The eyes of the golf world turn to Marana next week for the Accenture Match Play Championship, and that means big tourism dollars for the area.
The tournament brings some of golf’s top players and plenty of tourists to northwestern Pima County but the money they spend doesn’t necessarily go where one would expect.
Marana Mayor Ed Honea says when all the costs for extra police officers and other necessities are factored in, the town actually loses money. So why host the tournament? Honea says that is easy: exposure.
“If you spent $10 million you couldn’t buy that type of advertising,” he says, referring to the national television coverage that shows the mountain views and warm desert to parts of the country that likely are experiencing severe winter weather.
The golf tournament doesn’t account for Marana's growth on its own, but Honea says it does bring some housing sales.
“People have bought houses here," he says. "These are people that maybe have three or four houses around the country. They like the idea of going to a place in February and wearing a polo shirt and shorts and going out and playing golf and having a good time. “
The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain hotel, which hosts the golf tournament, is one of Marana's key tourism successes, Honea says. The hotel agreed to build in the town because Marana pays for the leased land at a cost of more than $100,000 annually, and the town rebates part of the Ritz Carlton's hotel bed tax.