Category Archives: Sports

Arizona Rattlers show strong attendance after layoff

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal]

Photo credit: Jim Poulin/The Business Journal

The first season back for the Arena Football League is in the books and the Arizona Rattlers ranked 4th in attendance out of 15 teams.

The Rattlers averaged 10,800 fans per game this AFL season, according to Arena Fan Inc.

That’s fourth best behind a trio of Florida teams. The Tampa Bay Storm had the best attendance at 15,200 per game.

Scottsdale real estate investment exeutive Brett Bouchy is the managing partner of both the Rattlers and Predators. Both teams made the Arena league playoffs. The Spokane Shock won the Arena league title on Friday.

The Arena league was back this summer after taking a year off because of the down economy. The Rattlers play at US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix, which seats 16,100 for Arena ball.

The attendance for the Rattlers and the Florida teams is respectable considering the AFL was off for a year and the league is rebuilding its fan and sponsorship base. The AFL also did not have a lot of media exposure either in local market or nationally. Games were televised on the NFL Network and Rattlers games locally on KAZT-TV Channel 7.

Rattlers sponsors include the Phoenix New Times, Scottsdale Healthcare, NAPA Auto Parts and First Credit Union. The team is also in the midst of a season ticket sales push for next year.

Arena League attendance leaders:

  • Tampa Bay Shock: 15,200
  • Orlando Predators: 11,200
  • Jacksonville Sharks: 11,100
  • Arizona Rattlers: 10,800

Source: Arena Fan Inc.

Phoenix market attendance for current or most recent season:

  • Cardinals: 63,100, 99 percent full
  • Suns: 17,650, 96 percent full
  • Coyotes: 12,000, 69 percent full
  • Rattlers: 10,800, 67 percent full
  • Diamondbacks: 24,800, 51 percent full

Source: ESPN, Arena Fan Inc.

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Downtown Phoenix lifeguards are best in Arizona

[Via: City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department]

Lifeguards at Phoenix Parks and Recreation pools earned top team honors at this year’s statewide annual American Red Cross Ultimate Lifeguard Challenge on July 18.

Competing against 48 teams from throughout the state, the team of four City of Phoenix pool staff members won the Top Overall Team category, the Coed Active Victim Rescue and the Coed Rescue Tube Relay events and placed second in the Submerged Object Recovery event.

The American Red Cross holds the competition each year to test speed and rescue skill for lifeguards. All City of Phoenix lifeguards are American Red Cross certified.

James Campbell, Rachel Rodia, Alicia King and Charles Woodruff represented the City of Phoenix at the competition. They work at Mountain View, University and Harmon pools.  (Both University and Harmon pools are close to downtown Phoenix.)

Information on city of Phoenix pools, including information on lifeguard training and certification, is available online at phoenix.gov/parks or by calling 602-262-6541.

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Proposed tax zones could benefit Phoenix Coyotes and Suns arenas

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — A measure put forward at the Arizona Legislature would allow the city of Glendale to create a special tax district to help the Phoenix Coyotes and Jobing.com Arena.  The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Phoenix, also could allow the city of Phoenix to establish a similar tax zone around US Airways Center downtown, where the Phoenix Suns play.

House Bill 2193 would allow Arizona cities to create special tax districts around enclosed, city-owned sports arenas.  Sales tax revenue collected within two miles of those venues would be earmarked for use by the arenas and for public infrastructure within their zones.  The cities also could issue bonds against the money to finance projects and the sports complexes’ operations.

Weiers said earlier this week the bill is aimed at helping the Coyotes hockey team stay in the Valley.  The Coyotes are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and have lost more than $300 million since moving to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.   The team currently is owned by the National Hockey League…

The bill would exclude University of Phoenix Stadium from a Glendale tax zone, Weiers said, because the measure limits the taxing districts to areas around enclosed arenas owned by Arizona cities.  That could allow a tax zone in downtown Phoenix, as US Airways Center is owned by the city of Phoenix.  But Chase Field and the Phoenix Convention Center would not be included in that tax zone.  [Note: Read the full article at Proposed tax zones could benefit Phoenix Coyotes and Suns arenas.]

Nation’s largest single-day marathon starts in downtown Phoenix

[Source: Dana Caporaso, ABC News 15] — More than 30,000 runners from around the world laced up their shoes for the Valley’s seventh annual P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon.  From professional runners to part-time joggers, kids to adults, the contestants say completing the marathon is like nothing else.  “The satisfaction that I completed something that a lot of people didn’t do, I guess I got up and did it and that feels good,” says contestant Alison Lopez.

Hassan Shariff says this wasn’t his first time running the marathon.  “I’ve done it once before and I really want to finish it today.  My real focus is I just want to do it again and maybe at a better time,” said Shariff.

The P.F. Chang’s Marathon is the largest single day marathon and half marathon in the United States.  The course started in downtown Phoenix and ended up in Tempe.  [Note: To read the full article, visit Nation’s largest single-day marathon starts in downtown Phoenix.]

Waste Management adding name to Phoenix Open

[Source: Peter Corbett, Arizona Republic] — Golf’s largest spectator event in Scottsdale will get a new title sponsor in 2010 when Waste Management replaces FBR Capital Markets in backing the Phoenix Open.   The golf tournament will be called the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the 75th event at the TPC Scottsdale in February.   The Open is the best attended tournament on the PGA Tour with weekly crowds of close to a half million people.

Houston-based Waste Management, the largest U.S. trash hauler, will continue to collect the garbage at the Open, and is launching a major recycling initiative.  [Note: To read the full article, click Waste Management adding name to Phoenix Open.]

