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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Pac-12 takes root deep in Valley of the Sun as major sporting events head west

Pac-12 takes root deep in Valley of the Sun as major sporting events head west

Pac-12 Takes Root Deep In Valley Of The Sun As Major Sporting Events Head West

We’ll stop at reporting on eye-opening developments in college football to offer the really crazy news: Phoenix has become a college sports town.

Granted, it’s not a fixed existence. But this week, Metro Phoenix is ​​packed with NCAA events.

Naturally, the Pac-12 is heavily involved in:

The state of Arizona will host the Softball Super Regional starting Friday.

The inaugural baseball tournament of the conference is taking place at Scottsdale Stadium.

— The NCAA is staging a men’s golf championship, with five Pac-12 teams participating, this weekend at Greyhawk Golf Club.

— and at the recently concluded NCAA Women’s Golf Championships in Greyhawk, Stanford defeated Oregon to secure the conference’s 200 national title.

“A commissioner’s favorite! Two @pac12 teams in the finals,” George Kleevkopf tweeted earlier this week.

None of this is to portray Phoenix as the new Eugene or Tucson.

But this week’s group of collegiate events at The Valley provides us with a launch point to address the sweeping change in the sporting landscape—one that over time may only benefit the Pac-12.

Combine the presence of State Farm Stadium in Glendale (home of the Arizona Cardinals since 2006) with the recent construction of football venues in Santa Clara (Levy’s Stadium), Los Angeles (Sophie’s) and Las Vegas (Allegiant), and the West has become prominent. An increasingly desirable area for events.

Essentially, the scenario has changed:

– The College Football National Championship was held at Levi’s Stadium in 2019 and is scheduled for Sophie’s in January.

– The men’s Final Four was five years ago in Glendale and will return in 2024.

– The Women’s Final Four is headed to Phoenix in 2026.

– Even the NFL has awarded three consecutive Super Bowls in the region: Sophie Stadium last season, Phoenix State Farm Stadium the next season, and Allegiant Stadium in 2024.

Phoenix can’t match Las Vegas or Los Angeles for entertainment, but it has flights and hotel rooms and terrible weather for most of the year.

(The only drawback for collegiate events in late spring is the potential for temperatures to drop.)

“The market has changed with the addition of new buildings,” said Andy Bagnato of Phoenix-based Bagnato Pflipson Communications, which specializes in sports marketing and public relations.

“And when you consider that Phoenix and Las Vegas have incredibly rapidly growing populations, it makes sense that the NCAA would want to get involved.”

As with all topics on this topic, the hotline has considered the implications for Pac-12 football in particular and Pac-12 revenue in general.

Of course, the line is both indirect and dotted.

Metro Phoenix, which covers 15,000 square miles, has emerged as a recruiting hub over the past decade.

With a growing population and better coaching at the high school level, blue-chip prospects are common and blue blood programs are frequent visitors.

The same is somewhat true of Las Vegas, where Bishop Gorman and Desert Pines regularly produce four- and five-star recruits.

The Pac-12 will not experience an increase in recruiting success as major sporting events are staged in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

That said, the connection is non-null.

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