Tag Archives: Phoenix Regional Sports Commission

volleyball festival

Phoenix Regional Sports Commission changes name

Phoenix Regional Sports Commission Executive Director Alan Young announced today a new name for the organization that promotes and operates amateur sporting events in Arizona.  The organization will now be known as the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission.

“Our mission is to enhance our communities through sports,” said Board Chairman Kemp Ellis.  “We feel that the new name reflects our goals of assisting all of Arizona in bringing sporting events of all types for participation and economic impact.”

Young and Ellis also announced the hiring of longtime sports and business leaders Wally Kelly as CEO of the new organization, Doug Blouin as President of Marketing and Dan Lewis as Executive VP of Marketing and Government Relations.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with the State of Arizona and all our communities to better enrich the growth of sports and fitness throughout our great state,” said Wally Kelly.  “I am honored to have the privilege to serve in this Chief Executive role and look forward to our future growth and development.”

Wally Kelly recently retired after 11 years as Chairman & CEO of CBS Outdoor where he directed all market operations in South America, US, Canada and Mexico. For the past 33 years, he has played a significant role in outdoor advertising industry.  He currently serves on the board of directors for The National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame Foundation and the Outdoor Advertising association of America where he was elected as Chairman for three years. One of his most significant achievements was receiving the Myles Standish Award in 2007, which is the highest honor in the industry.

The Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission is a non-profit organization created in 1988.  The Commission currently collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill this mission, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. In 1999, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games.

For more information about the Commission call (602) 258-6272 or visit www.phoenixsports.org.

Alan Young, Executive Director of the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission, welcomed Mark Daus, Owner and President of X-Treme Apparel as the new Presenting Sponsor of the Grand Canyon State Games, Lori Piestewa Native American Games and the Official Merchandise Sponsor of the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission.  The partnership signifies a new chapter for X-Treme Apparel, which already has an 18-year history with the Grand Canyon State Games.

PRSC strikes 2-year deal with X-Treme Apparel

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission and the Arizona State University Grand Canyon State Games announced a new, two-year partnership agreement with X-Treme Apparel.  The new partnership positions the company as the Presenting Sponsor of the Arizona State University Grand Canyon State Games and the Lori Piestewa Native American Games, as well as the Official Merchandise Sponsor of the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission.

Based in Phoenix, X-Treme Apparel has an 18-year history with the Grand Canyon State Games.  It will work with the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission (PRSC) to continue to support the Grand Canyon Summer and Winter Games, plus the Art and Essay Contests, as well as PRSC events such as the Arizona Soccer Showcase, Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and others, to be determined.

“We are pleased, after being involved with the Grand Canyon State Games for 18 years, to step up with this sponsorship and help continue the legacy created by Erik Widmark and his staff over the past 18 years,” says X-Treme Apparel Owner Mark Daus.  “We look forward to working in partnership with the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission to grow our businesses as our relationship grows and we continue to assist youth sports in our community.”

X-Treme Apparel, which recently completed a fundraising campaign for the Granite Mountain Hotshots over the summer, also served last year as the official screenprinter of the Arizona Centennial.

For the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission, the new sponsorship provides the opportunity to work with a long-time event partner and vendor who now is even more deeply committed to the continued success of the Grand Canyon State Games.

“X-Treme Apparel has been a great supporter of the Grand Canyon State Games and we are pleased to have the opportunity to continue building a relationship with Mark and his company,” says PRSC Executive Director Alan Young.  “With the support of Mark and his company we can ensure our mission, “To Enrich Our Community Through Sports.”

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is a non-profit organization created in 1988.  It currently collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill this mission, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.  In 1999, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games.

Online registration begins December 5, 2013 for the Arizona State University Grand Canyon State Games presented by X-Treme Apparel.  For more information call (480) 517-9700 or visit www.gcsg.org.

