Held each December, the congress brings together the industry’s best rights holders and governing bodies along with representatives from convention and visitors bureaus and sports commissions, in a unique networking and educational forum.
Located just eight miles from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport and set against the backdrop of the Superstition Mountains and Salt River Reservation, Mesa presents tremendous opportunities for sport and cultural tourism. A sampling of both is definitely in the works.
“Heading West was in the plans for the US Sports Congress and we’re very excited to be hosting the 2017 USSC in Mesa,” states Lou Mengsol, president of Innovations Consulting and producer of the event.
“In many respects Mesa will be a great surprise and we know our attendees will agree. There’s more to the area than just desert landscape. People see the cacti but there’s more water there than you’d think. The Salt River cuts a path through the northern edge of Mesa and we’re pretty sure that some of that water is used in the many craft breweries in the Mesa area. Who knows, they might find their way into one of our outings!”
Jennie Dennison, director of national sales from Visit Mesa says, “We were very excited to be awarded the congress. This event is a natural fit because of the top-notch sports facilities we have. Mesa is home to Major League Baseball spring training sites for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s and boasts excellent sports tournament facilities. Plus, the weather in December is phenomenal, with daytime highs averaging 67 degrees.”
The congress kicks off on Sunday, December 3 and lasts through Wednesday, December 6. The host hotel is the Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West.
Opened in April of 2016, this 180-room property sits in the Mesa Riverview District. Immediately to the west is Sloan Park, the Chicago Cubs spring training facility, and site of the event’s opening reception. On the east side of the hotel is Mesa Riverview Park, which was voted by USA Today as one of the top 10 coolest parks in the country. It boasts a manmade lake that’s stocked with fish, climbing tower, splash pad, zip line and lot of green space. Back on property, guests can enjoy one of three pools and two hot tubs plus formal and casual dining options. The Sheraton has a resort feel without the resort price point.
“The hotel is a nice place for sports professionals to enjoy themselves, especially being next to the Cubs facility,” states Dennison.
In addition to Major League Baseball, Mesa has major league swimming facilities. “We’ve got really amazing swimming facilities including Skyline Aquatic Center, which has hosted Olympic qualifiers. They are excellent facilities to hold any type of swim competition,” says Dennison.
Mesa has invested millions of dollars into their pools and recently opened its ninth aquatic center. The 130,000-square-foot Skyline Aquatic Center’s main attraction is centered around two competition pools. The Olympic-sized racing pool boasts eight 50-meter racing lanes that can be reconfigured into eighteen 25-yard racing lanes or two full-sized water polo courses. It also features a diving tank and three-meter diving boards with water plenty deep for synchronized swimming competitions.
As one would expect in the Valley of the Sun, desert golf facilities are top-notch. Longbow Golf Club has played host to LPGA and college tournaments while courses like Toka Sticks, Dobson Ranch, Las Sendas and Sunland Springs can challenge even the most proficient golfers.
Additionally, the region is a popular stomping ground for elite baseball tournaments, bike and running races.
For more information about the United States Sports Congress, visit www.ussportscongress.com or call 608-363-0873 for an application.