PHOENIX — The Arizona Cardinals spent August in Flagstaff for almost a quarter-century before moving training camp to Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium.
Some predicted that Flagstaff’s economy would suffer from the loss, but the city didn’t just survive, it actually saw a big boost in tourism dollars.
Spending at restaurants and bars was up almost 12 percent in August from the same time last year and hotel bookings jumped 7 percent from last August.
Heidi Hansen with the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau said an aggressive ad campaign in the Valley helped.
“We took out ads on the light rail and we did King Kong bus wraps that are moving billboards,” Hansen said. “People came up and enjoy Snowbowl Sky Ride and do the Flagstaff Extreme where they climb and zip line in the trees. Lowell Observatory and other attractions were also very popular.”
Flagstaff also ran an ad campaign in Las Vegas.
Hansen said the city did take a tourism hit during the government shutdown but the big moneymaking ski season is just weeks away.
“(Arizon Snowbowl) can make snow now, so that is going to be a big push,” she said.
Mayor Jerry Nabours said the city enjoyed having the Cardinals in town “but as a financial impact on Flagstaff, it doesn’t matter if they’re here or not.”
Nabours also pointed out that Northern Arizona University is enjoying a strong football season. There have been a few home sellout crowds, which is pumping even more dollars into the local economy.
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