One-of-a-kind sports experience raffle to help those hurt by pandemic

In a first-ever collaboration, top sports organizations in Arizona have come together to offer 19 one-of-a-kind experiences for fans to raise money for Governor Doug Ducey’s Arizona Together Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Organizations like the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, and Phoenix Raceway are selling raffle tickets to win unique, elite-level packages like four passes to the President’s Suite for the NASCAR Championship race with complimentary food and beverages and a meet-and-greet with Phoenix native and driver Michael McDowell.

“There’s never been a collaborative effort like this. It’s great to see all of us come together and who knows what this can lead to to help our fellow Arizonans and for future collaborations,” said Mike Nealy, executive director of the Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl.

Called the Coronavirus Relief Raffle, anyone can purchase tickets online through May 22. 

All proceeds will be donated to the governor’s emergency relief fund that was launched in April. On Tuesday, Ducey announced that the relief fund has raised more than $8.2 million. 

The fund provides financial support to organizations working to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in Arizona. There are three areas of focus: personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers; non profit organizations that support the most vulnerable Arizonans; and technology for online learning for low-income students.

Sports groups jumped at the chance to offer unique prize packages 

A Fiesta Bowl “yellow jacket” member thought of the idea after seeing the positive impact of the national All in Challenge, Nealy said. 

The All in Challenge is the largest digital fundraiser in history, raising more than $38 million to aid those affected by the pandemic. Actors, athletes, singers and others offer up items or experiences in an auction or giveaway.

“We said, let’s put something together for Arizona. This is right in our wheelhouse and there is a need there,” Nealy said. “We started to call a couple of sports entities and boom, boom, everybody jumped in to say, ‘Count us in, count us in.’

“We all want to help Arizona and have a commitment to the community that has shown its commitment to all of our organizations.”

Pro teams, college bowls and university teams offer prize packages

Participating organizations include the Arizona Bowl, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona State Athletics, University of Arizona Athletics, Cactus Bowl, Cactus League, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Grand Canyon University Athletics, Northern Arizona University Athletics, Phoenix Mercury, Phoenix Raceway, Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Suns, Scottsdale Charros and Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“These are ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences being offered to fans that wouldn’t otherwise be available. And the proceeds go to a great cause to help provide emergency relief for COVID-19,” Nealy said. “If we can get this word out, we’re pretty sure people will be interested.”  

Raffle tickets can be purchased at All purchases must be made by entrants who are located within the state of Arizona, with an Arizona IP address, at the time of sale.

Prize packages galore 

The collective group wanted to offer fans something they cannot buy, Nealy said. There are 19 unique prize packages.

Arizona Bowl: Four Stadium Club tickets with VIP pregame party passes, including food and beverages, on-field experience and tour, and four tickets for private players party.

Arizona Cardinals: Four VIP tickets with pregame hospitality in Big Red Brew Haus or Red Zone Tailgate, pregame field passes to watch teams warm up, attendance at postgame press conference, and Cardinals fan gear.

Arizona Coyotes: Four on-the-glass tickets with BMW Club access and food and beverage, watch pregame warm-ups from the penalty box, behind-the-scenes tour with Tyson Nash and Paul Bissonnette, postgame player meet-and-greet, autographed jersey, and a stick and puck from team captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Four premium tickets in the D-backs Dugout Box, watch batting practice and the national anthem from the field, a keepsake photo in the D-backs dugout, behind-the-scenes tour with Luis Gonzalez, and ballpark treats delivered to the winners’ seats.

Arizona State Football: Four game tickets in the Athletic Director’s Suite with pregame sideline passes and parking pass.

Arizona State Women’s Basketball: Two passes to  attend pregame shootaround practice and pregame team meal, inside access to locker room for pregame, halftime and postgame coach talks, and seats on bench during game plus two tickets for other attendees, and gameday polo. 

University of Arizona Football: Two to four tickets (depends on game and availability) in Athletic Director’s Skybox for a home football game, and join the voice of the Wildcats Brian Jeffries in the radio booth before the game.

University of Arizona Men’s Basketball: Two middle-section tickets (depends on game and availability) for a home men’s basketball game at McKale Center, and experience Arizona team introductions on court a few feet away from the bench.

Cactus Bowl: Four premium game tickets, on-field experience during pregame,  a portion of in-game and postgame ceremony, helmet from one of the participating teams, signed football by both head coaches, and the ability to attend media day.

Cactus League: Two spring training packages for four to the team and facility of their choice, subject to availability, includes tickets, ballpark cash and Cactus League swag for four people.

Grand Canyon University Athletics: Four premium tickets to a GCU men’s basketball game with VIP parking and Lopes Club entry, honorary game ball presentation, gameday polo shirts, round of golf and lunch for 4 players at GCU Golf Course.

Northern Arizona University Athletics: Travel with NAU Football team to a mutually agreed upon away game of choice, including two seats on the NAU charter plane, Friday evening entertainment, two game tickets and hotel accommodations. Typical departure time is Noon on Friday and return departs immediately following the game, with an evening landing in Flagstaff.

Phoenix Mercury: Four premium tickets with VIP access to watch warm-ups from the court, photo with a Mercury player, parking pass, autographed jersey, prize pack, meet and greet with Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale, invitation to attend practice

Phoenix Raceway: Four passes to the President’s Suite for the NASCAR Championship race with complimentary food and beverages, VIP rooftop seating, INfield experience, VIP parking, meet-and-greet with NASCAR Cup series driver and Phoenix-native Michael McDowell, pace car ride around Phoenix Raceway, photo with the 2020 NASCAR champion following the race, VIP viewing area for pre race ceremonies, photo in the Cactus Flagstand overlooking the start and finish line, and VIP access to the championship party at The Barn.

Phoenix Rising: Training session for four people, four personalized jerseys, a signed Didier Drogba jersey, and four field seats.

Phoenix Suns: Four lower level tickets with dinner in the new premium club, on-court access to watch pregame warm-ups, professional photo on court, autographed jersey, private all-access tour by Alvan Adams, and post game passes.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: Four premium tickets, premier pregame party tickets, on-field visit pregame and for a portion of the in-game, ability to attend media day and postgame press conferences, and signed helmet with two head coaches.

Scottsdale Charros: Four VIP tickets to the Charro Lodge at Scottsdale Stadium with complimentary food and beverage, and throw the ceremonial first pitch before San Francisco Giants spring training game.

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Two Chairman’s Club passes that includes exclusive VIP access to hospitality venues on course including the 16th hole, Greenskeeper and Bay Club, tee box access at the 16th hole for the celebrity Shot at Glory, and VIP access to Coors Light Birds Nest.

There are some age restrictions with some of the packages. For example, packages that include activities where alcohol is served may be limited to people who are at least 21 years old. 

Az Sports Together has not set a fundraising goal for the raffle because this is a brand new effort, Nealy said. 

“We’d love to raise as much as possible. This is the first time we’ve done this so we don’t know what to expect.”  For more details, visit: Az Sports Together Raffle.

Victoria Harker

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