The University of Alabama and Clemson University will play in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship tonight in Glendale, Arizona and the game will bring an estimated 300,000 fans to the Greater Phoenix area this week. The championship game is just one of the major sporting events hosted by Arizona in recent years.
The Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff National Championship and the upcoming 2017 Final Four showcase the Grand Canyon state’s ability to serve as a national hub for mega-events.
Here are the top three reasons that Arizona is prime meeting ground for major events:
- Space and infrastructure: Phoenix is prepared for the influx of people and excitement that comes with world-class sporting events. With Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport as well as U.S. Airways and Southwest aviation hubs, the city is an easy one for travelers to reach. There are approximately 450 hotels in the greater Phoenix area and a number restaurants that are prepared to accommodate crowds. A light rail system makes it easy to explore the area as it connects much of the valley and provides transportation to and from the airport.
- Weather: Arizona boasts 325 days of sunshine annually. While much of the country sees grey, dark skies and snow through the winter, Arizona has prime hiking weather and plenty of opportunities for basking in the rays and taking in vitamin D.
- Things to do: Visiting fans will find more than stadiums to keep them busy in the Valley of the Sun. Downtown Phoenix came to life Super Bowl weekend and the night before the National Championship game with fan festivals, concerts and interactive activities for families. Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler each offer unique options for art, food and night life. And, the there are endless opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities.
As much as fans and tourists benefit from Arizona’s venues and sunshine, the state’s economy sees the positive impact of its visitors. According to the Phoenix Business Journal, last year’s Super Bowl weekend brought in nearly $5 million more in tourism revenue than the city had seen the previous year.
Phoenix is rare in its ability to accommodate the masses. Already valley leaders are looking to the year 2021 to bring football fans back to the valley for another Super Bowl. As Governor Ducey said in his State of the State address today, “We can think big, and aim high. So why stop now.”