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June 27, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

College Football Playoffs

  |   Video
  • Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton talks about the new college football playoff system that’s set to begin in 2014 and what it could mean for the Fiesta Bowl.
  • Robert Shelton - Executive Director, Fiesta Bowl
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: BCS, championship, football. fiesta, bowl, shelton, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons.

Ted Simons: Starting in 2014, a new playoff system will be used to crown a national champion in college football. The four-team playoff was announced yesterday by University presidents who sit on the BCS presidential oversight committee. Our next guest was once a member of that committee. Former U of A president Robert Shelton is now the Fiesta Bowl's executive director, and he's here to tell us about the new playoff system and what it could mean for the Fiesta Bowl. Good to see you again.

Robert Shelton: Thank you. Always a pleasure.

Ted Simons: What changes, that sounds like there's a monumental change here, what actually changed?

Robert Shelton: Big changes. Some we know about, some are going to be determined in the months ahead. First of all, there's going to be a four-team seeded playoff. In addition, this consortium, we don't have a name for it, will have four other bowls. Six bowls total, 12 teams. And there will be a committee of wise gentlemen, maybe a lady but probably mostly gentlemen, who will decide on these 12 slots, who will assign these slots.

Ted Simons: OK. Let's get to some particulars here. When would these games be played?

Robert Shelton: They've decided these games, there will be six games, three would be played on New Year's eve, three would be played on New Year's day. So they're trying to recapture those two time slots for college football.

Ted Simons: And you've got a revolving door, kind of a sixth potential site, it just moves, changes every year?

Robert Shelton: Correct. There will be special arrangements I'm sure for the Rose Bowl and this new entity called the champions bowl, that is the SEC and the big 12 champion together. Basically what you'll have is for these six bowls, once every three years you're going to have a semi final. Because there will be two semi finals, six bowls, once every three years, you'll have a semi final. In the other two years, this committee of wise individuals will assign top 12 teams, there may be an exception, but basically top 12 teams to play in the other four bowls. Keeping in mind the Rose Bowl has first disabilities with the Pac 12 and the big 10, and the orange bowl probably with the ACC. So what we're going to see is I think in every year, whether it's a semi or the other assigned bowls, the other assigned teams, we're going to see a matchup here in the valley of the sun that has two teams in the top 12. I think it's fantastic.

Ted Simons: So the Fiesta Bowl is a part of this change. Correct?

Robert Shelton: That is correct. What will happen is, the four current BCS bowls, orange, fiesta, sugar, and rose, by our contracts have the first right of entry. So what will happen is, this BCS entity, whatever we're going to call it, will come up with certain criteria in terms of your willingness to put on the game, so forth. We'll meet those criteria and then we'll be part of the six-bowl rotation.

Ted Simons: What about the title game? Is that going to be in a rotation, or is that a different beast all together?

Robert Shelton: It is a different beast. They're going to bid out the championship game. Now, the valley of the sun can certainly bid for that game. Think of Super Bowl. Think of an NCAA men's basketball final four. But the Fiesta Bowl by itself I don't think has the wherewithal, the breadth to bid on a championship game. It would take involvement by the municipalities, certainly Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, as to those organizations to determine whether we can bid on that game. We don't know yet what the cost of that will be and whether it's something we want to do.

Ted Simons: That's a work in progress starting from ground up.

Robert Shelton: Exactly right. But we have experience here in aggregating that kind of wisdom and power, witness we have won the bid for the 2015 Super Bowl.

Ted Simons: Indeed. Who decides, who determines these four semi finalists?

Robert Shelton: Well, it will be this wise committee. Again --

Ted Simons: Who's on this wise committee?

Robert Shelton: They haven't named them yet. Some people have joke who'd would want to be on it? I imagine it will be commissioners or former commissioners, athletic directors, people who know the game, who will have the time to watch and see the teams. They will be given certain criteria to take into consideration. Such as, of course, the win-loss record, the strength of schedule, and what will be really advantageous for all six bowls is, I think they're going to take into consideration geographic factors. So that the University that plays and the fans that come from that University to say the Fiesta Bowl, they're not going to have to travel 3,000 miles, they'll make sure there's a reasonable match with the travel distance and the team that's are seeded into these different bowl games.

Ted Simons: So we know who decides the four games. We have a general idea. Who decides who decides?

Robert Shelton: Who puts together this wise committee?

Ted Simons: Yes.

Robert Shelton: It will be the commissioners recommending and then to the presidential oversight committee.

Ted Simons: OK. An even wiser committee.

Robert Shelton: We hope so. I know almost all of them, so I would agree they're all wise.

Ted Simons: What factors will be -- we talked -- you referred to this, what factor is considered? Is there an automatic qualifying situation like there was with the BCS?

Robert Shelton: They've gotten rid of the automatic qualifying moniker, that will not be the case. There will of course be relationships, contractual relationships for some of the bowls. Rose Bowl with the Big 10, and the Pac 12. But there may be years, there will definitely be years, let's say the Rose Bowl host as semi, when you won't have teams from those two leagues. What if Arizona State is ranked second in the country, I'm playing to the locals here, let's say Arizona state is ranked second and they're the Pac 12 champ. But the number three ranked team comes -- is Arkansas. From the sec. So the Rose Bowl on would host those two teams. Where does the big 10 champion go in that case? I would say we'd love them here in the Fiesta Bowl?

Ted Simons: Indeed.

Robert Shelton: They're all -- there are all kinds of scenarios.

Ted Simons: My last question, how do you keep -- you mentioned you've got the four semi finalist, but you've also got 12 teams. There are eight other teams who will not than playing for a national championship no matter what. Playing in bowl games that will not be involved in a national championship race. How do you keep those bowl games relevant, how do you keep the regular season relevant?

Robert Shelton: I think you keep -- you keep the bowl games relevant because this committee is going to be choosing from among the top 12 teams in the country. So you're going to get great matchups. Number one. This is going to be a set of six elite bowls. It doesn't mean the other bowl aren't important, but this is going to be the next incarnation of the BCS. I think the people that put this together, the commissioners, and then the presidents, I think they were very aware of the value of the regular season, and that's why we're going to a four-team playoff, and not going to eight, 16, 32 that would then render the regular season as sadly it has in basketball, somewhat of a yawner. I think they've hit exactly the right compromise, perspective on what they've put together. There are a lot of details to be worked out.

Ted Simons: And we'll see how those details work out, but I think anyone who is a college football fan finds this encouraging.

Robert Shelton: They should.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here. Always a pleasure.

Robert Shelton: Thank you. Be sure and buy Fiesta Bowl and insight bowl tickets or valley of the sun bowl tickets. They're still available. We're going to get the number one pick again this year. You saw what we did last year with Oklahoma state and Stanford

Ted Simons: You got a commercial spot in there.

Robert Shelton: Darn right.

Economic Growth: Medical Device Incubator

  |   Video
  • The City of Peoria is teaming-up with the nonprofit BioAccel to grow medical device companies, and jobs, in the West Valley. Learn more about the “BioInspire” project from Maria Laughner, Peoria’s Business and Real Estate Development Manager and MaryAnn Guerra the CEO and co-founder of BioAccel.
  • Maria Laughner - Business and Real Estate Development Manager, Peoria
  • MaryAnn Guerra - CEO and co-founder, BioAccel
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: economy, growth, medical, device, incubator, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: We're getting all sorts of pitches tonight. Thanks for joining us.

Ted Simons: The city of Peoria is teaming up with bioaccel A. nonprofit economic development firm that helps start-up bioscience companies get their products to market. The goal is to assist homegrown medical device businesses and then keep those businesses in Peoria. I recently spoke with Maria Laughner business and real estate investment manager for Peoria's economic development department, and Maryann Guerra, the CEO of bioaccel. Thank you for joining us tonight on "Arizona Horizon." Good to have you here. Let's start with some basics. What is bioinspire?

Maryann Guerra: Bioinspire is a new medical device incubator that we are launching in the city of Peoria in partnership with the city of Peoria, plaza companies, and with the hope of accelerating new companies and jobs in the medical device area. Here in Peoria in the valley.

Ted Simons: Interesting. How did Peoria get involved in this?

Maria Laughner: Well, it's -- that's a very good question, Ted. We did an -- our economic development implementation strategy about two years ago, and in the community assessment we learned that 93% of residents in Peoria that work out commute from the city of Portland, Oregon, we don't have a lot of jobs to offer, and are in that assessment we determined we need to find a way to attract companies to our city so we could have jobs locally, and when you look at the rest of the valley, metro Phoenix is well built up and a lot of great assets, Peoria doesn't have a lot of those assets, so we brainstorm how can we be creative and start creating assets? And so that's how the idea of the incubator came about.

Ted Simons: And it is an incubator. What exactly does that -- a bioscience incubator, what are we talking about here?

Maryann Guerra: Well, first of all, medical device incubator, because one of the things that I think the city of Peoria did that was a bit unusual is to focus on medical device and to build an industry niche. So we keep saying medical devices, and there's a lot of good reasoning why we landed on medical devices, because of international markets, and the paying jobs, etc. The incubator is really an organization or an entity, a concept of trying to help those early start-up companies to make sure that they are formed, and they're designed, and their technology moves along so it's much more hands-on than just basically leasing space to a group and saying, you know, you're on your own, and hopefully you'll do well and we have a than incubateddor. We built the business in technical support to go along with some other financial support.

Ted Simons: Talk about that. All the -- the overriding support for some of these start-ups. What will they experience and what have you found to be the things they need most?

