On a scorching Monday night in the concrete jungle that is downtown Phoenix, a forest green-and-gold bastion of betting and cold beer beckoned.
That’s how I stumbled my way into Caesars Sportsbook Arizona at Chase Field ahead of Monday’s Diamondbacks-Philadelphia Phillies contest.
In the two-plus months since the two-story sportsbook, bar and restaurant opened its doors, the Emperor’s newest groove has found its way into the pregame routine of a solid section of the people flocking to Chase Field.
On the night I was there, I saw no fewer than a few dozen people on each of the facility’s floors, with most people perched on one of dozens of barstools, wearing either the home side’s turquoise and purple or the visitors shade of red, white and blue.
A Facility for the People
What I didn’t see on my Monday night visit was a lot of Arizona sports betting activity, with a trio of Phillies fans being the only ones I saw in my two-plus hour visit to walk up to one of the six betting kiosks on the sportsbook’s second floor.
It seems the Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field is more of a bar and restaurant than a dyed-in-the-wool sportsbook, a la the FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona at Footprint Center down Jefferson Street.
The ease of use among Arizona betting apps could also have something to do with the lack of in-person betting.
In a statement to BetArizona.com, Caesars senior vice president of retail operations David Grolman said the company is looking forward to seeing the crowds at the Chase Field sportsbook during fall Saturdays and Sundays.
“It has been an exciting time since our grand opening in June and we’re very happy with the response so far,” Grolman said in an email to BetArizona.com. “Game days are when the space really comes to life most and if this is any indication of what’s to come, Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field will be the spot in downtown Phoenix to watch college and NFL football this fall.”
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A Unique Arizona Sportsbook Experience
It certainly seemed like my trip to Caesars’ first retail stadium sportsbook in the Grand Canyon State would support Grolman’s statement, as the crowd Monday featured a lot more diversity than expected from my previous trips to retail stadium sportsbooks in the city.
In the tables and barstools around me, there were several tables full of women having a night on the town, along with others full of young men who had stopped off on their way inside the ballpark.
As I posted up in a corner high-top with my $9.77 draft cup of Peroni, I noticed how there were people of all ages and backgrounds seated around me, instead of the male-dominated spaces I’d seen at other retail facilities in the Valley.
I also noticed the various sports on the 20-plus screens scattered around the second-floor lounge (the first floor is a dedicated space for reservations with the exception of the two bars on the level), ranging from Serena Williams’ first round romp at the U.S. Open to a smattering of MLB games and one screen tuned to an ultimate frisbee contest.
Most of those screens switched over to Bally Sports Arizona a few minutes after the 6:40 p.m. first pitch for Monday’s game between the D’backs and Phillies, though what stood out was how little the crowd seemed to care about the screens.
This was a bit jarring, compared to the setting I’d taken in down the street at the home of the Suns and Mercury, where the experience is dedicated to the giant wall of screens and patrons have little other choice besides going all-in on watching what’s being shown.
It’s clear the two neighboring sportsbooks are here to serve different clienteles, with the Footprint Center facility tailoring itself to dyed-in-the-wool sports fans/bettors, while the Caesars Sportsbook location is more of a destination for the masses.
I came away from my Monday night visit impressed by the service offered, as I had several servers offer me refills on my lone beer of the night, while the food offerings that walked past me all night long were tempting to say the least.
It seems the Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field knows what it is (and isn’t) and is comfortable being more of a restaurant/bar than a traditional retail sportsbook.
Either way, the downtown Phoenix facility provides more than enough of both to keep visitors entertained for a night in the heart of the city, providing a valuable nightlife destination for the Valley.