Glendale sports boom discussion


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May 21, 2005
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Glendale is becoming quite the sports hub, good for them (lets try not to turn this into a West Valley vs East Valley pissing match):

USA Basketball to boost Valley economy
Training hub to draw streams of visitors
by Carrie Watters - Nov. 18, 2008 12:53 PM
The Arizona Republic
Hundreds of up-and-coming hoops players will trek to Glendale each year as USA Basketball confirmed Monday it will move its headquarters and training operations to the Valley, bringing an annual economic boost pegged at $63.4 million.

USA Basketball is the governing body of international basketball in the United States, fielding national teams for international competitions, the pinnacle being the men's and women's Olympic teams.

Gov. Janet Napolitano attended today's official announcement, in which the Glendale City Council approved a memorandum of understanding for the project, which will include USA Basketball's executive offices, a multi-court training facility and a 150-room hotel.

“The amenities which will be available at our headquarters and on the campus are distinctive and high-end, and will greatly expand our capacity to contribute to the overall growth of our sport,” said outgoing USA Basketball president Val Ackerman, who led relocation efforts.

Former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, who put together the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning team, was instrumental in the move. Colangelo was recently elected chairman of USA Basketball's board of directors.

Hundreds of construction jobs will be created to build the $53.8 million training campus along Loop 101 off Maryland Avenue. Once completed, as early as 2010, the campus will feature a training center, offices, a hotel, a Midwestern University sports medicine clinic and a fitness center. In all it should create 324 direct jobs, and nearly double that when including peripheral jobs, such as those in tourism.

The campus is expected to add $26.5 million to Glendale's tax coffers over the next 25 years. But its larger value is part of a winning puzzle the city has pieced together, said Valley economist Elliott Pollack, who completed an economic-impact study on the deal.

"They just create a lot of synergies that do not exist anywhere else, with the possible exception of downtown (Phoenix)," Pollack said. "It's fairly amazing - it's working even in what is a terrible economic environment."

Within about a two-mile radius in the past five years, Glendale has added professional hockey, professional football, Major League Baseball and now amateur basketball. It has hosted a college football championship and Super Bowl XLII.

That intense focus on "an impressive and growing roster of sports properties" held sway over Ackerman.

City Manager Ed Beasley, who has navigated Glendale's rise, said other sports governing bodies have made inquiries - and he isn't closing that door - but the city's goal is to create a destination that attracts quality development. USA Basketball's Olympic dream teams, made up of NBA and WNBA stars, offers that buzz.

City leaders advocate for those senior teams to train here, although the agreement acknowledges that could depend on logistics. The deal requires only some Olympian presence, which could mean an exhibition match at nearby Arena or players working with area youth.

USA Basketball stretches beyond the Olympics, fielding national teams for players as young as 15. The training center is where athletes will prepare for such competitions as the new youth Olympics and the Pan American Games.

Keeping with the push for development that takes Glendale beyond a bedroom community, Beasley called USA Basketball a commanding anchor tenant for Main Street Glendale.

The private development project is anticipated to cover 500 acres that winds from University of Phoenix Stadium on the opposite side of the loop down to Glendale's spring training ballpark on Camelback Road, a second major anchor for Main Street.

The city is putting in roads and infrastructure around its spring training baseball stadium, which will benefit the private development.

In contrast, city incentives for the basketball deal are minimal - rebating hotel taxes for athletes.

Scottsdale-based Rightpath Development Group, the developers behind Main Street, will bear numerous expenses, down to $150,000 to relocate USA Basketball from Colorado.

Rightpath will build, operate and maintain the training center. USA Basketball will have a 30-year-lease without rent and two 10-year renewal options.

The governing body will keep receipts from ticket and other sales at its events.

Rightpath will also build, at a minimum, a three-star, 150-room hotel, and give 2,500 room nights to USA Basketball for athletes training at the center, as well as provide meals, free of cost.

Rick Burton, a principal with Rightpath, had no complaints. He said USA Basketball is an asset that will help lure other high-end tenants.

USA Basketball does most of its training from May to September, but that could expand now that it will have its own training center. The organization and others involved in the deal said they want to try to increase training opportunities not only for elite athletes but for local teams.