Maria Laughner: Well, I'll take a stab at it. We found some of the support we're going to offer includes business acumen, help with intellectual property, issues they might have, just everything that a start-up company might need to be successful. In addition to that, BioAccel offers a wealth of knowledge when it comes to financial services, entrepreneurship overall, access to venture capital, how to get through proof of concept, thousand get to commercialization.

Ted Simons: Talk more about BioAccel's role.

Maryann Guerra: So BioAccel, our two programs we have, one is a proof of concept program, technology advancement program, and that's to help late stage research get through that first valley of death to ensure that that technology is sound and can be commercialized. Our second program is called the new venture development program, and that is to take those successful technologies and then see the company and then build that company with the right financial structure and the right staffing, and CEOs and advisory boards. And what the city of Peoria allowed us to do was to embed that model into the medical device incubator into bioinspire. So when we look, we use our review process, we use our programs, we find the right technologies for proof of concept, we find the right companies and then we place them in the incubator with strong business and technology infrastructure around them.

Maria Laughner: And also what the city is doing is, we are helping to invest in those companies by providing $1.6 million in funding to help them get through proof of concept, to help them get to a point where they're stabilize and can work toward commercialization.

Ted Simons: Was it difficult to get the city leaders folks in Peoria to say $1.6 million for seed money, and the valley of death, sometimes these folks can't make it out of there, a little risk.

Maria Laughner: It is risky. I wouldn't say it's difficult -- it was difficult. It took some education, of course. Because there's a big process. And understanding what BioAccel actually does and how it works and what the return to the city would be. We had to lay all of that out. But our city council is actually quite aggressive and strategic minded, so they understood it, they understood what the ultimate goal was, which is to grow companies. And they saw this as a great opportunity because we honed it down to a niche that is -- gives us an advantage, we're building on assets we already have, and we partnered with great partners that know how to do it.

Ted Simons: Indeed. And you have partnerships going here, I know plaza companies also has a role regarding the real estate aspect. The challenges of having a partnership. The more -- the more not necessarily the merrier. Talk about that.

Maryann Guerra: Chefs in the kitchen.

Ted Simons: There you go.

Maryann Guerra: I have to say that the city of Peoria and Scott white, the economic director and Maria is with him, have been really amazing to work with. This is a high-risk endeavor, and it's got the potential because we're going to be seeding companies and expectation and managing expectations with how many jobs will the companies be successful, but they've really been open to understanding what it takes and so when we talked about the incubator and we said, OK, you don't have anything in Peoria, so if you want to get something going in Peoria, we have to be creative. We have to be at the edge, and so they were willing to put the funds into the space and work with plaza companies to create the facility, to the able to offer the first year free space to the tenants that will occupy that to do the seed funding, and to also this proof of concept funding which is so important to create the downstream pipeline that's needed to keep the incubator occupied. So -- but -- so the partnership, while you've got the private sector plaza companies, and public -- and we're nonprofit, we all have the same objective, which is to drive economic development for the local area. So I have to say that while you have the work your way through what is the right contract structure, what are the right policies and procedures which we had to do, everybody's been open and we've done it.

Ted Simons: Last question -- everything succeeds, seed company takes, you got a medical supply company going great guns. What keeps them in Peoria?

Maria Laughner: Part of the agreement that they've agreed to when they entered our space is they will stay for five years. That will allow us to get the ROI we're looking for from the graduates from the incubator.

Ted Simons: OK. And what kind of response are you having so far?

Maria Laughner: Excellent. In fact, so good, on Tuesday we announced a negotiation agreement with technology University, they have a lot of engineering, including biomedical engineering, and they said they were interested in Peoria because of our commitment we showed in proof of the incubator.

Ted Simons: Very good. Good luck to both of you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Maryann Guerra: Thank you for taking time to share this with everybody.

Ted Simons: That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Glendale & the Phoenix Coyotes Deal

  |   Video
  • Joyce Clark, a member of the Glendale City Council, discusses the City’s arena agreement with a potential buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes.
  • Joyce Clark - Glendale City Council
Category: Sports   |   Keywords: phoenix, coyotes, sale, sports, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Earlier this month the city of Glendale, the city council that S. approved a $325 million arena lease agreement with the prospective buyer of the Phoenix coyotes. Here to talk about the city's efforts to keep the coyotes in Glendale and to fend off legal challenges by the Goldwater Institute is Joyce Clark, a member of the Glendale city council. It's good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. What is the status of the coyotes and Glendale?

Joyce Clark: Well, I am pleased to announce that there has been another month extension granted by the NHL. The NHL will continue to absorb the costs of running the arena while we continue to work out the issues that remain with regard to signing a lease.

Ted Simons: Why is this lease agreement a god thing for Glendale? 20-some odd years, that's a lot of money, a lot of time.

