Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Salt River Fields at Talking Stick was one of four finalists nominated as the Sports Facility of the Year. The award was part of the annual Sports Business Awards, held at the Marriott Marquis Times Square hotel in New York City on Wednesday, May 23.
Along with Salt River Fields, the other nominees were the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida; Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas; and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The awards were sponsored by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.
“It was bigger than I thought it was going to be; it’s really a huge event,” said SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier about the awards that they gave out that night.
“A lot of people were there. I think [Council Member] Tom Largo said there were about 800 to 900 people that attended,” continued Harvier.
The awards are held to salute excellence in sports business and honor sports executives and staff, sports facilities and different areas in sports from across the country.
“We were in the presence of a lot of big names and big shots,” said Harvier. “We also got to see someone get inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
During the nomination process, general managers from sports facilities such as Salt River Fields supplied information about their facility’s design, operations and services. Based on that, the judging team named several facilities as finalists in each division.
The award for 2012 Sports Facility of the Year went to the Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic.
“I know our guys were really disappointed, [and] we had a chance to really win it, but we got some pretty good advertising when they talked about the [Salt River] Fields and showed some highlights of our facility,” said Harvier. The introduction for each nominated facility explained the facility’s location, operations and distinctive characteristics.
“Just to be there, I feel honored,” said Harvier. “This was a big event. People from all over the country were there. Even though we didn’t win, I talked with representatives and leadership of the different areas of Salt River Fields,” including Salt River Fields General Manager Dave Dunn; Dick Monfort, owner of the Colorado Rockies; and Derrick Hall of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I just thanked them for being a part of this and [for helping the SRPMIC] be recognized as a Community, because to me the Community got recognition,” said Harvier.
“All the people that were there at the banquet saw a little about our facility, and hopefully they will want to come and visit during spring training. To me being a finalist in that category says that our facility is top-notch and this is something to be very proud of,” said Harvier.