Let’s Never Take Arizona Tourism & Special Events For Granted
By Bryan Sperber & Tim Braun
Mr. Sperber is the President of Phoenix International Raceway.
Mr. Braun is the General Manager of Neiman Marcus at Scottsdale Fashion Square.

The state’s largest industry is and likely always will be tourism. All economic development efforts in times like these are important but tourism is often taken for granted. But it should never be forgotten as the critical economic engine it is from the Grand Canyon in the north to a nationally known gem show in the south.

Here in Arizona we are blessed with magnificent special events that fill businesses large and small with customers.

Spring training. The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Two NASCAR races. Fiesta Bowls. Occassional Super Bowls and national championship college football games.

They do wonders up and down the economic ladder.

But where will the next great special events come from? How do we create the next Barrett-Jackson or Waste Management Phoenix Open?

Will it be focused on the arts? Amateur athletics? Or professional sports?

It could evolve from any or all of these areas.

What we do know is that a new special event is being incubated in Scottsdale that holds great promise. We are proud to be involved. We view it as an opportunity for our businesses, and hope you may too.

On Saturday, October 20th the Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower will take place for the second year in a row. The Hamptons vs. Bel Air. Harvard University vs. the first African-American high school polo champion in U.S. history. A morning match and brunch with local polo players. Benefiting charities. It desires to be the largest “polo party” in the United States. Think the 16th Hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open but with polo rather than golf.

And it deserves your support. It has ours.

Because when we create the next great franchise in Arizona – in this case a marquee polo event – many benefit.

Blue collar. White collar. Workers. Store owners. And luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus.

This event is an extension of our Arizona brands. And quite frankly, we hope there will be more public and private sector initiatives like it.

We constantly strive for more bioscience, retailers and jobs generators. These are important objectives.

But we can’t take tourism for granted. Like anything else it can wither without attention and care.

The Scottsdale Polo Championships: Horses & Horsepower this fall is a reminder of why it is so important to nurture tourism with new ideas and events.

We hope you will join us October 20th and see what it may have been like to watch the Phoenix Open or Phoenix International Raceway in its second year. Be a part of history. And be a part of one amazing way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the Valley. As a fan. As a tourist. Or as a family.

Ron Burgundy


Jen Parks
Kinsey Schofield