Joyce Clark: Yeah, but you have to keep in mind that back in 2002, we developed a vision for West Glendale, the Westgate area. And that was to become the second major economic engine in Glendale. So having the coyotes there maintains that synergy of the Westgate area and keeps it economically viable. Which is very, very important.

Ted Simons: And yet the question has to be asked, can the city afford to keep the team in Glendale? All things considered?

Joyce Clark: The city cannot afford to lose the team. The Elliot poll OK study, for example, says that Glendale are Sr. better off keeping the team over the 20 years than losing the team.

Ted Simons: Even if it means secondary property tax increase, even if it means a sales tax increase modified I guess last night to a certain degree, but a sales tax increase nonetheless, even if it means a possible initiative out there that could rescind the sales tax increase? That's a lot of financial juggling going on. Is it worth it?

Joyce Clark: Yes, because your premise is wrong. The property tax has nothing to do with the coyotes. The property tax is a result of everyone's property being devalued. We use those funds to pay our capital improvement programs, which are all the amenities that the citizens of Glendale enjoy. The sales tax -- if you took the coyotes out of the equation, Glendale is still $23 million in deficit. Now, that's a combination of a lot of factors that have nothing to do with the coyotes. So, yes, the coyotes being there becomes a very viable option for Glendale.

Ted Simons: As far as the options for the arena, if this deal does fall through, in some way, shape, or form, are there other options? The Goldwater Institute says there are other ways to make money off of that arena, other than giving a team $320 million. Valid?

Joyce Clark: No. And I don't know when they developed expertise in arena management. We have gone through a series of bidders. All of them bid basically on the arena, and they did not meet council's bid specifications. The Jamison group has met those specifications. The only deal we have heard about wants to take money from the Jamison deal, $7.5 million of the Jamison deal money, to host 25 events. Which are not guaranteed.

Ted Simons: So basically when the Goldwater Institute says this wasn't even open for competitive bidding, you say --

Joyce Clark: I say it most definitely was, and has been for three years.

Ted Simons: Goldwater Institute also says they're having a devil after time getting important documents from the city of Glendale. They've gone to court, they even had a judge who said the city needs to step up as far as getting these papers over there. What's going on with transparency, why is it so difficult to get those records public?

Joyce Clark: I don't think it is that difficult. I think that Glendale has bent over backyards and has given Goldwater at this point tens of thousands of documents at this point. And the three documents that were referred to by Goldwater cannot be created until we sign the final papers with the Jamison group. How can you create an arena management budget, which is one of the papers that is claimed they don't have, when we don't have a deal that is signed yet?

Ted Simons: I think they would argue that how would you go ahead and approve this lease agreement without that kind of information?

Joyce Clark: Because the cap that is going to Jamison is $17 million. Period. He's not getting any more. How he spends that money wisely or unwisely will either generate him some profit, or he's going to have to dig into his pockets to make up the difference. The basic deal is sound, and it's at 17 million.

Ted Simons: Back to the taxpayers and concerns regarding the taxpayers sales tax property tax, you're basically saying there are different avenues for each pot of money, and the pot of money for the coyotes has absolutely nothing to do with the sales tax, absolutely nothing to do with the secondary property tax.

Joyce Clark: Absolutely nothing to do with the secondary property tax. It does play a small role in the sales tax, but it is not the major factor why the city is in deficit. The city is in deficit because it lost 31% of state shared revenue, 14% of its sales tax over this recessional period.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, Goldwater Institute and perhaps others in Glendale would say, is this the time to be investing in something like this lease agreement deal?

Joyce Clark: I think we absolutely have to stick to the vision. We have to keep Westgate viable. Look at what Westgate has -- what the arena has brought to Westgate. It brought the University of Phoenix stadium. It brought Cabela's, it's bringing Tangor outlet mall, which will open on black Friday, and it is bringing dignity health hospital to this area. It is an economic engine. Keep in mind that there are thousands of acres surrounding Westgate that are already entitled for development.

Ted Simons: Last question, the Goldwater Institute says, again, their biggest concern with this is transparency, not getting information to the taxpayers, and a possible gift clause violation. With that in mind, they say the city brought all of this attention from them on itself. Could have been more cooperative, could have been more transparent. What say you?

Joyce Clark: I say maybe they need to look at what happened in Mesa with Mesa's cubs facility. Maybe they need to, or should have been looking at a long time ago, the Diamondbacks situation in Phoenix. And it's my understanding that one of the board members actually has a connection to the Diamondbacks. The board gives direction to the staff on Goldwater. I wonder if there's any conflict of interest?

Ted Simons: All right. We will leave it at that. We heard from the Goldwater Institute earlier, wanted to hear from the city of Glendale. It's good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Joyce Clark: I want to say one last thing.

Ted Simons: All right, make it fast.

Joyce Clark: If you want further information, go to these websites,,, or They all have factual information.