Sports & Rec
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
ARIZONA RATTLERS EXTEND AGREEMENT WITH US AIRWAYS CENTER;
ENHANCE PARTNERSHIP WITH PHOENIX SUNS
Multi-year extension includes dedicated sales staff, collaborative business efforts
The Arizona Rattlers announce a multi-year extension that will keep the team at US Airways Center in Downtown Phoenix for the foreseeable future. The extension includes an enhanced partnership with the Phoenix Suns designed to create a fully integrated fan experience platform, including dedicated sales staff, at US Airways Center.
The integrated sales and service structure reflects the current model being used by the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury organizations.
“When deciding where the best fit for the Rattlers would be in the Valley, we chose Downtown Phoenix because we consider it our home. This partnership with the Suns is the right choice for the Rattlers and our dedicated fan base,” said Ron Shurts, Arizona Rattlers owner. “Working closely with the Suns to enhance our ticket sales and season ticket holder base is a priority for the franchise.”
Already a success on the field, the Rattlers organization will collaborate with the Suns organization to create a business structure designed to result in championship-level success off the field.
“The Rattlers have been a staple at US Airways Center since the venue opened in 1992,” said Jason Rowley, Phoenix Suns president. “As five-time ArenaBowl champions, they have enjoyed incredible success on the field. We’re excited to build on that with an integrated business model off the field as well.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge: World Challenge XXIII
For the past 23 years, the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge has been the premier sports competition for firefighters. This week, over 700 firefighters from all over the world will convene near the Hard Rock Café in downtown Phoenix for the time trials of what ESPN dubbed “The Toughest Two Minutes in Sports!”
Starting with the tower climb, accessorized with a 42 lb pack of hose on their shoulder, each firefighter will dash to the top of a five-story tower where they will hoist a 42 lb donut roll of hose up, and deposit it in a box. They will then make their way down the tower, and hop on a forcible entry machine, pushing a 180 lb beam of steel a distance of 5 feet back, with a 9.5 lb mallet. After completion, competitors will race through a series of cones to a charged fire hose, which they will drag to, and shoot down a target. Lastly they will make their way to a 175 lb rescue manikin, and drag him 100 feet to the finish line. And the world record for all of that? 1 minute 19 seconds, with a strong possibility that it might be broken in Phoenix!
Come check out the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge as the competition roars in from Monday, November 3, through Thursday, November 6; then moves to the Phoenix International Raceway for the finals on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9! This is a great event for the whole family, and a fantastic opportunity to come and support the heroes who put their lives on the line for all of us, every day!
November 3-6, 10 AM daily, S 2nd Street between E Washington Street and E Jefferson Street
November 8-9, 9 AM Saturday, 8 AM Sunday, Phoenix International Raceway
Images courtesy of Scott Firefighter Challenge.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
FITPHX LAUNCHES WEEKLY “MEET ME DOWNTOWN” COMMUNITY WALK/RUN WITH TITLE SPONSOR BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF ARIZONA
A new event, “Meet Me Downtown,” will draw hundreds of walkers and runners to downtown Phoenix every week. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is title sponsor, partnering with the city’s FitPHX program. Operating partners are Downtown Phoenix, Inc.; CityScape Phoenix; The Corner restaurant; Sole Sports Running Zone; the Phoenix Parks Foundation and Meet Me Concepts, which has operated a similar event in Tucson for more than five years.
The inaugural Meet Me Downtown walk/run will be Monday, Nov. 10, with participants meeting up starting at 5:15 p.m. each week at The Corner restaurant at CityScape Phoenix. See a map of the 3+ mile route (below) and details at www.meetmedowntownphx.com and follow/like the new social media sites – @mmdtphx and facebook.com/mmdtphx.
“Our goal is for Meet Me Downtown to be a must-do, fun activity that becomes a tradition in our thriving downtown,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “It’s a great opportunity for our FitPHX citywide initiative to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and downtown businesses.”
“Meet Me Downtown is not only an opportunity for residents to run and walk with their friends, family members and colleagues,” said Councilman Valenzuela. “It also is a unique way for residents to come together as a community, move toward our FitPHX goals, and experience the sights, sounds and spaces of downtown Phoenix.”
