Move over, Phoenix and Mesa. Scottsdale’s getting a piece of the action.
The "Scottsdale" name is now part of the Phoenix-Mesa Metropolitan Statistic Area label — an addition that Scottsdale and Mesa are touting as a marketing tool. Phoenix isn’t as thrilled.
The payout: Greater national recognition as a business hub and vacation destination.
"It’s just another way of getting the Scottsdale name out there when associating it with a major metropolitan area and all the positives that come with it," Scottsdale City Manager Jan Dolan said.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget renamed the metro area Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale in their June reports. The area includes all of Maricopa and Pinal counties.
The metro area ranks No. 14 in the nation with 3.2 million people, according to the 2000 Census. It trails No. 13 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., by 2,945 people.
It takes more than a large population for a city to join a metro area’s label. Scottsdale beat Glendale, though the latter community has more residents. The census designation reflects the city’s economic importance to the region, as the bureau considers employment numbers when it decides which communities will comprise a region’s name.
"I suspect that’s why Glendale didn’t meet the criteria," said Marc Perry, demographer with the Maryland-based U.S. Census Bureau.
Scottsdale is home to 137,000 jobs, compared with 172,000 in Mesa, 741,300 in Phoenix and 84,500 in Glendale.
Mesa won’t mind sharing the spotlight with a city roughly half its population. In fact, it plans to add Scottsdale to marking materials that tout the metro area, said Jamie Brennen, Mesa’s marketing and communication director. Mesa hopes to attract tourists and businesses by reminding visitors it is so close to Scottsdale, with which out-of-state visitors are more familiar.
"It will have a positive impact," Brennen said. "Naturally, Mesa is not as well-known as Phoenix or Scottsdale."
The new major metro name is likely to get notice from research firms, news organizations and other entities. Though Scottsdale is known nationally for its tourist attractions, the new metro name could boost its reputation in the corporate world.
"Having the Scottsdale name with the statistics reinforces it as a strong business community," said Rick Kidder, public policy director for the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce. "When they look at growth areas, when they look at locates, they are now going to look at things from the perspective of Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale."
The city has found success promoting itself as a tourism destination, said Laura McMurchie, vice president of communications at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. But McMurchie said the bureau will pool money with the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau for tourism ads.
"It’s more exposure for Scottsdale, even if it’s having our name attached to Phoenix and Mesa areas," McMurchie said.
Scottsdale can enjoy its new prominence without having to worry about other Valley communities joining the metro name as they continue to grow in size and importance. The metro is limited to three names.
Phoenix appears less enthused by the name change than Mesa: Mayor Skip Rimsza "just shook his head" when asked for his opinion, said Scott Phelps, his assistant.
"He didn’t seem to have a comment," Phelps said.
Phelps said the new metro name is "a nice recognition for Scottsdale," and anything that benefits Arizona, of course, would benefit Phoenix because most visitors arrive in the state through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.