PHOENIX — It's been eight years since the City of Phoenix welcomed tourists from across the country to come enjoy the big game. State 48 has changed quite a bit in nearly a decade. Even the stadium has a new name since 2015, going from University of Phoenix Stadium to now State Farm Stadium.
The city's footprint has expanded, and things have changed tremendously.
Mayor Kate Gallego was out for NFL Green Week ahead of kickoff. She said the city is ready and that this event is so much more than just the big game itself.
"We are less than three weeks until Superbowl LVII," Gallego said. "In downtown, you can take your selfie by the Super Bowl LVII numbers and upload it immediately."
Ron Price, the President, and CEO of Visit Phoenix, said it's easy to spot the cranes here in the Valley helping with the continuous infrastructure and development.
"Downtown continues to evolve; you got cranes in the air, just take a look how our hotels have changed; we've added close to 90 hotels since 2015, adding roughly 7,000 hotel rooms to the area," Price explained.
Commercial and residential buildings have gone up like wildfire. Even the new Fry's that was built three years ago now stands where 12News once broadcasted the 2015 Super Bowl.
Price added the population is booming, with more people calling Arizona home and tourism seeing a major boost year-round.
"There's a lot to show off to our visitors coming here in this next year. Obviously, they're coming into a new airport that is different as well, new terminals, the new sky train, the rental car area, a lot to show off this year!"
Price said it's not just the development that is here to stay; it's also jobs and sustainability for the entire city.
Because of all the development, the downtown party has been pushed north to Margaret T. Hance Park.
"A lot of those companies came here on a site visit if you will, and now they call Phoenix home," Price said. "They're employing thousands and thousands of our residents; it's bigger than just the week of the game; this has long-term positive impacts on our state as a whole."
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What is the Valley?:
“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest.
The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:
- El Mirage
- Litchfield Park
Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.
The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas.
The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes.
The Cardinals have made the State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers also play at the Footprint. Phoenix has a soccer team with the USL's Phoenix Rising FC.
The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football's Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training.