Visit Mesa Gets New Director of Sports

Visit Mesa Suzanne Keller Adrenaline Lacrosse|Suzanne Keller, Visit Mesa
Visit Mesa Suzanne Keller Adrenaline LacrosseAfter six years as events director at Adrenaline Lacrosse, Suzanne Keller is on the move. In October, Keller traded in her hat as a rights holder and switched to the supplier side as director of sports at Visit Mesa (Arizona). She replaces Josh Todd, the new director of Connect Sports. In her time as a rights holder, Keller helped grow Adrenaline from roughly eight national events to 40-plus in 2016, overseeing Black Card/Platinum Cup Weekend, the High Rollers series and more. “There was a lot of growth in six years, which is reflective of the sport of lacrosse, but also of the team we had at Adrenaline,” says Keller. Here, she shares her plans for growth in the desert location. Why’d you leave Adrenaline Lacrosse? When I got started with Adrenaline, I quickly realized how much I love working in sports and how much I love working in events. It was like I found my calling. I wanted to stay in the industry, but I thought making this move into the DMO and CVB world would help expand my reach beyond lacrosse and allow me to work with all sports, even nontraditional sports. How will your former role as events director help you on the supplier side? I speak the language of rights holders. I know the ups and downs. I know every problem and I’ve seen every problem—whether it’s from a facility perspective, a travel perspective or a hotel perspective. I can work with rights holders, help them find solutions and maybe help them come up with answers or find solutions for them before they even know they need it. What’s different about your new role as director of sports? I feel like I’m here to be a facilitator between our rights holders and our community partners. I want to make sure everybody is getting a successful event and it’s a win-win situation for all of those involved. How will you lead Mesa’s sports initiatives? My main objective is to help grow and create more exposure and promotion of Mesa as a premier sports destination. We have a lot of great events here already, and I want to make sure those continue and repeat. It’s not only about bringing new and fresh events in, but also making people aware of the events we have running here—whether it’s here in our local community or nationally. What’s new for Mesa? We are working on building a new sports complex, [Mesa Sports Complex], and making it one of the best in the country. Part of my job is to go out into the community, talk to people and get feedback about it so we create something that everybody in Mesa feels a part of. We not only want to bring in outside events, but also have local participation. What are you looking forward to most in your new role? I’m excited for the opportunity to make a positive economic impact on our city, as well as get people excited for the events we’re bringing to town and increase activities for locals to participate in or watch. I [want to build our] community and help grow this area.