Children from the Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley – Gila River branches, played a game of flag football under the lights of State Farm Stadium on Aug. 8. The Komatke Allstars, in red uniforms, and the Sacaton Flag Football Team, in white, were two of eight teams that played exhibition games during halftime of the Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego Chargers game. Photo credit: Kyle Knox/GRIN
Advertisements for Gila River Hotels & Casinos will soon appear beside those of major corporate brands at State Farm Stadium, home of the National Football League (NFL) team the Arizona Cardinals. With NFL rules relaxed, the team has named Gila River Hotels & Casinos — including Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva — as its official hotel and casino partner.
“It definitely helps put us on the map,” Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, told Native Business. “When I look at our partnership, I look at it from a couple of different perspectives — one, from the business perspective, and two, from the community perspective.”
“From the business perspective, there’s brand recognition,” Manuel continued. “When you go into a football stadium, you see Gila River Hotels & Casinos alongside other big businesses like Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and the various airlines that partner with the Arizona Cardinals. Having our product and our service alongside those names is extremely important to the business with some 70,000 fans there not only throughout football season, but year-round with the different events held at State Farm Stadium.”
The partnership is also beneficial to the Gila River Indian Community — particularly its youth, Manuel emphasized to Native Business.
“The Arizona Cardinals will be donating $5,000 to the Gila River Fire Department apprentice program, and they also host four youth football clinics each year for children in the community. There are player appearances, cheerleader and mascot appearances, and many other activities that we collaborate on. Our long-standing partnership is proof that, with a shared vision and mutual respect, anything is possible,” Manuel said, speaking of the Community’s rich history of collaborating with the Arizona Cardinals.
Over the course of decades, the two community-minded organizations have collaborated to create exciting promotions for fans, often teaming up to support local charities.
To celebrate their official new partnership, Gila River Hotels & Casinos is offering more than $250,000 in prizes including three Ford F-150 trucks in one of the largest promotions in its 25-year history. With Cardinals-themed contests, two custom Cardinals-designed hotel rooms, and other promotions throughout football season at all three properties, patrons will be treated to an elevated fan experience.
“The Arizona Cardinals are proud to be a teammate of Gila River Hotels & Casinos. Together, we are a team that shares a common goal: to truly make a difference in our communities, particularly with youth-focused initiatives,” said Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill.
Like Family for Nearly 40 Years
Bidwill said that there is a long history between his family and the Gila River Indian Community.
“My father (Bill) began working with Tribal leaders when he moved to Phoenix in the late 1980s. Back then, before the current properties were built, our organization worked closely with key leaders, such as Sister Martha Mary Carpenter, principal of St. Peter Indian Mission School. Our goal was to help the kids,” he said.
When Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc. was formed 25 years ago, the Cardinals strengthened its support for the Gila River Indian Community with more community involvement and outreach. The partnership flourished as both enterprises grew. Gila River Hotels & Casinos was also one of the Cardinals’ first building partners of State Farm Stadium in 2006.
“The reason our partnership is so strong is because we’ve nurtured and maintained nearly four decades of relationships,” Bidwill said.
Manuel said that many members of the Gila River Indian Community view the Cardinals like family.
“Gila River Hotels & Casinos supports its home team annually at their presenting partnership game with more than 300 Gila River Indian Community member fans in attendance, and it has been an honor to present our Nation’s Colors before each of those games,” Manuel said.
Being named the official hotel and casino partner also helps the gaming enterprise tap into a much larger market of sports fans.
“We’re thrilled that our long-standing partnership is official in the eyes of the NFL. Not only are we merging two synergistic brands, we’re creating more opportunities to give back to the community,” Manuel said.
Elevating the Fan Experience
To celebrate the new partnership, the Arizona Cardinals and Gila River Hotels & Casinos have teamed up to create one-of-a-kind experiences and larger-than-life promotions running all season long.
Check-in with the Cardinals: Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen will unveil one hotel room at each property dedicated to fans of the Arizona Cardinals. The custom designed rooms will reflect a chic look including customized wall coverings and signed memorabilia. Guests are welcomed with Four Peaks Red Bird Lager and a special welcome amenity at arrival.
Football Truck Giveaway: Gila River Hotels & Casinos has partnered with Arizona Ford Dealers for a Football Truck Giveaway. During telecasts of the Monday Night Football games, the first 250 guests visiting Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte or Vee Quiva will win a shot at one of three Ford F-150 trucks. All three trucks will be driven away during the final Monday Night Football game on Monday, December 23rd.
$100,000 Pick the Pros: Pick the winner of each Sunday football game at THE Card® kiosks every Tuesday through Sunday and compete to win one of 100 weekly prizes. One winner every week wins $1,000 Free Bonus Play redeemable at Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte or Vee Quiva.
Arizona Cardinals Biggest Fan: Cardinals fans show off their Cardinals spirit by uploading a photo to CardinalsBiggestFan.com. Seven winners will receive exclusive Red Zone seats at State Farm Stadium courtesy of Four Peaks Brewing Company and Gila River Hotels & Casinos. One Grand Prize winner will win a pair of 2020-2021 season tickets and an Arizona Cardinals sports memorabilia package.
Watch the Game While you Game: Gila River Hotels & Casinos will broadcast every game every week. Great food, great games and a great atmosphere make Gila River Hotels & Casinos the place to catch every game all season long.