PHOENIX — The NFL has packed up and left town. Waiting in the wings: the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game and the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four, creating a sports fan’s paradise.
Phoenix has validated itself as a major athletic events destination but sustaining that momentum calls for the creation of a sports commission to centralize efforts to keep the ball rolling. That’s what David Rousseau proposed in a post-Super Bowl press conference Monday.
“One thing that the Valley needs to do is to take advantage of the collective experience and make sure that experience doesn’t go back on the job market and try to ration some sort of sports commission like there is in other markets (such as) New Orleans and Texas that are used to hosting major sporting events,” said Rousseau, chairman of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.
With Super Bowl XLIX in the books, the duties of the committee are dwindling to reports on the economic impact and lessons learned about hosting major sporting events.
“It really showed the local people the vision for what we know Phoenix can be. So in a way, we hope it’s a tipping point,” said Jay Parry, the committee’s president. “We are so well-suited to host mega events (such as) the Super Bowl. With (the national football championship game) coming up next year, with the NCAA Final Four coming up the year after, we think that this is a great jumping-off point for Arizona and great things are going to come from it.”
Parry expects the Super Bowl to have a positive hangover running up to the college football championship game.
“I think just the energy we created around the Super Bowl will live on, there will be a halo effect, we’ll continue to host mega events whether its conventions, sporting events, hopefully some political conventions,” Parry said. “It really is a momentum we’ve created that will continue on.”
Local fans and visitors are likely to see similar events from the past week next January when the college football season climaxes in Arizona.
“I know we had a contingent of Arizonans go to the (college football playoff national championship) game in Dallas a few weeks ago to take a look at everything going on and they’re going to import some of what they saw,” Parry said.
“But also build on what we created for Verizon Super Bowl Central and many of the Super Bowl programs around the Valley, so I think (there will be) more to come on that as the months unfold.”
San Francisco has been passed the torch for Super Bowl 50, which will be played Feb. 7, 2016, but the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee believes the NFL will return for another Super Bowl in the near future.
David Farca, a host committee board member, hopes Phoenix will be in the rotation for a Super Bowl every five to seven years and said the year 2020 has a nice ring to it.
For the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, foresight is 20/20 this time around.