Sporting events expected to boost Arizona’s tourism revenue beyond the big game

Feb 11, 2023, 7:15 AM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 7:57 am
General view of State Farm Stadium on January 28, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona.  State Farm Stadium wi...
General view of State Farm Stadium on January 28, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. State Farm Stadium will host the NFL Super Bowl LVII on February 12. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

This is the final segment of KTAR News’ All Eyes on AZ leading up to the big game. This week’s article on tourism is brought to you by PNC Bank.

PHOENIX — More than 120,000 people descended upon the Valley in 2015 when the big game was last played in Glendale.

The Arizona Department of Tourism is expecting an even higher number of visitors this year and more generated revenue for the state from Sunday’s main event at State Farm Stadium along with the WM Phoenix Open.

“When we talk about visitation, we talk about over 120,000 here, more people than seats to the game, so we love that,” Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism Debbie Johnson told KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Evening News on Friday. “But what we also love is you think about the 115 million people worldwide and probably more than that this year who are going to see this game and more importantly see Arizona.

“We love that. It brings people to our economy not just for this game but for years afterward who saw us because of this game.”

The matchup in 2015 between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots drew 114.4 viewers, the most on a single network in U.S. television history at the time.

“We had almost $720 million in revenue generated for our economic impact into our state (in 2015), so all that money comes into our state and benefits our residents who live here and that is a great thing for everybody,” Johnson said.

The $719 million generated was the most driven by a single event in state history, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. In 2015, Arizona saw an 8.8% increase in year-end tourism taxes from 2014.

The Valley has been busy all week leading up to Sunday with concerts, NFL Experience events and other football-themed festivities. Less than two weeks after the final whistle at State Farm Stadium, Spring Training games will begin to continue keeping eyes on the state.

Johnson pointed out that Arizona is offering its prefect tourism weather this week to help the cause and had some recommendations for tourists looking to get out of the city for a day — probably not Sunday, though.

She suggested the Grand Canyon, Whiskey Row in Prescott, wineries in Verde Valley and Kartchner Caverns in Bisbee as worthwhile day trips. Not a bad idea for out-of-towners avoiding the increased traffic at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday, as the airport is preparing for its busiest day of the year with up to 180,000 people coming through.

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Sporting events expected to boost Arizona’s tourism revenue beyond the big game