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Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Announces Record Statistics for Downtown Phoenix and Verizon Super Bowl Central Festivities
Downtown Phoenix hosted more than one million visitors in the 12-block outdoor fan campus anchored by Verizon Super Bowl Central in the five days leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, it was announced today by the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. In addition, hotel occupancy in the Valley for Thursday, January 29 through Sunday, February 1 was 40% above the same time period last year, with occupancy peaking on Super Bowl Saturday at 96% and the highest RevPAR ever recorded for metro Phoenix’s hotels for a single day, according to the Smith Travel Research.
“We exceeded our expectations, with 1,015,000 visitors from around the world and the region turning out in downtown Phoenix to celebrate the spirit of Arizona and Super Bowl XLIX,” said Jay Parry, President and CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.
“The number of people in Phoenix for these events was unprecedented, and I believe we soon will see tangible economic results for the city, the region and the state,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said.
At Verizon Super Bowl Central, the center of the festivities, free fan entertainment of 34 national recording artists, local bands and community groups played at the Pepsi Hyped for Halftime Stage, culminating with The Roots on Saturday, January 31. During the five-day period, 24,709 Pepsi products were purchased at Verizon Super Bowl Central. The Grand Canyon Experience Presented by NB | AZ averaged 250 climbers per hour on Super Bowl Sunday. Verizon kept visitors’ devices charged for free throughout the entire week via biometric scanning technology.
Over 13,000 fans visited Verizon Power House for a variety of football-themed activities utilizing the latest interactive technology. Visitors learned about NFL Mobile from the League’s best players and felt the intensity of the game through cutting-edge virtual reality technology that provided fans with a once-in-a-lifetime point-of-view experience. At the end of the experience, fans walked away with personalized content and a portable charger to stay charged throughout Verizon Super Bowl Central.
Verizon’s 3 week #WhosGonnaWin campaign culminated with a nightly social media driven projection mapping lightshow overlooking Verizon Super Bowl Central reflecting which team more fans thought would win Super Bowl XLIX.
Another notable success were the efforts made by the Host Committee, City of Phoenix and the NFL to divert the amount of trash going into local landfills through the Kick the Waste initiative. Verizon Super Bowl Central was the first reduced-waste event of this size associated with the Super Bowl and resulted in a 73% diversion rate from land-fill to recycling. A first in the city’s history, the initiative will serve as a benchmark for future high profile events.
“For Arizona, hosting Super Bowl XLIX was an overwhelming success. The members of our community, Valley stakeholders, corporate and tribal partners, and local businesses should be incredibly proud of how we rallied together to host this record breaking event and showcase all that Arizona has to offer on the global stage. Our state will be experiencing the positive impacts for years to come,” commented Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee Board Chair David Rousseau.
Other statistics for Super Bowl activities that positively impacted Arizona include: More than $2 million was donated to 27 local non-profit organizations by the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, Host Committee partners and the NFL. Approximately 400,000 children were impacted by community efforts around the Super Bowl. 170 trees were planted in public parks throughout the region. 33,000 new and gently used sports equipment items and books were collected through Super Kids-Super Sharing event. 23,782 pounds of electronics were collected at an E-Waste Recycling Rally presented by Verizon.
Images courtesy of the Arizona Super Bowl.
Construction is well underway for the Arizona Center for Law and Society, the new home for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Downtown Phoenix. In anticipation of the move from Tempe, we met with Dean Douglas Sylvester at the Valley Overlook lounge in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown to talk about what the new campus will mean to students, faculty and the downtown community.
Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, the Overlook provides an expansive, birds-eye view of downtown and looks directly into the site where the new law school building is rising out of the ground. As we looked over the progress below, we talked with Dean Sylvester about both the opportunities and challenges of relocating to this more urban environment and how this new site signals a new era of increasing public engagement.
Sylvester joined ASU as an associate professor in 2002 and has watched the university grow and evolve during the last decade of change under Michael Crow’s leadership. He moved to the metro Phoenix area from Chicago, and talked a little about his early first impressions of downtown.
“I remember coming down here on my first week. I was coming from Ahwahtukee, so I gave myself an hour and a half to get here. Of course, I ended up getting here about an hour early,” he said, laughing to himself. “I went, ‘well that’s no problem, I’ll just find a Starbucks.’ But, I couldn’t find a Starbucks, so I literally spent the next hour just walking around this entire area where ASU is now. At that time, it didn’t seem like a place you would seek out, but now…now it’s unbelievable.” With a sweeping gesture, Sylvester points to all of the ASU program buildings that permeate our core, saying “All of this is clearly the biggest change since I’ve been here.”
We asked him to reflect on the key opportunities that having the law school downtown will offer to students and professors. “I think for students and alumni, it’s an unequivocal improvement in a lot of different ways. At the moment Tempe is great and part of a larger research institution, and you have all the things that a great university has to offer. What you don’t have is courts, businesses, and the political center of the state and the city, right down the street. Getting our students as close to employers and getting the law school as close to alumni as we can is going to make a huge difference in the level of connection we have and the level of connections are students can make to everybody else.”
