Southern Arizona Sports, Film and Tourism Authority seeks input on Graham, Greenlee needs, wants

TUCSON — The Southern Arizona Sports, Film and Tourism Authority is wasting no time in trying to make an impact on its service area.

During its first meeting Jan. 12, the Authority board approved a $50,000 sponsorship of the Arizona Bowl, the college football bowl game played in Tucson each December.

Now the Authority is seeking suggestions on what it can do in the other five of the six counties that make up the Authority — Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pinal and Santa Cruz.

“First you have to build a really strong base,” said Blake Eager, the Authority’s executive director. “So for me, (it’s) to really solidify what the counties do well already; help market, help promote those (and) cross-promote those.”

The Authority board is made up of one person from each county, one representative from the three Native American tribes in the six counties, a person representing the region’s film industry, one from tourism, another from sports and the final member will have expertise in economic development.

Members were appointed by either the governor, Speaker of the House or Senate President. Graham County’s board representative is Lee Patterson, appointed by former Speaker Rusty Bowers.

The next meeting of the Authority board is in February; a location has not yet been announced. March’s meeting will take place in Graham County.