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West Valley gets no respect ‘four’ car race, Big Dance

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The West Valley gets no respect. Just like Rodney Dangerfield. Whenever anything good happens in the western portion of the Valley of the Sun, it is reported as happening in Phoenix.

But whenever anything bad happens, it is specifically reported in the city where it occurs unless it happens in an unincorporated area of the county and then it is reported to happen in the city that corresponds to that ZIP code.

NASCAR drivers were in the Valley March 19 for their semi-annual visit. They come to a track in Avondale, which is named as if it were in Phoenix and the national television broadcasts hardly ever mention the actual home of the track.

What we teasingly call Avondale International Raceway is such a big deal that there are two NASCAR races here. But it isn’t a big enough deal for the city of Avondale to get any positive national exposure for it.

When we mentioned this to the public relations woman representing the track a few years ago, she proudly proclaimed how much positive exposure Phoenix got on national television during each race. She either completely missed the point or didn’t want to address the problem Avondale faced.

And now, another West Valley city, one that can’t support a basement-dwelling hockey team, was left out of the Big Dance. That’s right. All the promotional materials, including the Final Four logo, talked about an event in Phoenix. But the only NCAA basketball events that took place in Phoenix were parties, concerts and hotel bookings.

The Final Four, the Big Dance, the college basketball national championship game, took place in an ill-named football stadium next door to the hockey arena that can’t support the Coyotes. That’s right. The biggest basketball game of the year (along with the two semi-final games) was played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Like other cities in the West Valley, Glendale is a wonderful city with the great weather and amenities that continue to bring folks out of the snowbelt for a better way of life. But no one back East will know that Glendale exists even though the city had to spend a lot of money to help put on the event.

Cities have multiple reasons for putting on such expensive events. Cities like to feel like they are “big time cities” and can do so by being the home of high profile national events such as the national college football championship game, Super Bowl, NASCAR races or the Final Four. Residents feel a sense of pride that they live in a city with such status.

And cities do it because they think they will benefit from the public relations and marketing. Large companies looking to relocate look favorably on cities that provide certain amenities. And Super Bowls and national college football and basketball championships cause the leaders of those companies to at least look at cities such as Glendale and Avondale where they wouldn’t normally.

So when the Valley hosts these events and the host cities don’t get the marketing advantage of recognition, it costs those cities even more. And it makes them less likely to spend as much money chasing high profile events and losing money on them.

It ain’t fair. To Avondale or to Glendale,” the late Dangerfield would have said.

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