Tucson real estate: Below find a great article from the New York Times In the next few weeks, six major league soccer teams will arrive in Tucson to train for the first time! Below find the article.
“The last few years have not been kind to the Old Pueblo, as this city is known. The collapse of the housing market sapped its growth. Boycotts over the state’s immigration policies kept tourists away. The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords shook its residents.
Then there was the departure of Major League Baseball. Last year, for the first time since Harry S. Truman was president, no professional baseball teams held spring training here. Without the White Sox, Rockies or Diamondbacks, Tucson no longer felt like a big-league town; tens of millions of dollars vanished with them.
The teams had left for Phoenix and surrounding cities that dangled taxpayer-subsidized stadiums and the prospect of shorter commutes because all 15 clubs that train in Arizona are now nearby. Tucson was also hurt by the loss of a college bowl game, a golf tournament and a Triple-A baseball team, before replacements were found.
But the city is bracing for an economic lift — and a small measure of revenge — when six Major League Soccer teams arrive in the coming weeks to train here for the first time. Four of them — the Los Angeles Galaxy, the New England Revolution, the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake — will also compete in the Desert Diamond Cup, a two-week tournament that could draw as many as 50,000 fans and fill some of the void.
“We’re excited about soccer because baseball really let us down, let down the community,” said Richard Elías, a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, which owns the facilities where the teams will play. “It’s a big opportunity for us, filling up those restaurants and hotels.”
For Mr. Elías and other native Tucsonans, becoming a hub for soccer in Arizona is about more than just money; it is about pride. Tucson suffers from a second-city syndrome found in places like Reno, Nev., and St. Paul. While Tucson is old and rich in history, it has long lived in the shadow of Phoenix, which is almost three times as large and far wealthier. As one businessman observed, “There are dimes in Tucson and dollars in Phoenix.”
In some ways, Tucson orbits alone. It leans Democratic in a heavily Republican state. Phoenicians have five professional sports teams to root for; Tucsonans call the University of Arizona Wildcats their home team. Tucson is closer to Mexico, 60 miles to the south, than to Phoenix, 120 miles north.
Tucsonans are proud of their long ties to baseball — Mr. Elías and others recall watching Willie Mays, Randy Johnson and other greats — but soccer is perhaps a more natural fit in a city where clubs and schools are brimming with thousands of players. This month, Tucson hosted an annual youth tournament that drew 327 teams from six states, the city’s fourth-largest tourist event.
Latinos, who make up about 40 percent of the population, add to the soccer craze. So do the thousands of Mexicans who came last year to see the Red Bulls and Sporting K. C. play an exhibition match that filled Hi Corbett Field even though the event was put together just weeks before. The teams also played F. C. Tucson, a new, home-grown amateur team.
“That told us that we have a strong soccer culture here that hasn’t been activated yet,” said Greg Foster, co-founder of F. C. Tucson Events, which organized those games and this year’s spring training as a way to support F. C. Tucson. “It may not replace Major League Baseball, but it may replace it in a different way.”
The surprising reception to last year’s exhibition match caught the eye of Major League Soccer, which hopes to create a spring training format similar to baseball’s Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in Arizona and Florida. If Tucson can continue to draw big crowds and improve its stadiums, the league would be willing to send more business its way, said Nelson Rodriguez, an executive vice president of the league.
Even though the teams do not start arriving in earnest until next month, restaurants, bus companies and high-end hotels are ready to embrace them and their fans.
The loss of the baseball teams “definitely impacted our business as well as Tucson as a community, but the M.L.S. teams are the first positive signs of professional sports coming back,” said Richard A. Brooks, the director of sales at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, where four teams are staying. The hotel, he said, expects to generate twice as much income from soccer as it did from baseball.
Studies show that relying on sports to jump-start an economy can be a fool’s errand. Stadium construction jobs come and go, and much of the other work, like selling tickets, hot dogs and programs, is done by part-time workers who are paid low wages. In many cases, there is little net gain to a local economy because fans who attend sporting events use money that they would otherwise have spent at movie theaters, restaurants or malls.
Spring training, though, is different because many fans come from out of town, pumping money into local businesses. The teams and their fans used to spend about $16 million in Tucson during spring training. Without spring training last year, Pima County had to use about $1 million from its general budget to make the bond payments on its sports facilities because the hotel and car rental tax receipts that used to service that debt had declined.
For better or worse, many cities like Tucson use sports as a way to gauge their civic self-worth. Many residents hope that by hosting soccer spring training camps and supporting their own team, F. C. Tucson, their city will finally have something Phoenix does not.
“There is a sense of rivalry, because we know we’re not like them,” said Magdalena Barajas, a member of a fan group that supports F. C. Tucson. “It feels great, like owning a team, and we’re stepping up for Tucson.””
Realtor Lisa Bayless specializes in Tucson Catalina Foothills, Oro Valley and Marana home sales. Contact Lisa for all your Tucosn real estate needs.