Washington County, Dixie State enter $10M marketing agreement creating Greater Zion Stadium

ST. GEORGE — Thanks to a $10 million tourism marketing agreement between Washington County and Dixie State University, Trailblazer Stadium is getting a new name.

The Washington County Commission, St. George, Utah, Jan 21, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

In a move to promote tourism to Washington County, the County Commission approved a 20-year strategic market agreement between Dixie State and the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office (formerly the Washington County Convention and Tourism Office).

The $10 million agreement will invest $500,000 annually in Dixie State, which is anticipated to net the county $2 million in yearly marketing exposure in return.

An aspect of the marketing involves the rebranding of the university’s football stadium from the Trailblazer Stadium to the Greater Zion Stadium. The name will readily be seen from Interstate 15 once it is placed on the eastern grandstand of the stadium.

“The pieces just came together,” Kevin Lewis, the county tourism director, said. “It makes so much sense to unite and leverage the assets of the university and Greater Zion tourism in a way that will benefit residents and visitors.”

The marketing deal has been in the works for several months, Lewis said, and takes advantage of Dixie State’s transition toward becoming an NCAA Division I school. This will bring expanded athletic events and people to the university from across the NCAA’s Western Athletic Conference.

Washington County Tourism Director Kevin Lewis speak to the Washington County Commission, St. George, Utah, Jan 21, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The WAC covers a large area targeted for marketing by the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office, Lewis said.

“Now we get to utilize the assets of the university to go directly after the students, the parents and the communities of those institutions to market and promote Greater Zion,” Lewis said.

In exchange for the marketing exposure, Dixie State gets funds to go toward to completion of planned renovations and additions for the soon-to-be Greater Zion Stadium. The university plans to add a stadium high-rise on the eastern grandstand. This will include an entry plaza, corporate-level seating and a press box. There will also be eight to 10 suites where there will be club-type seating. A banquet room is also planned for the high-rise.

This addition, along with the rest of the stadium, will be covered in the Greater Zion brand.

Another feature being added to the stadium is a jumbotron large-screen video display. A new video board is also planned for the basketball stadium in the Burns Arena. Dixie State President Richard Williams said both will be used to share Greater Zion marketing content during events.

A rendering of what the eastern grandstand at the Greater Zion Stadium is anticipated to look like once the Greater Zion rebranding is set in place. | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

There are also plans to create a visitor center at the stadium that will have tourism and activity information for visitors, and kiosks will be placed around the Dixie State campus with similar information promoting the area.

“We know we have nice real estate in our stadium to be able to brand something significant,” Williams said. “It’s a great partnership because they have the marketing dollars, and they want to market their brand, and Greater Zion is a great name for stadium.”

Williams said the current Trailblazer name was used as a placeholder in the wake of a deal with Legend Solar that would have resulted in the stadium being named after the company.

Dixie State’s campus draws a lot of people to it, Williams said, and more will come in connection with WAC athletic events held there.

“What better way to promote Greater Zion than to bring new populations to this area and expose them to what it is and what we have to offer as a county?”

A rending of what pending changes to Dixie State University’s football stadium will look once built. | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

Williams said the university is moving to get bonding authority from the state during the upcoming legislative session in order to get moving as quickly as possible on the project. If all goes as planned, Dixie State hopes to open the new Greater Zion Stadium by the 2021 season.

“We’d really like to get into that stadium sooner than later,” Williams said.

An aspect of the agreement that pleased the County Commission was that it did not rely on taxpayer dollars. Rather, its being paid through tourism funds garnered through the transient room tax that visitors pay when they stay at an area hotel.

“One of the key benefits of this strategy is that the funds for the partnership do not come from our local residents,” Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox said in a press release from Dixie State.

“What’s more, this plan invests revenues we are getting from visitors back into our local economy. The partnership leverages the assets of two powerful organizations. It supports the unique purposes of each organization and it enhances the effectiveness of each in a way that will benefit the entire county and fuel economic growth.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!