For more information about the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission call (480) 517-9700 or visit www.phoenixsports.org.

triathlon store

Small sports mean big business in Arizona

This month, Arizona’s Swimming Showcase is anticipated to draw 300 elite high school athletes — along with thousands of family members and fans — from more than a dozen different states to Mesa. The projected economic impact is more than $600,000 in direct visitor spending over the course of the two-day event.  And that’s just the first year and just one event.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission (PRSC) has successfully bid for or created 66 events (involving 278 event days) since its restructuring in 2009.  That’s 66 times in which thousands of visitors stay in area hotels, eat local food and shop at local stores. Just since 2009, the overall impact on the Arizona economy totals more than $133 million dollars in direct visitor spending, which translates to almost $13 million in sales tax revenue.

“We’re building a grassroots sports tourism infrastructure in an area where there otherwise wasn’t one. And that’s big business,” said Don Kile, former PRSC chairman and current board member.

That sporting infrastructure is built upon often overlooked, usually under-served, high school, amateur and youth sporting events. They are events that draw from all corners of the country, events that bring big tourism dollars into the local economy, and events that have largely proven recession proof.

“In this recession, we’ve tracked business travel, international travel, and leisure travel.  In all categories, travel is down,” said Don Schumacher, National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) executive director.  “The one area where we’ve seen consistent growth is in sports travel/tourism, and the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is capitalizing.”

According to the NASC, in the last 10 years nationwide, the sports travel industry has grown from an estimated $5 billion to $8 billion.  That’s a conservative estimate of just direct visitor spending, not projected economic impact.  And that’s in a challenging economy.

“In tight economic times, families may choose to forego their annual vacation to the beach or cut their snow skiing vacation short.  But, they are not going to forego their commitment to their child’s championship tournament,” added Kile.  “They travel for a purpose.  We have studied this and know this to be true.  So we want to build this tourism niche to exploit this phenomenon and continue to encourage that family travel into our market.  Our economy, hotels, and local businesses benefit financially, and those dollars spent in our local economy support multiple levels of local employment.”

The USA Field Hockey Festival hosted by PRSC in November 2010 and 2011 is the largest Field Hockey event in the world.  It’s played during Thanksgiving weekend and involves more than 6,600 visitors for an average stay of five days each, with an annual direct visitor spending impact of more than $4.7 million.

Another example … the Arizona Soccer Showcase the PRSC created in 2011 to take place during the December holidays.  The inaugural event drew more than 40 elite teams, 20 of them from outside Arizona, with an economic impact of more than $2 million in direct visitor spending.  A significant sports tourism boost over a traditionally slow holiday weekend, in just its first year.

“When we can create and grow our own events, the ability to attract and retain tourism dollars is enormous,” said Rob Yowell, Interim PRSC Executive Director.  “Bidding and landing events is one critical piece of the puzzle, but those events come and go and often change host locations from year-to-year.  Creating and owning events insulates us from the risk of an event relocating to a competing city.  It is a more sustainable and predictable financial investment.  In the example of the Arizona Soccer Showcase, we’re pumping roughly $2 million in direct visitor spending into our economy every year.  Guaranteed.”

In all, the PRSC calculates the return on its investment as $103 dollars for every dollar spent.  That’s a staggering 10,300 percent.  And it’s just getting started.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission, one of the oldest in the country, was created in 1988 as the Maricopa County Sports Authority.  Its early stages as a government organization hindered its ability to assert itself as a true representative of the over-arching sports community and therefore it couldn’t compete nationally.

“We just needed to retool and prepare ourselves to compete on a national basis,” said Yowell.

In 2008, the PRSC requested the legislation be dissolved, and the Sports Commission was restructured as a more nimble community-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  This seismic shift in structure and attitude has resulted in formidable forward progress.  Since then, the NIRSA Soccer and US Lacrosse Championships were both secured for multiple years, and an agreement with the Senior Softball World Championships was extended for four additional years.  The PRSC has re-launched the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, which has become the organization’s primary annual fundraising event.  The restructured PRSC created the Youth Sports Summit, which continues, and it finalized agreements with USA Field Hockey and the Women’s Half Marathon.  The number of members on the Sports Commission Board of Directors has increased and includes prominent community leaders, and the Arizona Showcase series (soccer and track) has established itself as one of the most competitive and prestigious series of high school championships in the country – with the Swimming Showcase to launch in 2013 in Mesa.

