Phoenix Art Museum features ESPN’s Wilbon, Cubs’ Epstein at luncheon

Theo Epstein, on left, with Mike Wilbon. (submitted photos)

Phoenix Art Museum will present the fourth-annual Luncheon of Champions at 11:30 a.m. on March 24, featuring a candid conversation between  sports-journalist Mike Wilbon, host of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, and Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

The annual luncheon, which has historically celebrated the art of baseball, joins sports and art enthusiasts for an afternoon that benefits exhibitions and educational programming at Phoenix Art Museum.

The two sports history-makers will bring to life their experiences at the top of their respective fields, with unique insights into what it means to be a champion, according to a press release.

“Phoenix Art Museum is pleased to host two extraordinary guests for the 2017 Luncheon of Champions,” said Amada Cruz, the museum’s Sybil Harrington Director and CEO, in the press release.

“We are grateful, not only to Mr. Wilbon and Mr. Epstein for their support, but to each of our guests who attend the luncheon. Not only will they enjoy a unique opportunity to hear from these remarkable leaders in the sports world, but they will make a direct impact on the museum’s ability to open its doors to our diverse community.”

The museum began the Luncheon of Champions tradition in 2013, featuring then Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, who returned again in 2015 as Commissioner Emeritus, along with Rob Manfred, the 10th Commissioner of Major League Baseball, and moderated by Bob Uecker, sportscaster, actor and comedian.

In its history, the Luncheon of Champions has raised more than $300,000 that directly benefits Phoenix Art Museum’s exhibition and education funds, the release stated. In appreciation of his many contributions, Mr. Selig will be honored by the museum at the March 24 luncheon.

Along with a live conversation with speakers Mr. Epstein and Mr. Wilbon, admission to the Luncheon of Champions includes beer samples generously donated from Four Peaks Brewing Company, based in Tempe.

A ballpark-inspired menu from Santa Barbara Catering promises creative and tasty hors d’oeuvres and a fully plated lunch. At the conclusion of the event, Mr. Wilbon and Mr. Epstein will take questions from guests and will be available for photos.

The ticket entry will also include free entry to Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, the museum’s special-engagement exhibition, featuring exquisite warrior regalia from one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Samurai armor in the world.

A uniquely curated sports-themed art exhibition drawn from the museum’s collection will also be on view for guests to view during and after the event.

Individual tickets to the Luncheon of Champions are offered at $300 each, with all proceeds directly benefiting the museum, the release stated.

An additional ticket option of $350 includes a one-year family membership to Phoenix Art Museum, offering unlimited admission to the museum all year long at a savings of $40. Hosted table packages, which include admission to an exclusive meet-and greet prior to the luncheon with Mr. Wilbon and Mr. Epstein, begin at $5,000 for a party of ten.

To purchase tickets, visit, email or call 602-257-2139.

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