"This shows all the possibilities," Beasley said. "If you can practice where a LeBron James has practiced, you can see how he conducts himself, and how you conduct yourself . . . it doesn't mean you are going to be a professional ball player, but you are going to be exposed to it."

USA Basketball campus
Across Loop 101 from University of Phoenix Stadium, the USA Basketball complex will encompass 253,000 square feet. It will feature:

• Executive offices - 18,000 square feet.

• Training facility for athletes - 40,000 square feet.

• 150-room hotel with restaurant and bar - 130,000 square feet.

• Sports medicine clinic - 25,000 square feet.

• Fitness facility - 40,000 square feet.
Map of headqua

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USA hoops helps put Glendale in Valley spotlight
by Bob Young - Nov. 17, 2008 10:13 PM
The Arizona Republic
There was a time when the only good reason we could think of to go to Glendale was Max's Sports Lounge.

Man, how times have changed.

While downtown, with Chase Field, US Airways Center and the soon-to-be-operating light rail, remains a terrific sports and entertainment destination, it is Glendale that has become the epicenter.

On Tuesday, the Glendale City Council is expected to approve a new training center and administrative headquarters for USA Basketball, the organization led by Jerry Colangelo that assembles our national teams, including the U.S. men's and women's Olympic squads.

The center would include a training complex; office space; sports-medicine facilities; and fitness, education and entertainment components.

It means we're likely to see guys such as LeBron James and Chris Paul hanging around the Valley a lot more, too.

And Colangelo can add yet another piece to his portfolio. The man behind the Valley's first pro franchise, its first major sports championship, a downtown revitalization and the Olympic gold medal-winning Redeem Team, Colangelo probably ought to be up for an honorary degree in architecture from somebody.

Inferior? Not any more
The USA Basketball complex is the latest coup for Glendale, where for many years the only complex in town was one of inferiority.

Just think that about 10 years ago, Mesa rejected a $38 million bond issue that would have brought a stadium for the Cardinals to that city.

Mesa also rejected a sales tax in 2002 for a Cardinals home but did fork over $46 million in incentives a few years later for Mesa Riverview, a shopping center that features a Bass Pro Shops franchise.

Actually, that sucker might be big enough to put a football field inside, but near as we can tell there is no retractable roof on it.

Anyway, it's just the latest evidence that Glendale has become a sports mecca.


• University of Phoenix Stadium not only houses the Cardinals but played host to last season's Super Bowl and is in the rotation for the NFL's crowning event.

• It is about to be awarded an NCAA Final Four.

• The Los Angeles Dodgers have moved their spring training from Florida to Glendale, and the Chicago White Sox are going to leave Tucson to join them there.

• University of Phoenix Stadium is home to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which is in the BCS National Championship game rotation.

• The 5A Division I and Division II state football championship games will be played at the stadium Dec. 12.

• And Arena is home to the NHL's Coyotes, who might play host to a playoff game there one day.

OK, so maybe Mesa isn't lamenting the loss of the Coyotes so much. But that's still a lot of reasons to go to Glendale.

And Mesa? Hey, it puts on a heck of a Thanksgiving turkey trot.

Final Four picks could come Wednesday
by Craig Harris - Nov. 18, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
The men's college basketball Final Four could be awarded to Glendale as early as Wednesday, giving the city and University of Phoenix Stadium a chance to host a third major U.S. sports championship.

Glendale officials are optimistic that the NCAA, college sports' governing association, will tap the city to host the championship.

It is college hoops' premier event, bringing thousands of fans and a multimillion-dollar economic impact. Glendale already has hosted an NFL Super Bowl and college football's championship game.

The NCAA is expected to award five Final Fours for 2012 to 2016.

The announcement had been expected today but was postponed at the last minute.

"We won't have an announcement Tuesday for unforeseen circumstances," said David Worlock, associate director of the NCAA men's Division I basketball committee. "It had nothing to do with the selection of the cities." Worlock declined to elaborate on the reason.

"I cannot envision any reason why we would not be selected to host the game," Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs said. "We have the best venue, a proven track record of being able to host very large events, and we do it successfully so people have a great time."

