Beyond the court; Monarch Sports shines in AZ basketball

by Jayla French




When you look at Monarch Sports it is a quality at its foundation and Marc Beasley is the driving force behind it all. 

Monarch obtained its name from Beasley honoring his late father, who embodied a monarch, and his astrological sign, Leo, which, like lions, is the ‘leader of the pack.’

Getting its start back in 2007, the first event held under Monarch Sports was called the MLK Basketball Classic. Beasley and a partner organized five to six games on MLK day, the third Monday in January. It was his way of honoring Dr. King and everything he stood for, coupled with his love for high school athletics. 

The event was held at Grand Canyon University and Arizona State but became too cost-prohibitive, going dormant until about five years ago. Beasley partnered with the Tempe Union High School district to have the games at high school gyms. Since then, the event is still held every MLK day known as the MLK Dream Classic. It went from the Arizona Basketball Challenge and then merged into the Visit Mesa Basketball Challenge.

The Visit Mesa Basketball Challenge usually happens before or after Christmas and includes out-of-state teams. Beasley put on this tournament with his partner who is retired but Beasley continues because he loves it. 

“The Visit Mesa was the first tournament that I saw value in,” Beasley said. 

 Visit Mesa uses the Fiesta Bowl as a model for the tournament. Like the Fiesta Bowl, Visit Mesa is held in December to attract out-of-state participants. Teams coming from the Midwest and East Coast, Beasley and his partner capitalized on that same model but for a basketball tournament. The tournament has since seen great success entering its 17th year.


Visit Mesa solidified Beasley’s love for event management. He enjoys the process of creating something. There are so many components that go into putting together a basketball tournament that includes, identifying the right teams to participate, reaching out to the coaches, finding out the dates, facilities, etc. 

Beasley works behind the scenes to bring these events to fruition and does it with his passion. 

When he’s tying up loose ends for each event, he’s simultaneously preparing for the next one. He’s done it for so long there’s a sense of ease.

Putting together these events also comes with a downside. Beasley’s credibility is on the line each time making sure everything is planned accordingly and the ability to pivot when mishaps come up. 

“If you’re not 100% comfortable with everything operationally, then I think things fall wayside,” Beasley said. “There’s all these types of things, cause like anything you want to put your best foot forward. Monarch, I call it my side hustle but it’s not – it’s a hobby.”

Beasley has been involved in the Arizona high school basketball scene for so long that he’s a prominent figure. As a former basketball player, he has a love for the game as well and realizes how important it is. 

“I love high school basketball. As a high school basketball player, I remember just so much joy playing,” Beasley said. “High school basketball and representing your school and seeing your parents in the stands and fans and all that type of stuff. It’s gotten incredibly nasty but it’s important as kids try to, you know, they kind of have a goal of getting an athletic scholarship.”

Beasley values making sure he puts on the best events possible, especially for coaches who want to participate in events that are well-run with great competition. It’s meaningful and impactful. June basketball is so important because it helps set up for the basketball season in the fall. 

Beasley’s work speaks for itself and it is respected by others such as Sam Duane, head basketball coach for Perry High School. 

“Mark does a tremendous job,” Duane said. “First of all competitive, he does a great job of showcasing the event, putting it out to the media. His tournaments are always extremely organized. They’re always run extremely well. We are always looking at any event that’s Marc’s and we want to be a part of.” 

With the growth of the high school basketball scene especially on the event management side, there’s money to be made but money isn’t everything. Beasley takes pride in his events remaining grassroots with Monarch Sports. An Arizona native, born and raised, he just wants to do his part and provide. 

With such great success every year with the 16 events Monarch Sports is involved in, what does Beasley hope each participant gets out of it? 

Competitive and safe events, well-compensated referees, and adequate facilities. 

Beasley, a former college referee himself, considers referees as important as the participants and spectators in these tournaments. 

“I think my relationship, my character, my reputation – it helps the brand of Monarch sports,” Beasley said. 

His influence on the sport helped implement a shot clock six years ago. This was significant and it exposed the Arizona high school basketball teams to this and it gained traction led by Beasley’s advocacy. 

“The value of the shot clock, it brings a little bit of excitement to the game where you just can’t sit back and stall the entire time,” Beasley said. 

The shot clock concept was so well received that it caught the attention of the AIA so much so that they sent over a team of people to track data before they considered it. They were receiving calls from coaches and athletic directors alike to inquire about why the shot clock wasn’t implemented at the high school level. 

They followed suit, voted it in and now the shot clock is going on three years of activation.

Beasley has relied on his experience as a college basketball referee to implement lessons into Monarch Sports. For instance, he has taken on operational practices from referees, such as their actions during timeouts and the timing of the national anthem. Beasley has worked these small details into Monarch Sports events toward improvement. As the saying goes, “Imitation is the finest form of flattery.”

“There’s a right way to do things,” Beasley said. I admit I look at how others run events. I see how they do it and I kind of try to put myself in that, I guess in their shoes to see why they do it that way.”

“Labor of love. It won’t make me rich. It’ll make me rich in regards to developing, creating, sustaining, and establishing relationships.”