The second Meet Me Downtown, on Nov. 17, will feature health education from BCBSAZ.
“Supporting the city of Phoenix and Downtown Phoenix, Inc. through FitPHX’s Meet Me Downtown fits our mission – helping improve the quality of lives for Arizonans, said Jeff Stelnik, senior vice president of strategy, sales and marketing for BCBSAZ. “Residents will have the chance to interact with downtown businesses while getting fit. We are excited to be the title sponsor.”
Meet Me Downtown will take place every Monday night – rain, shine and holidays. Walkers and runners can check in at www.meetmedowntownphx.com and at The Corner, where an “MMDTPHX” hand stamp will be identification for restaurant discounts on Monday evenings. Sole Sports Running Zone along with the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors will be there to welcome and check everyone into the program.
The main route is 3.3 miles long, which should take about an hour for the average walker. There also is a two-mile extension option for runners who want to join friends for a five-mile weekly run. Back at The Corner around 7 p.m., Meet Me Downtown will have a free weekly raffle, and incentive awards for attending 10, 25, 50 and 100 times. On Nov. 10, the first 200 walkers/runners to arrive will receive free inaugural Meet Me Downtown t-shirts.
“Meet Me Downtown will provide a Monday night boost for our restaurants and businesses,” said Dave Krietor, CEO of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. “For those who have not been downtown in the last few years I think they will find the positive changes remarkable.”
Images courtesy of FitPHX.
DPJ’s Suns Spot blog series features a fan’s perspective of Phoenix’s first major league sports franchise.
What a difference a year makes. As the Suns entered the 2013-14 campaign, the prognosticators were all in agreement that they would finish at or near the bottom of the Western Conference with one of the worst records in the league.
Well, we all know how that turned out. They were the feel good story of the season, posting the league’s largest increase in wins from the previous year, and playing the fast paced, exciting basketball that Suns fans had grown accustomed to during the Nash, Barkley and KJ years. With 48 wins, they missed the playoffs by a single game in the brutal West.
As we enter the new season, those same experts are again predicting the Suns won’t make the playoffs and most have them winning fewer games. The focus seems to be on what the Suns don’t have, what they aren’t. “They are too small.” “They don’t have enough experience or depth in the front court.” “They will miss Channing Fry’s three point shooting on offense and his length on defense.” “Everyone had career years last year and no way will they all match that same production this season.” “They have too many guards, they won’t be able keep them all happy.” Blah blah blah.
This focus on the negative has national media missing the point (pun intended). There are several reasons to really like this team, and even expect them to be better this year.
- The coaching staff and most of the players have now gone through a second training camp together, working more on fine tuning the offensive and defensive philosophies than on teaching and learning.
- The team was 23 -11 when both Bledsoe and Dragic started, which, if projected over a full season, would’ve meant 55 wins and the number 4 seed last season. Expect them to be healthier this season and be even more comfortable in their second season together. They added to this strength by signing Isaiah Thomas, making their backcourt arguably the best and definitely the deepest in the league.
- Markieff Morris was the heir apparent to Channing Fry even before he left as a free agent. With increased minutes as a starter he will no doubt increase his production this season.
- The small forward position, which many consider a weak spot for the Suns, is actually very deep with each player displaying different, high level skills. Two of the team’s most productive players this preseason have been Marcus Morris and Gerald Green. Green is one of the most exciting and talented offensive players in the league, and Marcus Morris has shown great improvement both offensively and defensively. PJ Tucker can shut down three positions defensively and remains the heart and soul of the team. The best of them all may ultimately be rookie TJ Warren, who has shown an uncanny ability to score and has impressed with his defense as well.
- Last season was basically Miles Plumlee’s rookie season and with Alex Len’s injuries last season limiting him in camp and throughout the season, it could be argued this still is his rookie year. Expect both to make big leaps this year.
- This team has shown no signs of being comfortable with their improved standing last season. They remain hungry to improve and to prove all the experts wrong. The team chemistry that was so important to their success remains intact. They truly do seem to like each other and play for all the right reasons.