Glendale, which made its final pitch last week in Indianapolis at the NCAA's headquarters, is among 10 metropolitan areas seeking a Final Four. Glendale has requested any of the years.

The games, two semifinals and a final played over three days, would be staged inside University of Phoenix Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLII this past February. The stadium, also home to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, hosted college football's Bowl Championship Series title game in 2007.

Worlock said the other finalists are Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and St. Louis.

The only community not to have hosted a previous Final Four is Glendale-Phoenix.

It's unlikely any city will be awarded more than one Final Four, but there are no rules that would prevent it, Worlock said.

The Final Four last year in San Antonio had an economic impact of more than $47 million, Worlock said.

Worlock said a 10-member committee would choose the host cities.

Dawn Rogers, an associate athletic director at Arizona State University who is heading the bid process, said events would be in downtown Phoenix; pregame and postgame functions would be at the stadium.

Rogers said ASU Athletics Director Lisa Love, Fiesta Bowl Chairman John Junker, Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority Chief Executive Tom Sadler, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Steve Moore and Jerry Colangelo, a longtime sports executive, made a presentation to the NCAA on Nov. 11.

I hope Glendale gets the 2012 Final Four, not only is it the soonest available but it would tie in w. the big Arizona Centennial, which I think would be fun, I hope they mentioned that in their pitch.

'Sad day for Tucson': County accepts $5M for Sox departure

November 18, 2008, 12:55 p.m.
Tucson Citizen
The upcoming move of the Chicago White Sox to Glendale for spring training drew anger and resignation Tuesday from county supervisors who agreed to take the team's $5 million buyout offer.

Though the deal negates the contract bonding it here through 2012, the Sox still will be required to search for a replacement MLB spring training team for Tucson Electric Park.

An alternative proposal would have had the White Sox help establish and fund a youth and amateur sports tournament facility at TEP, including a MLB-affiliated Baseball Academy focusing on programs for at-risk kids in the community.

That was rejected in favor of the cash payout, some of which will go toward developing the youth and amateur sports facilities and tournament program by local entities.

"It's a really sad day for baseball here in Tucson," Board Chairman Richard Elías said before the supervisors' 5-0 vote to accept the White Sox's offer.

Supervisors reserved irate comments not so much for the White Sox but for communities up north, which used revenues generated by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority to build new lavish facilities to lure MLB teams not only from Tucson but Florida as well.

The Phoenix-area sports authority was created by the Legislature as a financing mechanism to build the Arizona Cardinals' stadium that opened this year in Glendale.

"It was never the intent of the Legislature for the sports authority to be abused the way . . . Phoenix and Glendale abused it," said Supervisor Ramón Valadez, whose district contains TEP.

After the Cardinals' stadium was completed, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority continued to raise and use tax revenues to build new spring training facilities in such communities as Glendale and Goodyear.

Elías termed the actions of the Maricopa County communities to take spring training teams from other cities in the state - namely Tucson - as "cannibalism."

Some supervisors put a good face on the loss of the White Sox this coming spring training season.

"It think is is an opportunity," Supervisor Ann Day said. "Clearly we have a real need for more recreation and field space."

Day referred to proposals to use TEP for youth and amateur sports programs, including turning it into a host-destination site for major youth baseball and softball tournaments for the Southwest.

It could help offset the estimated loss of $10 million each spring spent locally by White Sox fans who travelled to Tucson for spring training, some said.

"Whatever the price of buying out the contract, the money should be used for youth sports," Jim Tiggas, who represents the Amateur Athletics Union, the oldest amateur youth sports advocacy organization in the United States.

Softball and baseball tournaments could be housed at TEP and draw large audiences, Tiggas said.

The Sox departure opens avenues for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies to move as well. Their contracts with Pima County and Tucson contain escape clauses that allow the teams to leave TEP and Hi Corbett Field if there are not at least three MLB teams here for spring training.

Hotel, restaurant, rental car, and other services in the area reap about $30 million annually from the teams, players, and fans each spring, hospitality industry officials estimate.

The supervisors directed County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to set aside $500,000 for the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority over the next two years to develop youth and amateur sports programs - and also for travel and promotional activities to try to bring a different MLB team to TEP for spring training to offset the loss of the White Sox.

