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  • Going behind the scenes at Kino Sports Complex

    One year, dozens of meetings and hundreds of phone calls culminated with thousands of people who descended upon Kino Sports Complex in October to enjoy the ninth annual Mexican Baseball Fiesta. For those who attended, this event might’ve seemed like another day at the ballpark, but a lot goes on behind the scenes to actually pull it off. 

    As the largest sporting and entertainment venue in Southern Arizona, Kino Sports Complex hosts daily events, serving hundreds of clients a year. These happenings can range from simple one-time field rentals to multi-day events requiring several facility amenities and various layers of logistics. The Mexican Baseball Fiesta was just another one of these occasions that happened to require about 20 vendors, a truckload full of beer, 16-20 private security staff, a few bomb-sniffing dogs, 8-10 Sheriff’s Department officers and nearly all of Kino’s staff. 

    "We've called Kino Stadium our Tucson home for eight of the last nine years and 2019 was our best year attendance-wise in our history," said Mexican Baseball Fiesta President Mike Feder. "Kino offers us everything we need as far as an abundance of locker rooms, excellent parking, a large number of concession locations for our fans, and a playing field that's in great shape."

    Kino Sports Complex has a staff of about 45 that handles event coordination and grounds maintenance, both of which play key roles in hosting and bringing more business to the facility. In this fast-paced environment, employees often work long days, weekends and sometimes even holidays to see events through from set-up to tear-down. 

    And when they’re not running an event, they’re planning one. Whether it’s sorting through contracts or working with vendors, sports, community and other groups or individuals to get their insurance, permitting, licenses and other logistics in order, Kino staff always adheres to its “all-hands-on-deck” motto, both in and out of the office. While events and admin staff deal with the paperwork and logistics, grounds staff plays a vital role in maintaining the fields and common areas. They prep fields to the required specifications, freshen them up while an event is in progress and restore them once it has ended. 

    “It’s a never-ending job and that’s a good thing,” said Kino Sports Complex Director Reenie Ochoa. 

    The Complex hosts events on a daily basis, sometimes even concurrently. To the average person it may appear the facility isn’t in use because they don’t see overflowing parking lots or visible mass crowds, but that’s due to the facility’s massive blueprint. Between the North and Main Complex, the existing venue spans more than 160 acres and has parking spaces for more than 4,000 vehicles. Annually, these two areas currently host a variety of events including, concerts, community walks/runs, sports clinics, spring training for Major League Soccer and international baseball and job fairs, to name a few. During a year’s span, these areas welcome, on average, more than 350,000 visitors, not including the tens of thousands who visit the facility during the two-week Gem and Mineral Shows. These numbers are expected to grow even more come next year.

    In January 2020, Kino will open its South Complex, increasing the facility's footprint to more than 300 acres and available parking spaces to about 5,000. This expansion will make the site a prime destination for regional and national sporting tournaments and, undoubtedly, draw interest from more large-scale events too. 

    Although it's only November 2019, Kino Sports Complex already has reservations in the books through February 2021. To see upcoming events or learn more about the facility, visit Kino’s website at kinosportscomplex.com

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