- Finally, this team is going to be FUN to watch. They will be one of the most exciting teams in the league and will likely lead again in fast break points and possibly total points this season. The various lineups Coach Hornacek can put on the floor will cause nightmares for opposing coaches.
As a Suns fan, I can’t wait to watch this team play this season. I hope you will join me in focusing on everything there is to like about this talented group. Fasten your seat belts, this is going to be quite a ride!
If You Go
Event: Phoenix Suns Home Opener
Date: Wednesday, October 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St.
Opening Night Promotion: 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Suns home opener t-shirt, courtesy of Coca-Cola and Fry’s Food Stores. Prior to tipoff, fans can enjoy music, face painting and a slam dunk competition. Limited tickets are still available and can be purchased at Suns.com.
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
Admit it. You sometimes spell Phoenix wrong. Pheonix. Phoneix. Even the City of Phoenix does too. But it’s going to be pretty hard – and heavy – to make edits on several misspelled cast iron manhole covers spotted by eagle-eyed downtowners. From here on out, as you read this update on downtown Phoenix goings-on, be assured that spell-check is on.
While there continues to be concern about the regional and state economy, downtown projects continue to move forward. Here’s the latest news on several notable downtown and midtown projects in the works: Central Station (Central & Van Buren), Lennar Multifamily Communities (Central & McDowell), and several Phoenix Convention Center-managed spaces, including the former Matador restaurant (1st St. & Adams).
A noted local attorney has contributed $10 million to help build Arizona State University’s new Arizona Center for Law and Society, including the future home of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, in downtown Phoenix. The contribution from Leo and Annette Beus is the largest single donation ever to the law school.
Last spring, Professor Lauren Allsopp and 16 graduate students from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning set out to create a reactivation plan for downtown’s historic, yet endangered, Warehouse District. The students’ work is summarized here.
Grand Canyon University is housing nearly 200 upperclass students at Roosevelt Point Apartments (3rd St. & Roosevelt) due to a shortage of onsite housing at the university’s 35th Ave. & Camelback campus. Last year, Roosevelt Point housed some GCU students, but on a much smaller scale.
On September 27 (before the rains came), a group of young downtown advocates organized and staged “Better Block PHX” on the block between Pierce and Garfield to demonstrate how existing “dead zones” (e.g., empty lots, vacant storefronts, asphalt parking lots) can be transformed into lively streetscapes, marketplaces, and community hubs.
On September 18, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration changed the west outbound flight path for planes departing from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The change directs planes to turn at a lower altitude between early afternoon and 2 a.m. over Lower Grand Avenue, rather than a more westerly and higher turn. The public in general and residents of the affected residential neighborhoods specifically were not made aware of the change, resulting in more than 240 noise questions or complaints in two weeks. In comparison, airport officials received 221 such complaints in all of 2013. The FAA and city officials will hold a community meeting on October 16 to discuss the noise complaints and rationale for the change.
City and economic development leaders are touting Phoenix to host one of three NCAA Basketball Final Fours in 2017, 2019, or 2020. Downtown Phoenix is key to the Final Four bid package because of the number of hotel rooms and the Phoenix Convention Center, which would be the site of the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention and the “Bracket Town” fanfest event. This is another great example of the working partnership that has emerged between the Phoenix CVB, Phoenix Convention Center and DPI.
My colleague Dan Klocke with the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corp. noted in a Downtown Devil article that this summer’s retail outlook in downtown was on par with, if not better than, previous years. “We’ve seen a few more restaurants open up and a couple more coming, and we see hotel occupancy levels climbing in the first six months of the year compared to last year, so that’s good.”
Some of the businesses that recently announced their intent to open downtown include GrabbaGreen (CityScape) and Sutra Yoga (2nd St. & Portland). Unfortunately we did lose one, The Local restaurant (3rd St. & Roosevelt) after a six month run.
Last month, the City of Phoenix won a $1.6 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery federal grant to extend light rail from downtown Phoenix to Baseline Road. Thousands of residents of south Phoenix will reap the benefits of a stronger public transportation system that increases their mobility to other parts of the Valley. This is a big deal and one more important contribution by retiring Representative Ed Pastor.
