From scullers to triathletes and marathon runners, Tempe is becoming a destination spot for youth and amateur sporting events.
The city recently hosted a marathon and youth soccer tournament, and is expected to land an Ironman Triathlon.
With each event that comes to Tempe, the buzz about the city as a place for sporting events grows, said Stephanie Nowack, CEO and president of the Tempe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
We really see an opportunity for Tempe to be a leader in this area throughout the country," she said.
Youth and amateur sports are part of the overall focus of the city, according to a Destination Tempe Task Force report released earlier this year. And if the city intends to remain a destination spot, the report states, it needs to attract events that can replace the future loss of the Fiesta Bowl and the Arizona Cardinals.
For example, the city recently hosted a regional youth soccer tournament, which injected about $1.2 million into the local economy, she said.
One key element to attracting some sporting events is Tempe Town Lake.
Next week, the city will host a triathlon that will help determine who will represent the United States at the summer Olympics. More than 100 of the nation’s top tri-athletes are expected to participate, said Kris Baxter, marketing coordinator for Rio Salado.
And later in the summer, the lake will host a swim meet expected to draw some of the county’s top talent.
During the winter months, the lake becomes a world-class training facility for aspiring Olympic rowers because of freezing temperatures elsewhere in the nation, she said.