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Experience Scottsdale update reveals anatomy of upcoming ‘super season’

Old Town Scottsdale Scotty
This sign is expected to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors this fall, as tourism professionals say this upcoming event schedule has been coined “The Super Season.” (Photo by Arianna Grainey/

SB Host, Scottsdale Tourism officials outline herculean effort

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Experience Scottsdale hosted its virtual June 2 update and revealed key happenings, economic impacts and all the moving parts associated with getting “The West’s Most Western Town” ready for Super Bowl LVII.

Karen Churchard, Scottsdale Tourism and Events director, offered insights into ongoing preparations for what municipal leaders have coined “Super Season,” and meanwhile Kyle Hedstrom of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee provided explanation of the economic and community impacts sparked by the gridiron classic.

Experience Scottsdale President & CEO Rachel Sacco offered tourism leaders highlights of new endeavors taking form at the branding powerhouse. Ms. Sacco informed attendees of Experience Scottsdale taking home a coveted partnership award from HelmsBriscoe.

“The company is Experience Scottsdale’s largest third-party account, and they do have local ties, but they have associates all over the world and they chose Experience Scottsdale as their No. 1 choice for destination partner,” she pointed out of the industry award.

But two initiatives offered provide a glimpse into the out-of-the-box branding efforts afoot at Experience Socttsdale, Ms. Sacco contends. The first, with Virtuoso travel network and the second, British Airways.

“Virtuoso travel advisors serve the most-affluent, well-traveled customers,” she said. They serve the top 1% of travel agencies and represent $1 billion in annual sales, we certainly want to be speaking with them. We will train thousands of advisors on how to sell Scottsdale vacations and experiences.”

Throughout the month of July, passengers aboard any British Airways international flight or long-haul outbound flight will be shown the “Let’s Get Together” commercial produced by Experience Scottsdale.

Ms. Sacco offers a new 21st century strategic plan is being developed at Experience Scottsdale.

“Starting next fiscal year, in response to research, we are doubling down on new initiatives that have been working well for us,” she said of innovative approaches to expanding the brand of Scottsdale as a worldwide destination. “In addition, we will be leaning into digital advertising trends.”

Old Town Scottsdale Shops
A view of Old Town Scottsdale, a popular tourist destination.

An update on Super Bowl LVII

While Super Bowl LVII is Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, the greater Scottsdale area is poised to be the event epicenter for the big game, officials opine.

“We are very excited about Super Bowl LVII,” Mr. Hedstrom said during the virtual update. “There is a lot to be done before then, but our community knows how to host these events. We put hospitality first and that is a major reason the Super Bowl is coming back and why the NFL is excited about coming back. Things are going incredibly well.”

Mr. Hedstrom points out this will be the fourth Super Bowl hosted in Arizona and Arizona Cardinals icon Larry Fitzgerald is serving as executive co-chairman of the event.

“When you think of Arizona and sports, you think Larry Fitzgerald,” he quipped.

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, which is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit effort, is responsible for planning and executing Super Bowl LVII in 2023. Mr. Hedstrom explains aside from the production and execution of the event the host committee seeks to accomplish three main objectives:

  • Showcase Arizona as a global platform;
  • Fuel the economic engine for the metropolitan region; and
  • Leave a lasting legacy.

“There is clearly a phenomenal economic impact and footprint that is given to Arizona and how do we capitalize and extend the tail end, so it doesn’t just end on Feb. 12,” he said of a major branding theme.

“Giving back to the community is going to be a major focus for the host committee and the NFL.”

But from a business and branding perspective, Scottsdale becomes the center of the professional sports world leading up to and during Super Bowl weekend, Mr. Hedstrom explains.

“Arizona will be the SportsCenter of the world for that week of the Super Bowl,” he said. “Not just the Super Bowl but also the Waste Management Phoenix Open.”

The magnitude of the tourism event that is the Super Bowl is staggering, numbers from the 2015 event include:

  • $720 million in economic impact on region.
  • $2 million in grants to 27 youth-based Arizona 501(C)(3) nonprofits serving an estimated 400,000 youth.
  • 120,000 visitors to branded events.
  • 175,000 passengers coming and going through Sky Harbor International Airport.
  • A 53% increase in bed tax remits reaching a total of $2.3 million during the week of the event.
  • A 33% increase in sales tax going from $1.2 million to $1.6 million during the week of the event.

“These are the records we broke last time, and we are looking forward to breaking them again,” Mr. Hedstrom said. “There is a large and positive impact on our communities, so we really embrace that. It needs to be an end-to-end experience.”

Scottsdale Civic Center Mall Construction
A look at the ongoing construction of Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza.

Preparations for Scottsdale events

Ms. Churchard says the Scottsdale Tourism and Events Department has been focused on Super Bowl LVII plans for about a year now. She says staff have coined this upcoming fall, “The Super Season.”

From the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company and Western Week to the Waste Management Phoenix Open and now the Super Bowl, Ms. Churchard says her department remains focused.

“We have a lot on our plate, but it is a very exciting time for us … it is a time to shine, and we look forward to doing it again in 2023.”

The No. 1 item on Ms. Churchard’s mind? Police and fire department preparations.

“A major component we have been working is public safety, which is a major concern,” she explained. “We have been talking about the enormity of what they have on their plate,” she said of talks with police and fire department leadership. “That is a major component of what we have been working on.”

Ms. Churchard offered to local tourism leaders that 21 municipal departments are a part of the event planning process leading up to Super Bowl LVII.

“There are 52 projects in play that we are hopeful to complete by Super Bowl. Most of these projects would be happening with or without Super Bowl,” she said.

Old Town Scottsdale Fine Art District
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