Super Bowl XLIX (49) in Phoenix!
For someone who has never been to Phoenix, Arizona, visions of sand, cactus and the oppressive heat come to mind. Kind of makes a person wonder why the Super Bowl 2015 would select a desert venue!
This is not the first time Phoenix has been selected for the Super Bowl; the big game was played here in 1996, 2008 and the kickoff for the 2015 game is just a few days away! Much preparation precedes the game. This year, the game will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium located in Glendale, home of the Arizona Cardinals Football Team since 2006. Spectators will enjoy state of the art surroundings, from the game replays on the gargantuan screens, to the sound system, to the halftime show, featuring Katy Perry. Last year's Super Bowl halftime performance was the most watched musical event ever, with over 115 million viewers!
This year's game features a team from the West and from the East. The returning Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks with their powerful defense and quick scoring offense vs. the New England Patriots' hard-nosed style of play, a machine that generally runs smoothly and efficiently and knows how to put up the points.
Every year there is the pre-game scuttlebutt with the side stories about the players, teams, hardships and rumors. That is just part of the pre-game run-up to publicize the game and keep it in the top of mind for the millions of people worldwide who will be watching the game on February 1st.
In Phoenix, this time of year there are also pre-game run up activities which occur in the days preceding the game. On January 25th, a week prior to the Super Bowl, the 2015 Pro Bowl will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Pro Bowl is designed to display the best talent in the NFL as voted on by fans, players and coaches. This year's game will be the third Pro Bowl played in Phoenix.
Other activities around the city this time of year include the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This golf tournament brings in top golf talent, and showcases the golfers' skills on one of the premier courses of the tour. The dates for this year's Phoenix Open are January 26th to February 1st. The Waste Management Phoenix Open considers itself the "most technology friendly" golf tournament on the PGA Tour, with the entire golf course basically being a gigantic hot spot, allowing spectators to view the game (isn't that why they come?), but also, text message, make phone calls, download the tournament app, and share their fun time with friends and family (who are likely in a colder climate location or at work!). Wednesday the 28th of January is the Annexus ProAm featuring celebrity golf, which creates a fun atmosphere and buzz to this big week. This is a popular venue, with last year's Waste Management Phoenix Open setting a new PGA Tour attendance record of 563,008 attendees for the week. That was without the Super Bowl in town!
If you are a major sports fan, you'll be happy to know that Phoenix is on the map as a city with four major league franchises. The Arizona Cardinals football team, the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team, the Phoenix Suns basketball team and the Arizona Coyotes (formerly the Winnipeg Jets) all are prominent in the Phoenix area.
The popular WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, plays at the U.S. Airways (as do the Suns) and also calls Phoenix its home.
Of course, the Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers, the 2013 Arena Bowl Champions, hail from Phoenix. Want more sports? Consider there are four NCAA schools in the state, and the 2016 College Football Playoff Championship Game will be played here.
Later in March 2015 brings the LPGA Founders Cup to be played at the Wildfire Golf Club.
If you can come to Phoenix between late February to early April, the Spring Training Cactus League features 15 professional baseball teams, in an area with the largest collection of professional baseball facilities anywhere in the USA.
Want variety in your sports selection? The Phoenix area showcases such gems as the Phoenix International Raceway, with over a 50 year history locally, the P.I.R. features two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race weekends each year.
If you are planning ahead, you might want to visit the area in early April, 2017, when the Men' Final Four basketball tournament will be played and will decide the NCAA Division 1 Basketball National Champion. This event will be the first time a Western city has hosted the event since 1995.
Later in 2015, USA Basketball is scheduled to have completed its move from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Tempe, Arizona. USA Basketball is the national organization that selects the U. S. Olympic Teams.
Craving more activity? Consider other sports such as rodeos, marathons, soccer tournaments. With a climate where there is always someplace warmer and cooler, Arizona offers snow skiing and water skiing; the Jet Ski World Championship has been hosted in the Lake Havasu area. Other sports activities feature fishing, hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, sky diving as well as major triathlons. Oh, if you like golf, you'll love Arizona with almost 200 of the state's 300 golf courses located in the Great Phoenix Area!
Arizona is a sports minded state, and a great place to work on the New Year's Resolutions to enjoy life and stay healthy!
For anyone thinking all there is in Phoenix is sand and cactus, one thing is abundantly clear...it won't be boring! Consider a visit to Phoenix, Arizona in the near future. There's a lot to see and a LOT to DO!