Seed Spot, the non-profit social entrepreneurial incubator, hosted Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Upon touring the Seed Spot office at Central and Thomas, Contreras-Sweet commended founder Courtney Klein on the group’s achievements, noting “I love the feel. It feels so organic.”
Co+Hoots, a coworking space in downtown Phoenix, has been ranked #8 on a list of the top 75 coworking spaces in the U.S. Symmetry50, a national bookkeeping service for small businesses, compiles the list. Founder Jenny Poon and Co+Hoots Foundation leader Kristin Romaine serve on the DPI Community Advisory Panel.
On the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Barry Broome and Ioanna Morfessis, respectively the current and past CEOs of GPEC, wrote this Arizona Republic op-ed and noted that downtown is all about what metro Phoenix could be: diversity, creativity, education, and entrepreneurship.
News for a Health, Fitness & Safety Checkup
DPI, Downtown Phoenix Journal, PCA and the Phoenix Suns invite you to attend our third Radiate PHX business and community networking event on Tuesday, October 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Verve Lounge at US Airways Center. Topics include updates on sports and fitness initiatives such as “FitPHX” and “Meet Me Downtown,” plus a preview of the Suns basketball season. Guest speakers include Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, chair of the Downtown, Aviation, and Redevelopment Committee; Suns President Jason Rowley; and Ralph Marchetta, vice president of ticket operations and general manager of sports and entertainment services for US Airways Center.
The urban bicycle advocacy group, Phoenix Spokes People, has organized a series of events and activities in “Biketober” to promote the cause of cycling in metro Phoenix.
Thanks to the Arizona Cardinals, Super Bowl Host Committee, and NFL Foundation, the high school football field at the Arizona State University Preparatory Academy received much needed new sod, paint, and scoreboard. ASU Prep, a K-12 school at 7th St. & Fillmore, sits on the site of Montgomery Stadium. The then, 22,000-seat stadium was the largest in Arizona and one of the largest high school arenas in the country.
Students from Phoenix Union Bioscience High School gathered with members of the downtown Phoenix community on September 27 to build a community learning garden as part of the third annual Green Apple Service Day.
On October 4, an estimated 1,500 Garfield neighborhood residents – young, old, and in-between – participated in one of the city’s largest “Getting Arizonans Involved In Neighborhoods” (GAIN) events. Garfield’s unique social mixer and health fair, GAIN-FIESTA, was sponsored by numerous corporate, nonprofit, and educational groups, and organized by dozens of volunteers.
Fall-ing for the Arts
Goodbye summer heat, hello fall not-as-hot weather. What fall also brings is a jam-packed schedule of arts and culture events and activities throughout downtown Phoenix. October’s First Friday was as popular as ever, as evidenced by the 1,000-plus riders on the Artlink Trolley. Large crowds enjoyed Chaos Theory 15 and new this month was the AZ365 pop-up gallery on Roosevelt Row, sponsored by the Arizona Republic and Artlink.
Congratulations to the ASU International Artist Residency Program, located at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix, for being awarded a $144,000 grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services to commission three new artists from across the globe to develop art projects that engage the public, such as exhibits, lectures, performances, and publications. Greg Esser, director of the program, is a superstar.
Congratulations also to the Ground Cover Public Art Project, sponsored by the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and situated on a vacant lot in downtown Phoenix, for receiving a first place award in Arizona Forward’s 34th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards.
Phoenix was one of more than 300 cities chosen to participate in a 10-day global film festival late last month and early this month. The Manhattan Short Film Festival is an annual showing of international, independently produced short films. Ten finalists were selected by an international panel of experts.
Let’s note the life and passing of Patrick Anthony Lawlor, age 94, the last of the core group to build a place for Arizona’s Irish families to gather, the Irish Cultural Center at Margaret T. Hance Park. According to Mary Moriarty, the Center’s operations manager, Patrick was the patriarch of the local Irish community, having been involved in its formation for 60 years. “Plus he was the gentlest and nicest little man you would ever want to meet.”