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Legendary sports weekend in Phoenix between WM Open and Super Bowl

Players competing for a $20 million purse in this year’s WM Phoenix Open tee off Thursday in one of the PGA TOUR’S oldest events, dating to 1933. 

Played at TPC Scottsdale since 1987, it ranks among the most attended sports competitions in the world – drawing close to 700,000 spectators annually – plus drama galore on the par-5 15th hole, boasting a nail biting island green surrounded by the McDowell Mountains.

Sports collide at the tournament’s conclusion, an hour before the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs go head-to-head in Super Bowl LVII – which kicks off at State Farm Stadium in nearby Glendale.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Changes afoot at FC Tucson

On the heels of an announcement that FC Tucson will join USL League Two in 2023, the club’s founder and current head coach is now at the helm of the new ownership group.

Jonathan Pearlman became Director of Operations in 2019 and assumed the role of head coach in 2021. He has worked with standouts like U.S. Men’s National Team center back Aaron Long and MLS star Aaron Herrera – both alumni.

“I am dedicated to seeing FC Tucson continue to be an integral part of Tucson’s storied sports landscape,” said the League One Coach of The Month for September 2022.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Soccer under the Tucson sun

Next month, soccer fans have reason to rejoice as one of Major League Soccer’s premiere pre-season training events returns to the Kino North Stadium for a trio of match days between Feb. 8-18.

This year’s 2023 Desert Showcase marks the 13th season celebrating MLS and USL soccer teams in Tucson and boasts a not-to-be-missed lineup featuring Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire, Colorado Springs Switchbacks and Sacramento Republic.

Buy tickets today to get up close and personal with stars – like Tucson native Justen Glad and Swiss World Cup goal scorer and former Liverpool player Xherdan Shaqiri – and celebrate the beautiful game in Southern Arizona.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Preserving Southern Arizona’s beautiful team

They call football – or soccer – “the beautiful game,” a term coined by the sport’s best-ever player, Pele, who was buried recently in his home country of Brazil.

In recent months, Southern Arizona nearly lost its only professional sports team, FC Tucson, which includes men’s and women’s teams, when its majority owner was ready to close its doors.

This sport brings together people of all genders, races and creeds. I didn’t want our community to lose these teams, so I purchased majority ownership of the club to preserve our elite athletes and the legendary Jon Pearlman as its Club President.

– Jeff Arnold, Founder, RIGHTSURE

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America’s fastest growing sport? Pickleball!

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) recently reported pickleball surged by nearly 40% between 2019 and 2021 to 4.8 million players, becoming the country’s fastest growing sport.

At a time when playing many sports can be expensive, technically demanding and competitive, there is a reason pickleball participation has surged. The culture of this paddle sport is cheap, easy and welcoming to a diversity of ages, races and genders. 

“Anyone can pick up a paddle,” says Hope Tolley of the USA Pickleball Association, the sport’s governing body. She adds, “it’s a welcoming culture that sets itself apart from other sports.” 

– Wilson Creative Group, The Southwest Florida 100

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Arizona athletes gear up for 2022 Special Olympics

Over 115 athletes and coaches will represent Special Olympics Arizona at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games June 5-12 in Orlando, Florida.

Athletes will compete in 10 sports, including athletics, basketball, bocce, cheer, flag football, golf, powerlifting, stand up paddle boarding, swimming and volleyball.

“This is a great stage to not only showcase competition and athletics, but to celebrate all of the dedication and perseverance these athletes display in everyday life,” said Jamie Heckerman, President and CEO of Special Olympics Arizona. “We wish them the best of luck and want them to know that everyone in Arizona is rooting for them.”

– Margaret Willard, The 100 Companies

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Big business is crying foul during March Madness

A new study says Corporate America stands to lose $13.6 billion during March Madness. Fifty-six percent of millennials alone plan to miss work to watch the 68-team NCAA basketball tournament.

It’s one of the biggest events in sports betting, expected to be about $10 billion this year. That’s 30% more than the Super Bowl.

Will the boss mind if she finds you filing out your bracket during work hours? Maybe not, if you asked her to join the office pool.

FYI, according to the NCAA, odds of picking the perfect bracket are 1-in-9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (9.2 quintillion). Let the games begin.

Vikki Locke, The SWFL 100

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Stage set for Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show

Whether you watch the ultimate gridiron contest to determine the best in the land or rank commercial ads and if worthy of millions spent, or purely for the halftime performance that is sure to generate memes, and at times, controversy – Super Bowl Sunday never disappoints.

This year, Pepsi, the NFL and Roc Nation announced that Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will perform at the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show on NBC, Telemundo and streaming live on Peacock.

The five artists have combined for 43 Grammys and have created 22 No. 1 Billboard albums.

Christina Johnson, The OJT 100

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FC Tucson seeks USL Championship final Saturday

Tucson soccer fans will have something to cheer for this Saturday, Nov. 13 when local club FC Tucson competes for a spot in the USL Championship final.

Tucson thrilled fans last week with an 87th-minute goal by defender Deri Corfe to defeat the Richmond Kickers 1-0 during last week’s quarterfinal game at Kino North Stadium. The No. 4 seed now hopes to upset top-ranked Union Omaha in Saturday’s semi-final match away at Werner Park.

Fans not traveling to Nebraska can join FC Tucson’s official watch party at American Eat Co. & Market.

The game airs at 3pm local time on ESPN+.

– Margaret Willard, The Arizona 100

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World’s Next Golf Mecca Just South of the Border

Baja golf mecca

Just as Arizona has made a name for itself as a world-class golf mecca, neighboring Baja California Sur – just a two-hour flight from Phoenix and home to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – is starting to do the same.

Golf Digest recently named 10 of the municipality’s courses, notably Quivira, Chileno Bay and Diamante, as among the 100 best worldwide. And this year World Hall of Fame golfer Greg Norman will open a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course at Rancho San Lucas Golf Club in Cabo, which has a multi-themed, 18-hole layout with ocean views from every hole.

– Alison Bailin, The Arizona 100