson won at TPC Scottsdale in 1996 and 2005. The former Arizona State star will open his season Jan. 17-20 in the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif.