Point of View - Masthead

Opinions will Be Verified. Facts Will Be Checked. Your Voice Will Be Heard.

Opinions will Be Verified.
Facts Will Be Checked.
Your Voice Will Be Heard.

Sabow: Arizona continues to set the standard for hosting iconic events

Photo of Arizona
Kim Grace Sabow is the president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)

A look at what separates Arizona events from the pack

By Kim Grace Sabow | Point of View

If you’re a sports fan, you’ve got a busy weekend ahead — and maybe some tough decisions to make. If you’re in the tourism industry, you’re getting ready to welcome fans from all over the country.

The Arizona sports tourism market has never been hotter.

The calendar includes three days of NASCAR racing at Phoenix Raceway, a full slate of Cactus League games across the Valley, and the PGA Champions Tour Cologuard Classic in Tucson.

Few travelers need convincing that Arizona boasts an array of attractions beyond sports, from world-class resorts to captivating natural beauty. Still, our skill for hosting high-level sporting events stand out.

Sports tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and Arizona’s contribution to this sector is significant.

A report from the Common Sense Institute found that in 2022, direct sales by Arizona’s sports and tourism sector — which includes everything from the pros to amateur sports — amounted to a staggering $13.7 billion, employing more than 347,500 individuals directly and indirectly. With a projected average annual growth rate of 3.0% over the next decade, the future looks bright for Arizona’s sports tourism sector.

A look at what separates Arizona events apart from the pack

So, what sets Arizona apart as a sports tourism destination?

First and foremost, we have a proven track record of hosting major events seamlessly. From the WM Phoenix Open to Super Bowls, to major collegiate championships like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four that will be here next month, event organizers know that Arizona has consistently demonstrated its ability to orchestrate world-class made-for-TV sporting spectacles.

Arizona’s hospitality infrastructure is second to none. The Cologuard Classic will take place at the beautiful La Paloma Country Club.

The TPC of Scottsdale is one of the PGA Tour’s finest. The Cactus League has 10 modern ballparks all within a 45-minute-or-less drive from one another. With an abundance of resorts and hotels ranging from luxury to budget, event planners have a myriad of options to accommodate participants and spectators alike.

Accessibility is another key advantage for Arizona.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, named the nation’s best airport by the Wall Street Journal, offers seamless connectivity with numerous domestic and international destinations.

With direct routes to major international cities like London, Frankfurt, and Paris, and with dozens of flights to markets in Mexico and Canada, Arizona serves as a gateway for global travelers seeking unparalleled sports experiences.

Furthermore, our state’s rich cultural heritage and diverse offerings ensure that visitors have a memorable stay beyond what happens on the field, court, or course. The professionals in Arizona’s tourism sector are committed to delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences for guests from around the world.

Our industry has a lot to be proud of, but we can’t get complacent. Other markets have nice weather and quality facilities, too.

Sports tourism is always evolving.

A decade ago, few would have pegged Las Vegas as a major league sports market. But Las Vegas has emerged as a formidable competitor, leveraging its infrastructure and strategic positioning to attract mega events. From securing a spot in the Super Bowl rotation to now being home to franchises from the NFL, NHL, and soon MLB, Las Vegas poses a formidable challenge to Arizona’s dominance in the sports tourism market.

To retain our competitive edge, collaboration and innovation are imperative. By leveraging our strengths in venue management, hospitality, and accessibility, we can maintain Arizona’s position as a top-tier sports tourism destination.

Arizona’s thriving sports tourism market is a testament to our industry’s commitment to excellence in hospitality. But things are as competitive off the field as they are on. Let’s continue to seize opportunities for growth and collaboration to ensure Arizona remains the preferred choice for sports enthusiasts worldwide.

Editor’s Note: Kim Grace Sabow is the president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category Sponsor

Do You Have a Point of View?

Arizona Digital Free Press - Icon

Point of View

Would you like to contribute to the Free Press Point of View?

If so, send your point of view to tfthornton@arizonadigitalfreepress.com. Editorial POLICY: Within 48 hours of receiving your submission the writing will either be published or denied with a formal explanation.

Published On:

Category Sponsor

Mountain Shadows 2

Newsletter Sign Up

Scottsdale Daily Beat - Logo

Could we interest you in Local News That Matters? How about Enterprise Business Reporting & Real Property & Homes?

Mary Hamway Square
Honor Health
Kwasman Digital Free Press 1 copy
Cover_Spring 2024 SUSD Showcase magazine