By Ken Reed

Glendale, Arizona was the forgotten Phoenix suburb and they didn’t like it. They wanted to become a “destination,” like their neighbors Scottsdale, Tempe and even Mesa.

They decided to pursue this quest by funding sports stadiums, arenas, and other infrastructure. The result? They’ve never become a “destination” and they almost went bankrupt.

Glendale’s sparking football facility is hosting the Super Bowl but most visitors in town for the game are staying in Phoenix or Scottsdale and driving over for the game. Most of the Super Bowl parties and ancillary events surrounding the game are in Phoenix or Scottsdale as well.

Glendale, a city of 250,000, has spent millions on a hockey arena for the Arizona Coyotes, along with a spring training baseball complex for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. Moreover, the hockey team’s ownership tanked and Glendale spent another $50 million to keep the team in Glendale.

“I’m not living in the past, I’m just paying for it,” says Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers.

Weiers also has said Glendale will actually lose a “couple million dollars” hosting the Super Bowl, a lot of the money going towards overtime costs for police and public safety during the Super Bowl extravaganza.

Meanwhile, Glendale has raised taxes (including a 9.2 percent sales tax on shoppers and diners), chopped 25 percent of the city’s workforce, cut back on paving projects, and reduced hours at municipal swimming pools and libraries. All to remain financially solvent as a municipality.

Quite the deal for local taxpayers, huh?

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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