“In Mesa, one of our strongest market segments is youth and amateur sports,” said Marc Garcia, president and CEO of the Mesa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  “Teams travel and they bring their families who spend money.  The opportunity to partner with the Sports Commission to attract more of these types of events adds tremendous value to our city and ranks very highly on our priority list.”

Garcia points to Mesa’s strong sports facilities as one key economic driver.  With a national reputation for some of the best event swimming pools in the country, his city is perfectly poised to host the PRSC’s Arizona Swimming Showcase.  Mesa’s reputation will draw competitors from the far reaches of the country, and the community will benefit in a big way.

“The potential impact of the Arizona Swimming Showcase is enormous, even in this upcoming inaugural year,” added Garcia.  “We see tremendous possibilities in hosting championship events in swimming as well as other sports, and we look forward to a continued strong partnership with the Sports Commission.”

Valley wide, the PRSC has a full inventory of superior products (fields, pools, tracks, courts) capable of hosting the highest quality of events.  While one amateur sporting event may provide only a small stimulus, stacking signature events one after the other produces a significant impact worthy of attention.
With forward momentum, the PRSC plans to add two additional high school championships to the calendar each year.  Strategically, it will continue to target holiday weekends and slower tourism seasons to boost times in which hospitality industry partners and host communities can use the help.
And that’s merely the financial footprint.

“While the boost in tourism and dollars being spent are much needed, especially in a continued challenging economy, let’s not forget the healthy impact on our families and our youth,” said Don Kile.  “We’re attracting and creating sporting events that enable our local youth to compete with the best of the best.  We’re raising the stakes.  We’re developing more competitive athletes, leaders, and more well rounded individuals.  The impact in that regard is priceless.”

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Sports Commission names new leader

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission (PRSC) has named Katie Brown as its new president and executive director.

Brown joins PRSC after serving as secretary, general counsel and a member of the PRSC Executive Board for the last six months, and serving as a board member for the past two years. She is a licensed attorney with more than a decade of diverse experience in athletic administration, with expertise in sports law, operations, fundraising and NCAA compliance.

“We are pleased to name Katie to this position,” said PRSC Board Chairman Garry Hays.  “Her experience and passion for sports will help her lead the Commission and its mission: grassroots sports tourism, youth athletic development and driving economic impact into the Phoenix community.”

Prior to joining PRSC, Brown served as an associate attorney for Polsinelli Shughart, PC in Phoenix, representing both individuals and companies in complex commercial litigation, contract negotiations and business transactions.  During her tenure, Brown was recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in 2012 and 2013.  Before that, she worked in the legal department at Mesa Airlines, Inc.  Her sports career includes ties to the athletic departments at both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, for which she served as the Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and Camp Director.  She was also previously the Assistant Director of Football Operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Brown earned her juris doctorate in 2008 from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe.  While pursuing her degree, Brown served as president and Symposium chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Law Student Association, for which she organized various events discussing the legal issues that arise in sports, including an annual symposium that featured prominent sports executives from around the Valley.  She is a 2000 graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance.  She was also a track and field athlete, and earned All-Conference honors both on the track and in the classroom.  She earned a master’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Sport Administration in 2003 from the University of North Carolina at

Chapel Hill.  While at the University of North Carolina, Brown received a research grant from the National Association of Basketball Coaches to complete her thesis, titled “An Analysis of the 2002 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Bracketing Procedures.” For this research she was awarded the 2003 John E. Billing Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, and the research was discussed in Athletic Business magazine.

A native of Tucson, Brown was a three-sport varsity athlete at Catalina Foothills High School in track and field, basketball and tennis.  She currently resides in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission is a non-profit organization created in 1988 to “Enrich Our Community Through Sports.”  The Commission currently collaborates with hundreds of partners to help fulfill this mission, bringing national and international sporting events to the state, assisting in the promotion of existing events and Arizona sports teams, and developing youth sports programs throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.  In 1999, it assumed oversight of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2012, the Grand Canyon State Games.

For more information about the Phoenix Regional Sports Commission call (602) 258-6272 or visit www.phoenixsports.org.