Phoenix reaps rewards of major sporting events

The National College Football Championship is a string of major sporting events being held in the valley. Last year the area was host to the Super Bowl.
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The National College Football Championship is a string of major sporting events being held in the valley. Last year the area was host to the Super Bowl.
 
Officials say hosting these events is paying off, the City of Phoenix is getting a big boost in several ways.
 
The City of Phoenix came out a winner after the 2015 Super Bowl; an estimated 1 million people attended the block party that brought in millions in sales tax and created new jobs. With the so-called Championship Campus for the College National Football Championship game going up in the same area, local businesses are again expecting a windfall. 
 
As the stage is being set for the block party, the numbers are coming in from Super Bowl Central's party at the same spot. The City raked in nearly $5 million in sales tax revenue from January and February, compared to the previous year.
 
"We have found that the Super Bowl was one giant advertisement for the central city in ways that we couldn't have paid enough to get that kind of direct observation and the word of mouth," said Deputy City Manager Paul Blue. 
 
Blue says it was a gift that has kept on giving as more and more people returned to downtown long after the game. He credits that in part to a 174% increase in new jobs and businesses in 2015.
 
"What we think has happened is large numbers of people in the metro area re-discovered downtown Phoenix and for the first time they went wow. 10 years ago it didn't look like this," said Blue.
 
"We have seen people that were like; we didn't know this was happening downtown. We didn't know it was so big. We didn't even know all these things existed," said Maria Duran.
 
Duran is the marketing manager for Sky Lounge, right across from the lot where the events are going on. She says after years of struggling to get by, businesses have noticed the turnaround in the past year.
 
"They have, and we're happy for it, and we're happy for all the businesses. Small mom and pops that were thinking they just weren't going to make it, and I think at this time, with all these people here, they're excited," said Duran.
 
The concerts at the party in downtown Phoenix start on Friday and last through Sunday. While they're not expecting nearly the size of the Super Bowl crowd, city leaders hope it will still expose many people to what downtown has to offer.

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