From the faculty’s perspective, it’s a bit more challenging because, as Sylvester points out, there are a lot of people who’ve been in Tempe for a long time. They’ve built relationships on the Tempe campus, and many of them have organized their lives around being in Tempe. Yet, now that the building is going up, he’s already seen a growing interest in the downtown location from previously uncertain faculty.
“I do believe that what will end up happening is that we’ll forge new connections,” he added. “Additionally, we’ll hire new faculty that have never been in Tempe, who’ve only been in downtown, and they will look to different groups and constituencies.”
Dean Sylvester emphasized the opportunities the downtown campus will provide for community engagement. “As a public law school, we have a real commitment to the public and to be engaged in the community wherever we can. I think we already are incredibly engaged, but the idea that a lot of our faculty in their work and in their research are looking more to the public sphere rather than just to fellow academics is not ultimately a bad thing. When you start to adjust your thinking you start to see all the opportunities that downtown will provide.”
In Sylvester’s view, timing has been a significant plus for the law school moving downtown. “One of the things that would have made it a lot more difficult back in 2006 or 2007, was that almost nobody else [from ASU] was down here. I think Public Policy was here, but now the campus itself is so much more alive. And it’s not just an urban downtown feel here, there is a bit of a campus feel, so you have that duality, which is awesome.”
Now is a challenging time for law schools overall throughout the country. Sylvester pointed out that applications to law schools nation-wide are at their lowest level since 1973 and there are almost thirty percent more law schools now. So, on one hand it could seem like an odd time to build such a large facility, when law schools could be perceived as having less relevance than they’ve had in the past. But Sylvester sees it as a tremendous opportunity to rethink law school to make it even more relevant to today’s world.
“We don’t need to educate as many lawyers as before, but what we need to do is educate the very best lawyers. We need to educate them in a way that their value is not just in large firms, representing large institutional clients, but rather in public engagement and service. So, the challenge is really an opportunity to become more relevant.”
And how does Sylvester define “relevance” for the school?
“A relevant law school is basically defined by three concepts. One is it has to be incredibly student-centered. You can’t be purely focused on faculty and research. These are incredibly important things, but if you’re not focused on students of all kinds – not just those who are there to become lawyers but master students, people interested in the history of the law – then you’re not relevant to the very people you’re there to engage. That’s your mission…to educate.”
The second concept that defines relevance for Sylvester is the law school’s ability to “engage this community in issues that matter to them.” He hastens to add, “That doesn’t mean that our phenomenal faculty who think about deep concepts of jurisprudence or legal history are somehow irrelevant, they’re intensely important, but you need to be conscious about how you engage the community.” Sylvester is proud of what ASU already does and believes it will only do more.
“Our students and faculty donate over 100,000 hours a year to free legal services to the Valley,” he said. “It’s about a 10 million dollar economic benefit and once we move downtown, we’ll see those opportunities grow. That will make us relevant.”
The third element to make this new downtown school relevant is the building itself. It was a foundational question in creating the appropriate design to engage and inform the surrounding community. “So the building is wide open in a lot of ways,” said Sylvester. “Entire walls basically disappear, so that people can come in, enjoy the shade, have a cup of coffee, and while sitting there perhaps watch our video screens and become informed about the news of the day in law, or the history of law, or the importance of law in their lives.” He adds, “I think the real problem that lawyers ran into is that we stopped thinking about how law is such an incredibly positive role in everybody’s life, every day. Law is ultimately structural. It provides the framework 99% of the time for people to move forward in their lives. We make the law relevant by revealing to people how we help, as lawyers , in your life, every single day.”
In line with ASU’s belief in grounding the school in the community has been the creation of the ASU Alumni Law Group, a groundbreaking program modeled on a teaching hospital structure, where you have permanent employees who supervise young associates with real clients. He’s quick to point out that these are not student lawyers. Associates have graduated from law school, have been admitted to the bar, and have to apply to work at the firm for a two to three-year stint. It’s a nonprofit law firm that serves paying clients. The services aren’t free, but they are considerably less than the going rate. This one-of-a-kind program provides legal services to everyday Arizonans in family law, estate planning, criminal defense, civil litigation and small business, which underscores ASU’s commitment to community engagement.
As we looked down at the new school taking shape below, Sylvester noted that construction is on schedule to be completed in May 2016, with move-in scheduled for that summer in time to be open for 2016 fall classes. The underground parking lots are nearly done and next we’ll be seeing the steel framework rising out of the ground. We look forward to seeing how the move to downtown will make ASU’s respected law school even more relevant for the 21st century.
Now that the crowds have gone home and we’ve recovered from all the excitement, we realize that the events surrounding Super Bowl XLIX were eye-opening in a lot of different ways for Phoenix. While the masses of tourists explored our city, we as local residents discovered a few things about ourselves.
