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Looking for the best place to host a major sporting event? Look to Phoenix.
But don’t take our word for it. The NFL, the College Football Playoff and the NCAA all agree: Phoenix is the place to be.
On Friday, the NCAA selected Phoenix as the host site for the 2017 Men’s Final Four, capping an incredible hat trick of major sporting events for the Valley.
February 2015: Super Bowl.
January 2016: College Football Playoff Championship Game.
April 2017: Final Four.
Only one city – New Orleans from 2002-04 – is believed to have strung together these three events in a three-year span.
Phoenix was already unique in one regard: it’s the only city to host a Super Bowl, a BCS National Championship Game, an MLB All-Star Game and an NBA All-Star Game in the last six years. But the NCAA’s Final Four announcement -- on live national television -- cemented the Valley’s status as one of the nation’s leading destinations for elite sporting events.
“Hosting the Final Four is yet another great opportunity for us to show that there is no better place to host major sports events,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said.
Constituencies across the Valley came together to support major sporting events, a key driver in Arizona’s economy. The combined economic impact of these three events is projected to be hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Final Four bid was a community effort that included Arizona State University as the host institution, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority and local municipalities, sports organizations and tourism bureaus, all working together under one banner.
Glendale City Manager Brenda Fischer told The Arizona Republic that Phoenix’s bid “was very well orchestrated and executed. And if everyone is flying in the same direction, you have a better lift.”
Bagnato Pflipsen Communications was part of the effort. We wrote Phoenix’s Final Four bid and directed the publicity for the entire project, including the NCAA’s site visit in September and in person presentation in November.
This is Phoenix’s first Final Four, and it will mark the return of the event to the West for the first time since 1995, when it was played in Seattle’s since-demolished Kingdome.
There’s little question that geography played a role in Phoenix’s selection; after all, the “N” in NCAA stands for “National,” so it seemed fitting that the NCAA give every region a taste of its No. 1 event. But Phoenix also has a world-class stadium, balmy spring weather, plenty of hotels and restaurants and an energetic volunteer base.
With so many big events on the horizon, some might to wonder whether the Valley will tire of being in the spotlight. Don’t count on it.
“We’re ready to go now,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix.