Mecum, the only major American collector car auction company not participating in Arizona Auction Week, won’t be there again in January 2019. But it revealed during the televised coverage of its Las Vegas auction this weekend that it will stage an auction in Arizona in 2019, announcing a sale to be held March 15-16 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
At least that was the announcement made Friday. By Saturday afternoon, Mecum Auctions president Dave Magers said there had been such overwhelming response to the announcement that instead of a two-day, 600-car auction, the company may need to expand to a three-day, Thursday-through-Saturday event, with a docket featuring as many as 1,000 vehicles.
“We’ve been thinking about a sale at Phoenix for a long time,” Magers told the ClassicCars.com Journal. “But we couldn’t find dates and a venue that worked for us.”
Arizona Auction Week doesn’t work for Mecum because of its long-running January sale in Kissimmee, Florida, where it offers as many as 3,000 vehicles over the course of 11 days.
Various venues in the Phoenix area had been considered, at least until early September, when State Farm Insurance, a major sponsor of Mecum Auctions, announced it had purchased naming rights to the stadium in Glendale that serves as the home field for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.
The stadium, which opened in 2006, has a versatile setup — the roof opens and the grass field slides in and out as needed — and has been the site of everything from the college basketball’s Final Four and its national football championship game to the Super Bowl, WrestleMania, games featuring European soccer teams Manchester United and Real Madrid, and concerts ranging from U2 to Taylor Swift, Beyonce to Metallica.
Magers called State Farm about the possible use of the Glendale facility and his call was greeted with excitement over such potential synergy. However, there remained a conflict in scheduling. There were two weekends in March that worked for Mecum, he said, but the stadium already had been reserved for both of them.
And then, in late September, one of those dates opened up. Mecum booked the stadium and hoped to be able to announce the new auction venue during its Las Vegas sale. But that announcement depended on one more issue out of Mecum’s control — getting all the clearances needed from the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles to hold any auction.
Late Thursday, the AZ DMV notified Mecum that it was good to go.
Magers said Phoenix is appealing as an auction location because of the area’s strong car culture and its Southwestern location. He added that Phoenix will take the place on the Mecum calendar previously served by sales in Anaheim and later in Pomona, California. Because of the Arizona sale’s mid-March date, he added, the company will hold only one auction instead of two in 2019 at Kansas City.
He said the sale shouldn’t impact Mecum’s 2019 visit to Las Vegas, since there will be six months between the events.
Speaking of Las Vegas, the 2019 Mecum auction also will shift to October 10-12 dates because of previous bookings at the Las Vegas Convention Center. However, the auction will move from the South Hall to the larger Central Hall, Magers said.
That move is for one year. In 2020, the auction moves back to the South Hall and will expand from the upper level to fill both floors of the facility, providing Mecum more than 1 million square feet of display space.
Read more about Mecum’s Phoenix auction: