Tag Archives: PIR

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Phoenix Symphony, PIR present ‘Sound of Speed’

The Phoenix Symphony will rev its musical engines and shift into a new gear to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Phoenix International Raceway in a creative collaboration that mixes great music, classic cars and people who love both with a special performance entitled ‘The Sound of Speed.’ This groundbreaking event marks a new level in the confluence of music and sports with this first of its kind collision between the NASCAR and the orchestral worlds.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Phoenix Symphony for this truly one-of-a-kind event,” said PIR President Bryan R. Sperber.

“Our 50th Anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the great moments in racing history, and pairing those memories with a powerful score will create an experience that race fans and music lovers everywhere will enjoy.”

To commemorate PIR’s Golden Anniversary, the musical selection and festivities will be centered around cars and racing. Guests at the event will be greeted by a spectacular ‘Pit Road’ entry statement showcasing several classic race cars along 3rd Street. The ‘Pit Road’ experience is being hosted courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company CEO Craig Jackson.

“This first-ever event brings together two of America’s greatest pastimes and two of our city’s great cultural and entertainment icons,” said Jim Ward, President and CEO of The Phoenix Symphony. “Audiences are in for a high octane evening of fun in this community celebration.”

Once the party goes inside, guests will be able to experience ‘The Sound of Speed’ concert, conducted by Larry Blank. The performance will also feature appearances by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace as a guest conductor and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ star Tom Wopat.

“I am honored to serve as the guest conductor for ‘The Sound of Speed’ and to be a part of Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th anniversary celebration,” added Wallace. “I’ve always been a fan of great music, and obviously I’ve spent my life in racing. Combining the amazing talents of The Phoenix Symphony with the scenes from of some of the greatest racing movies ever produced is going to make this a truly unforgettable night.”

This one night only special event will be held November 6, 2014 at Symphony Hall. For more information on tickets and sponsorships visit http://www.phoenixsymphony.org/events/2014-sound-of-speed or call The Phoenix Symphony Box Office at 602-495-1999.

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Cole Real Estate Investments, Inc. Announces Tender Offer

Cole Real Estate Investments, Inc., (NYSE: COLE), formerly known as Cole Credit Property Trust III, Inc., announced today that it has commenced a modified “Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase for cash up to $250 million in value of its shares of common stock on the terms and subject to the conditions described in its Offer to Purchase dated June 20, 2013. Under the terms of the tender offer, the company intends to select the lowest price, not greater than $13.00 nor less than $12.25 per share, net to the tendering stockholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest, which would enable the company to purchase the maximum number of shares having an aggregate purchase price not exceeding $250 million. Stockholders may tender all or a portion of their shares of common stock. Stockholders also may choose not to tender any of their shares of common stock. If the tender offer is oversubscribed, shares will be accepted on a prorated basis, subject to “odd lot” priority. The company intends to fund the purchase price for shares of common stock accepted for payment pursuant to the tender offer, and all related fees and expenses, from available cash and/or borrowings under the existing senior unsecured credit facility.

The tender offer and withdrawal rights will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on August 8, 2013, unless the tender offer is extended or withdrawn. If stockholders elect to tender shares of common stock, they must choose the price or prices at which they wish to tender their shares and follow the instructions described in the Offer to Purchase, the related letter of transmittal and the other documents related to the tender offer filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

triathlon store

Sporting events pump billions into Arizona economy

If you build it, they will come.

We did. And they have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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)

corporate team-building - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

All Work And Go Play – Corporate Team-Building Activities

Corporate team-building activities abound from Old West hootenanny’s to serene red-rock settings to zipping around a race track

Great teamwork builds business faster than any technology. And as we slowly emerge from the Great Recession, corporate team-building activities are making a comeback.

Spending on business group travel and activities increased nearly 8 percent in 2011, according to the Global Business Travel Association, and it is expected to rise again in 2012.

If you’re looking for places to take employees for some team building and brainstorming time, the Valley offers a full menu of opportunities.

Here are a few:

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort
The Fairmont Resort has much to offer for corporate outings with its Fairmont Signature Series. Packages in the series include Tequila 101 & Competition, Mimosas & Crepes, DC Ranch Cycling and the Ultimate Western Experience. During the Ultimate Western Experience, participants do a little of everything — from 4×4 excursions and pistol shooting to bow and arrow shooting and horseback riding. Just tie in a team-building platform, and everyone is ready to go.

Loews Ventana, Tucson
Loews Ventana Canyon offers the ideal setting for an Old West-themed, Tucson-style party. Your group can enjoy the night sky and the sounds of a saloon, or ride the mechanical bull until dinner is served. This is a guaranteed great time with a throwback to the Old West right down the interstate in Tucson.

Enchantment, Sedona
At Enchantment in Sedona, you can reward colleagues with a program designed to improve wellness that will pump them up. Enchantment also offers exploration expeditions for strengthening problem solving methods. Participants can expect all of this along with the great scenery, amenities and the beautiful red rocks of Sedona.

Bondurant Raceway
If your fellow office employees have the need for speed, Bondurant Raceway is the place to race off to. The ProKart Enduro package is specifically designed for team building; it starts with a ground school, followed by an open practice session to get comfortable with the track. Then, teams can get together for a few minutes to determine strategy for race time.

Bucca Di Beppo
The spirit of Italian culture in the room makes an outing at Bucca Di Beppo a festive and fun one. With dishes served family style and endless Italian options, there is something for everyone, including banquet packages available for groups of 20 or more, different menu options and themed dining rooms within which to enjoy dinner.

Mesa Arts Center
Searching for more of a theatrical outing for your company? Then search no further than the Mesa Arts Center. It has ongoing shows, offering a 10 percent discount on ticket prices for groups of 20-49 and a 15 percent discount for 50 or more. With upcoming shows such as “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Rock of Ages” and “Ragtime,” a toe-tapping time is guaranteed and will have the office singing show tunes the next day.

Musical Instrument Museum
Enjoy sounds other than office noise at the Musical Instrument Museum. With more than 5,000 musical instruments and musical history from around the world, there will be no awkward silences. Guided tours can last up to about an hour with an overview of the world’s music. Guided tours are free with just cost of admission, which is $15. Don’t miss the opportunity to listen to music you may have never known existed.

Talking Stick Resort
Talking Stick Resort is the place to really let all that hard work pay off with a night out with fellow employees. With endless entertainment activities of which to take advantage, including entertainers such as Jay Leno and Smokey Robinson in the Salt River Ballroom or endless gaming action in the casino, there is something for everybody’s liking. Reward your employees, and make it a TSR night; experience Scottsdale like never before.

Red Rock Balloon Adventures
Fly away on a Red Rock Balloon Adventure in Sedona, and see the sights in a whole new way. Start off with a morning drive to the location, watch the sunset during liftoff and, before you know it, you will get to witness the glorious red rocks, wildlife and much more that Sedona has to offer in a calm balloon ride. When you land, a commemorative picnic awaits. This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s an adventure that’s will be talked about at the water cooler in the office for the next couple of weeks. Get ready for a magical getaway.

Phoenix International Raceway
Rev up your office mates by letting them enjoy the NASCAR experience at PIR. Not only will they get to see great races, they will also enjoy great food and drink, games and good company. With basic seating to high-end luxury seating available, Phoenix International Raceway will fit the needs of your corporate outing, and, as a result, they will never want to leave.

Granite Creek Vineyards
Looking for more of a peaceful, laid back setting for employees? Then Granite Creek Vineyards is bliss. Granite Creek offers Block Six Catering that custom designs each menu to the party’s desires — even a menu specifically designed to be paired with a Granite Creek Wine selection. So take it easy with a glass a wine, and escape if only for a day.

Grand Canyon Railway
Arizona companies can enjoy the Grand Canyon Railway with fellow employees by qualifying for a discount of 20 percent on train rides and 10 percent off packages. What better way to escape the office and view the great sights of the Grand Canyon with coworkers than on the Grand Canyon Railway.

iPic Theaters
iPic Theaters in Scottsdale offers a discount for employees who work at the Scottsdale Quarter. Members also enjoy perks, such as discounted pricing Monday-Thursdays, and every Tuesday, members get discounted pricing on drinks and food. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Make your corporate outing a memorable one at Fleming’s. Fleming’s can custom design your night out with either a choice of three different set of menus or build one that everyone can enjoy. Or, enjoy a wine tasting with small plates. Either way, you’ll forget about all office work with this night out at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Phoenix Zoo
You think your office is a jungle? Then enjoy a fun outing with “real” animals at the Phoenix Zoo. The Phoenix Zoo offers full-catered company picnics along with team building activities outdoors. With discount admission from $18 to $12 for adults, the Phoenix Zoo offers a one-of-a kind adventure for your corporate outing, and animal company at the same time.