Huckelberry had recommended accepting the buyout because the TEP-White Sox lease was marginally profitable - bringing the county about $500,000 from the team each spring.

Though $5 million was increased over the Sox's earlier offer of $4 million, Huckelberry said the buyout probably would not have gone higher.

Since there now will only be 2 teams in Tucson (Rockies and Dbacks) the Rockies can opt out of their deal, and if they're the only team down there, the Dbacks can opt out. So likely the days of Spring Training baseball in Tucson are over. I'm fine with that, as driving down to Tucson was always a pain, though TEP is a nice facility that will I guess mostly sit empty (now that the Sidewinders are leaving too). The big draw of the Cactus league is the limited travel and proximity of all the stadiums together, so its no surprise that the teams want out of Tucson. I'm sure its a bummer for those in Southern AZ, and I suppose hurts the D'backs ability to grow a state wide fan base, but, its better for Valley fans.


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May 21, 2005
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Not related to Glendale, but related to the White Sox coming north, the D'backs may be looking to do the same:
Diamondbacks look to train near Phoenix
by Craig Harris - Nov. 18, 2008 03:53 PM
The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking at four new spring training sites around metro Phoenix, including one owned by the Gila River Indian Community, and could move from Tucson by 2011.

The D-Backs' actions are spurred by departure from Tucson of the Chicago White Sox, which became official Tuesday when Pima County allowed the team to leave for a new home in Glendale. The White Sox are paying $5 million to the county to break their lease, which was to run through 2012.

That decision leaves just the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies in the Old Pueblo for the 2009 Cactus League season.

Team President Derrick Hall said the Diamondbacks have to weigh all their options.

"We would rather just stay there, and everyone knows that," said Hall, who was attending baseball meetings in New York. "But there has to be more than two teams. That's our issue."

Hall said the Diamondbacks are at a competitive disadvantage with the departure of the White Sox because there's one less team to play in Tucson. He said neither the Diamondbacks nor the Rockies benefit by playing each other numerous times. In addition, he said, teams based in metro Phoenix typically don't bring all their stars to Tucson.

Hall also said the Diamondbacks may partner with the Rockies on a new spring-training facility.

The Rockies, who train at Hi Corbett Field and want significant improvements, could not be reached.

The Diamondbacks are contractually obligated to have spring training at Tucson Electric Park through 2012, while the Rockies have a contract to play at Hi Corbett until 2011.

However, Hall said the White Sox departure triggers escape clauses for both teams.

Hall said the Diamondbacks would like to decide shortly after the first of the year on a future spring training site. He said the timing was necessary because it takes 18 months to two years to build a new facility.

Just south of Phoenix, the Gila River Indian Community is working on a feasibility study and economic impact analysis on whether to build a two-team facility. The tribal council is slated to consider the proposal in January.

Dwight Fujimoto, general manager of the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority, confirmed Tuesday he has spoken with the Diamondbacks.

He would not disclose what other team tribal officials have pursued.

Hall said any new facility would be privately financed, and he said the team has talked with other tribes.

Hall also said talks are under way with private developers to build a new facility in Tucson for the Diamondbacks.

I think the idea of putting the site on a res. is a great idea, it'll be another revenue source for the tribes who badly need it, and the Arizona/Phoenix governments are getting sick of paying for these things Im sure. However Im personally not a big fan of the idea of having it down on the Gila River location, its a bit out of the way for a lot of folks (though so are many new Spring Training sites).

I think an awesome location would be on the SE corner of McClintock and McKellips, back behind the drive in. It would be on the Salt River Indian reservation, could border the river (which is more or less full in that area, and could serve as an incentive to extend the town lake east if the ballpark was built riverside) and would be centrally located. It would be easy to access from Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix, with great freeway access and close to places like Tempe marketplace, the new Waveyard waterpark in Mesa, et cetera.


Jun 23, 2005
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Glendale is an odd choice for team USA headquarters considering the weather is miserable in the summer, the peak training season for the team.


Sep 2, 2002
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Glendale is an odd choice for team USA headquarters considering the weather is miserable in the summer, the peak training season for the team.

Thinking JC may be behind this one...

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