1. We really like to host events. And we’re good at it.
Maybe we knew this already, considering that Phoenix regularly plays host to major sporting events, music and art festivals, car shows, and much more. But the Super Bowl kicked it up a few notches and proved that we know how to come together and show people a good time.
2. Downtown is FUN.
Downtown Phoenix was busting at the seams with smiling faces and palpable excitement. Of course, having things like The Roots, giant jars of salsa to fall into, and a mini-Puppy Bowl will have that effect on people, but the fun quotient didn’t stop there. There were concerts and festivals and special offers from local restaurants and bars. The best of downtown was on display.
3. Phoenicians are friendly.
We’re proud to share our downtown with visitors from around the country and across the Valley. Our ambassadors and way-finding makes downtown feel safe, inviting, and easy to navigate.
4. This is what city living feels like.
The sea of sports jerseys aside, the crowds walking along – and in – our city streets created an energy often felt in larger, more concentrated cities. We liked it. A lot.
5. Open container laws work well in the downtown core.
There’s just something about walking around with a beer in your hand that makes you feel like you’re in a city that knows how to have a good time.
6. We are good at the big. Now let’s be good at the small.
This community likes coming together on big projects, but we can do better with the smaller elements that affect the ongoing quality of our urban life. From storefronts to landscaping and design, we’re off to a great start, but we can do better.
7. We still have work to do to connect visitors to authentic Phoenix culture.
There is much to be proud of in downtown Phoenix: beautiful scenery, local restaurants, businesses and artists, historic neighborhoods, convenient public transit, and a dedicated community of people who love this city. The Super Bowl provided a prime opportunity to show it all off; now we just have to keep that momentum going.
8. Sports tourism is an economic development tool for Phoenix.
From Colangelo to Sarver to Bidwill, sports owners have a history of helping develop our city. Not all actions have necessarily been positive over the years, but there’s no denying the effect.
9. Cultural tourism could be a much bigger economic development tool than it is.
Beyond giant sporting events, Phoenix’s southwestern culture should be a draw for visitors with time and money to spend. From echoes of the earliest Hohokam settlements, to internationally renowned museums, and historic architectural treasures, to cutting edge contemporary public art, pop culture wild west experiences, top-rated educational institutions, and unique natural wonders, our desert city has a lot to see and experience.
10. We’re excited to call ourselves locals
Ultimately, it’s the people who make Phoenix what it is. From our community leaders, to business owners, to residents, we all contribute to Phoenix’s culture and we are incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Courtney McCune, Jill Bernstein, April Atwood and Catrina Kahler contributed to this story.
By the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, Phoenix will have thrown one epic pre-game party. Of course, then the question is where to actually watch the Big Game (other than University of Phoenix stadium?)
The answer: Crescent Ballroom!
The local-favorite bar/restaurant/concert venue and Downtown Phoenix Journal invite you to the “Hamm’s Me the Ball” Super Bowl Party, where you can watch the game on the big screen in the ballroom.
Whether you’re a football fan, you only care about half-time and the commercials, or you’re only in it for the nachos, you’ll get to put one in the “win column” either way.”
Join us beginning at 3pm for this free event.
If you go
Event: Hamm’s Me the Ball Super Bowl Party
Where: Crescent Ballroom, 308 N 2nd Ave.
On Saturday, January 31, Downtown ASU is inviting everyone to their Night of the Open Door with events and open houses scheduled throughout the downtown Phoenix campus. From 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m downtown visitors have the opportunity to step across nearly two dozen welcome mats and experience what’s happening in science, medicine, law, public service and more.
With two dozen don’t miss opportunities, we’ve highlighted three that will showcase the way in which the ASU is integrating into our urban core.
Visit this artful addition to the downtown ASU campus. Located just south of the urban core in a converted warehouse (formerly known as Levine Machine). Check out the cool space and peek into the vibrant, creative studio spaces of ASU graduate students. The Warehouse District is in the midst of a renaissance and this space is one of the jewels in the district’s crown.
Students and staff will lead tours of the Cronkite School, a 225,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art media complex, which is home to Arizona PBS and the Cronkite’s competitive professional programs in broadcast, multimedia and sports journalism, entrepreneurship, new media and public relations.
Tours will begin in the Cronkite School’s first floor lobby at 4:15, 5:15, 6:15, and 7:15 p.m.
Design your own paper football and kick field goals! Join University Academic Success Programs on the first floor of the University Center in Suite 171. Using force and angles to make field goals from different distances and positions. Can you kick the game winner?
And for good measure…
Arizona Center for Law and Society Building Showcase
Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 4:00pm to 8:00pm
The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law invites you to view renderings of the new Arizona Center for Law and Society set to open Summer 2016.
These activities are just a sampling of everything that will be happening on the ASU Downtown Night of the Open Door. Check here for all the details.