Even in the best economic climate with a willing public, gaining support for public financing of a professional sports team facility can be challenging. PDG embraced this challenge on behalf of the Arizona Cardinals and helped change the professional and youth sports landscape in Arizona.
PDG’s creative approach to forming a coalition of supporters relied on a strategy that recognized a ballot initiative to fund a football stadium had to be about much more than just that. We promoted the opportunity to bolster funding for youth sports facilities across Maricopa County; funding for Major League Baseball spring training facilities; and critical funding for Arizona’s tourism industry by designing a ballot proposition that provided funding for all of those needs.
After building this coalition and working thru the details of the ballot language, the funding sources, and the funding streams, PDG designed a kickoff event for the initiative. Because we knew that the bulk of the funding would go toward the multi-purpose facility/stadium, we took on that first by having the kickoff for the campaign at the Cardinals’ practice facility. That strategy allowed the campaign to address the other important elements of the initiative and not get bogged down with a protracted debate about professional football. Further, it allowed us to better organize and utilize the grassroots and grasstops organizations since they were not needing to spend their time defending a football stadium, and instead could focus on telling their stories.
The result: the ballot initiative passed with a comfortable margin and today the Arizona Cardinals play in one of the most highly regarded stadiums in the world. In addition, Maricopa County youth play sports on hundreds of new youth sports facilities and the Cactus League has three new stadiums hosting six teams, five of which have relocated from Florida. Today, there is an authority managing the tax revenues and facilitating the funding of youth sports facilities, Cactus League facilities, and bolstering our State’s tourism promotion dollars.