By Tom Mackin
The Valley of the Sun is rightly known as a golf mecca, but that’s not the only sport in town. The NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL all play here too, and even NASCAR will stop by twice in 2020. None of that happens without first-class venues, which also offer potential meeting spaces for your next event.
State Farm Stadium
HOME OF: The Arizona Cardinals (National Football League) LOCATION: Glendale
REGULAR SEASON: August–December
State Farm Stadium in Glendale, 20 miles west of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, is a state-of-the-art facility—the grass field actually slides out of the stadium to get sun and watering when needed—and includes a wide variety of potential meeting and event spaces. That can include the visiting team locker room with a behind-the-scenes stadium tour plus custom Arizona Cardinals jerseys made for each attendee. You can also use the stadium floor itself, which offers 160,000 square feet of space; AZSTA Grand, with configuration flexibility and direct access to the stadium floor; and a variety of lounges. Three State Farm Stadium Party Lofts are ideal for corporate breakout meetings or VIP green rooms, while the newly renovated Gila River Casinos Club East and West offer exclusive, private areas.
HOME OF: The Arizona Diamondbacks (Major League Baseball)
REGULAR SEASON: April–October
Multiple suites and lounges, conference rooms, a business center and a boardroom are available for use at this stadium in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Events can also be held on the 144,000-square- foot playing field itself (where the Diamondbacks clinched their 2001 World Series championship over the New York Yankees), in the home team and visiting team locker rooms, and even at a swimming pool located in the right field stands.
Talking Stick Resort Arena
HOME OF: The Phoenix Suns (NBA)
REGULAR SEASON: October–April
Cool team outings can include watching the Phoenix Suns warm up from premium Blue Moon Club seats before the doors open to the public and high-fiving players as they come out of the tunnel for warm-ups. Groups can also play on the Phoenix Suns court for an hour after a game. The basketball-themed Van Arsdale Conference Room (named for former Suns player Dick Van Arsdale) can be used for pre-game meetings, while groups can also use the newly renovated Dos Equis Beer Garden for networking events, celebrating an organizational milestone or hosting a speaker series. The facility is undergoing a renovation expected to be complete by fall 2020.
Major League Baseball Spring Training Stadiums
LOCATION: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, Goodyear, Surprise, Tempe
The Cactus League, 15 MLB teams that are located in Arizona for spring training, offers intimate stadiums with the chance to be close to the action. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is home to both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. The venue, with 7,000 stadium seats and 4,000 lawn seats, offers the Miller Lite Loft, a Pepsi Patio, an American Airlines Deck and luxury suites behind home plate for meeting space. Other options include Sloan Park in Mesa, where the Chicago Cubs train at a 15,000-seat venue with a Budweiser Rooftop space, plus First and Third Base Party Decks that can accommodate more than 400 people.
HOME OF: NASCAR Racing Champions Weekend
DATES: November 6-8, 2020
Recent upgrades have made this raceway more than just a place where car engines roar. A brand new, state-of-the-art media center in the infield offers numerous meeting spaces in every size needed. The Garage Offices throughout the infield provide quiet and comfortable multi-purpose meeting spaces. Bird’s-eye views of the track are available at the Dos Equis Curve, above the grandstands above Turn 3, and at The Perch above Turn 1. There are also three Garage Suites with a glass wall enabling guests to peek into the garage and watch NASCAR race teams work on their cars inside the infield. Even on weekends without NASCAR, these unique suites make for useful, multipurpose meeting spaces. Track rentals are also available, as is a NASCAR Racing Experience.
Gila River Arena
HOME OF: The Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
REGULAR SEASON: September –April
Part of the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, this arena has 87 luxury suites, including two tower suites and 12 party suites, that can accommodate large groups of up to 50 people. In addition, the Suite Level
Club consists of 400 upscale seats with unique club and dining opportunities. The Lounge is located directly behind the Coyotes and visiting team player benches, offering fans unique views of both the Coyotes and visiting team players as they enter and exit the ice.