Pink Jeep Tours
What better way to take in the beautiful sights of Sedona than with a Pink Jeep Tour. Pink Jeep Tours offers a discount of 20 percent off for groups of 12 or more. Groups can customize their tours by including a BBQ cookout or box lunches, team building activities, scavenger hunts and more.

Taliesin West
Discover the masterpiece Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built in 1937. Tours can be custom designed for prearranged groups. With a group of 15 or more, take a 1 1/2-hour tour along with additional options, such as renting out space in the evenings, to take in the night sky with a catered dinner. Have your coworkers experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home in the beautiful Sonoran desert.

Biosphere2
Just take your group north of Tucson, and there you will find Biosphere2, a one-of-a-kind location where your coworkers learn more about the future of the planet as it unfolds right in Tucson. For groups of about 20-30, take part in a 2 1/2-hour private tour, leading your group all through Biosphere2.

Rawhide
Throw on your best cowboy boots, and saddle up because Rawhide offers a new program that provides Arizona companies’ employees with a discount on attractions and at the Steakhouse. Companies can enroll and employees can receive 2-for-1 attraction town passes and 10 percent off in the Steakhouse. So come and experience this unique Western town like you were back in the 1880s. Yee-haw!

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

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"]

black history month 2011

Companies Devote Time To Black History Month

As we kick off Black History Month, Arizona companies devote time for sharing, caring and supporting ethnic communities. Employers understand the importance of spreading the love and have done so with educational scholarships, funding for schools and free entertainment.

USAA

United Services Automobile Association (USAA), an investment and insurance company, offers specific educational opportunities during this month. Classes on leadership skills, how to take control of finances and programs that support growth and opportunity are provided.

Payless  ShoeSource

Payless ShoeSource, a national shoe distribution company, offers the Inspiring Possibilities Scholarship Program, which supports the future of African American and other minority youth. Beginning Feb. 1, Payless will sell a limited-edition I believe accessory for $3. This accessory will be available online at Payless’ website and in 800 stores nationwide. The store will donate a minimum of $35,000 to the scholarship program. The program is designed to distribute about a dozen scholarships to African American and other minority youth for the 2011-2012 seasons.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble, the world’s largest bookseller, is honoring Black History Month with special events and promotions. They will have story-telling events, various speakers, tables with books for all ages, including picture books and autobiographies. An April Harrison tote bag will be sold; proceeds will go back into ethnic communities. Special pricing will be in place this month to support the learning, economic, social and political growth of African Americans. black history 2011, Flickr, See-ming Lee

Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans, the largest online loan servicing company, is giving away more than $20,000 in scholarships. Five years ago, Quicken Loans started giving away one of six scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to each winner. The money goes to the child’s school of choice to help promote education and spread Black History. Joined with Fathead, a leading brand in sports and entertainment graphic products, they allow children to go online and register for the scholarships by stating why Black History Month is important.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) celebrates Black History Month many ways, but the big talk is John Legend coming to ASU’s Tempe campus Feb. 8 for a free concert to anyone with a SunCard. Legend will have a brief discussion on what Black History means to him before signing some of his songs. Two free tickets are available to ASU students, faculty and staff.

AP and Associates/Phoenix International Raceway

AP and Associates, creator of the Checkered Flag Run in Arizona, will have celebrity appearances, NASCAR race, activities and major sponsors for inaugural event hosted by Second II None Motorcycle Club at the Talking Stick Resort and Casino and Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).  There will be over $50,000 in prizes and a chance to accompany PIR President Bryan Sperber to the trophy winner. They will be highlighting the diversity that motorcycle enthusiasts have along with supporting organizations that work to benefit local African American communities in both Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University (NAU) features a list of Black History events throughout the month. Men’s Basketball vs. Montana State will have Black Student Union students sitting together to show their support for NAU’s men and women basketball teams. Step Afrika is a step show, an art form born at African American fraternities, at the university for free. Apollo Night with Keedar Whittle, a reenactment of the historic Apollo Theatre, will show famous Black historic moments. And  month-end closing barbecue, sponsored by Coconino County African American Advisory Council, will have free food.


Black History Month is a time for everyone to get together and enjoy a piece of history that leads to a brighter future. For more information on Black History, visit http://www.infoplease.com/black-history-month/.

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