Despite mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix feels real estate, consumer stress

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon extolled the economic resilience of downtown Phoenix [last] week during this annual “State of Downtown” speech.  Gordon said Arizona State University’s expansion of its downtown campus, construction of the mixed-use CityScape project, and the light rail system are helping the area. He also said while sales tax revenue is down citywide, it is up 13 percent in downtown Phoenix.  “Yes, it’s been a tough year economically for everyone.  You’ve heard all about it, read all about and felt it,” Gordon said.  “But in spite of it all, we’ve still got a lot going on in downtown Phoenix.”

Notwithstanding the mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix faces some economic problems.  High-rise condominium developers face questionable financial futures because of troubles with pricing and occupancy.  The Hotel Monroe redevelopment at Central Avenue and Monroe Street remains stalled, and the boarded-up building has become a haven for pigeons.  The total amount of vacant space in downtown Phoenix stands at 1.05 million square feet — up from 630,400 square feet in the first quarter of 2007, according to Colliers International.  The downtown vacancy rate is 13.8 percent, compared with 8.5 percent in first-quarter 2007, according to Colliers.

Downtown also is feeling the effects of pulled-back consumer spending.  A number of downtown businesses have closed because of the recession, including Weiss Guys Car Wash at Grand Avenue and Van Buren Street and the China Inn restaurant at the Colliers Center.

The two downtown pro sports teams also face economic challenges.  The Arizona Diamondbacks had a poor season on the field and drew about 381,000 fewer fans than in 2008, according to ESPN.  The Phoenix Suns have gotten off to strong start on the court — but, like other sports teams, they face hurdles in attracting and keeping fans during the consumer doldrums.  [Note: Read the full article at Despite mayor’s optimism, downtown Phoenix feels real estate, consumer stress.]

The mayor (of Sacramento) speaks out about downtown Phoenix

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Sacramento Mayor (and former Phoenix Suns player) Kevin Johnson

From an article in the Sacramento Press about the possibility of a new sports arena in downtown Sacramento… “[Mayor Kevin] Johnson also pointed to his time as an NBA player, which he said he doesn’t talk about a whole lot.  ‘I lived in Phoenix when there was no arena downtown, and I was also part of a team that helped bring an arena downtown,’ Johnson said.  ‘Phoenix was a ghost town, much worse than Sacramento.  If you go to downtown Phoenix now, it’s a whole new town because of the catalytic impact that the arena had [on] downtown.  I think the year was 1993; if you look at what has transpired over the last 16 years, [it proves] that [an arena] can galvanize a downtown community.'”

In Phoenix, weekend users make light rail a success

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Valley Metro train on Washington St. in Phoenix, where ridership exceeds expectations. (Photo credlt: Joshua Lott, New York Times)

[Source: Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times] — Among the many detractors — and they were multitudinous — who thought a light rail line in this sprawling city would be a riderless $1 billion failure was Starlee Rhoades, the spokeswoman for the Goldwater Institute, a vocal critic of the rail’s expense. “I’ve taken it,” Ms. Rhoades said, slightly sheepishly.  “It’s useful.”

She and her colleagues still think the rail is oversubsidized, but in terms of predictions of failure, she said, “We don’t dwell.”

The light rail here, which opened in December, has been a greater success than its proponents thought it would be, but not quite the way they envisioned.  Unlike the rest of the country’s public transportation systems, which are used principally by commuters, the 20 miles of light rail here stretching from central Phoenix to Mesa and Tempe is used largely by people going to restaurants, bars, ball games and cultural events downtown.  The rail was projected to attract 26,000 riders per day, but the number is closer to 33,000, boosted in large part by weekend riders.  Only 27 percent use the train for work, according to its operator, compared with 60 percent of other public transit users on average nationwide.

In some part thanks to the new system, downtown Phoenix appears to be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise economically pummeled city, which like the rest of Arizona has suffered under the crushing slide of the state’s economy.  The state, for years almost totally dependent on growth, has one of the deepest budget deficits in the country.   [Note: To read the full article, visit In Phoenix, weekend users make light rail a success.]

Red Bull Manny Mania closes down Roosevelt Row (on purpose)

On First Friday, more than 5,000 fans packed downtown Phoenix, Arizona, to get a glimpse of Red Bull Manny Mania, the amateur skateboarding competition based on ‘the manual,’ a skateboarding trick similar to a wheelie.  Thirty locals tried their hand, with Ryan Lay coming out on top.  To view the full video, click here.

Lucky Strike Lanes to bowl into downtown Phoenix

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What to expect at Lucky Strike (Photo source: Lucky Strike Lanes)

[Source: MetroMix, Arizona Republic] — The “swanky” bowling destination Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge is moving into downtown Phoenix’s CityScape development, announced RED Development LLC, the company behind the project.  Known for its signature cocktails and celebrity guests, the alley is set to open in the spring of 2010, which is when many of the restaurants, bars, and shops in the $900 million space are scheduled to open.  Eventually, a grocery store, hotel, offices and a pharmacy will open in the mixed-used development, stretching from First Avenue to Second Street and from Washington to Jefferson streets.

The Phoenix location will be 18,000 square feet, with 12 lanes, four of which will be in the Luxe Lanes bar, and it will have a VIP area.  In more than 20 cities, the 5-year-old chain has brought an element of “red-carpet panache” to a traditionally blue-collar pastime, as celebrities in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami have “flocked” to the Lucky Strikes in those cities.  [Note: Read the full article at Lucky Strike Lanes to bowl into downtown Phoenix.]