Tucson area already has 8 sites for pro-level sports, tourism study says

2013-03-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T11:20:02Z Tucson area already has 8 sites for pro-level sports, tourism study saysBecky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

An early draft of a $49,000 study of local sports facilities concludes the Tucson area has venues for eight pro-level sports - not surprising since professional events in most of the eight have happened here recently.

The ongoing study, paid for by Pima County taxpayers, hasn't reached any conclusions yet about what additional sports centers Tucson might need, but results are expected this summer.

The draft report delivered to the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority this week includes an extensive inventory of existing sports venues.

The Tucson area already has places suitable for pro-level baseball, bowling, boxing, mountain biking, road biking, golf, rodeo and soccer, according to the report.

The report also begins to link sports centers that could be marketed together to attract large events. The area could score large swimming events by using both Oro Valley's new aquatic center and the University of Arizona's aquatic center, for instance.

Board Chairwoman Linda McNulty said she hopes the board will use the draft report to think creatively about the possibilities for increasing sports tourism and to get a better understanding of how existing sports centers are used.

Researchers from Populous and The Planning Center have met with local government officials about what initiatives have been tried here, and they plan to meet with event organizers next month.

They also reviewed a dozen previous studies.

The Sports Authority will use the final report to decide how to move forward on a referendum for the November 2014 ballot.

Voters would be asked whether they want a permanent Sports Authority and whether they want rental cars and hotel rooms to be taxed to help pay for sports facilities.

The Sports Authority has only through 2014 to hold a referendum because the state legislation authorizing the vote will expire.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at bpallack@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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