University of Phoenix Stadium

University of Phoenix Stadium
Former names Cardinals Stadium (August–September 2006)
Address 1 Cardinals Drive
Location Glendale, Arizona
Coordinates 33°31′39″N 112°15′45″W / 33.52750°N 112.26250°W / 33.52750; -112.26250Coordinates: 33°31′39″N 112°15′45″W / 33.52750°N 112.26250°W / 33.52750; -112.26250
Parking 14,000 on-site parking spaces
Owner Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority
Operator Global Spectrum
Executive suites 88
Capacity 63,400 (expandable to 72,200; standing room to at least 78,600[1][2])
Surface Tifway 419 Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Broke ground April 12, 2003
Opened August 1, 2006[3]
Construction cost $455 million[4]
($535 million in 2016 dollars[5])
Architect Eisenman Architects
Populous (then HOK Sport)
Structural engineer TLCP Structural, Inc. (bowl)[6]
Walter P Moore[7] to a design by Buro Happold (roof)[8]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[9]
General contractor Hunt Construction Group[10]
Arizona Cardinals (NFL) (2006–present)
Fiesta Bowl (NCAA) (2007–present)

University of Phoenix Stadium, opened August 1, 2006, is a multipurpose football stadium located in Glendale, Arizona, west of Phoenix. It is the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) and the annual Fiesta Bowl, and replaced Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium as the Valley of the Sun's main outdoor stadium. The stadium is adjacent to the Gila River Arena and it features the first fully retractable natural grass playing surface built in the United States on top of an AirField Systems drainage system. An opening on one side of the stadium allows the playing field to move to the exterior of the building, allowing the entire natural turf playing surface to be exposed to daylight and also allowing the floor of the stadium to be used for any other purpose (such as seating for concerts) without damaging the turf.

The stadium has hosted the Fiesta Bowl, the 2007 BCS National Championship Game, 2011 BCS National Championship Game and 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship a game that it hosted every four years, which set the venue's entertainment attendance record of 78,603 on January 11, 2011,[11] 2008 Super Bowl XLII, 2015 Super Bowl XLIX, the 2015 Pro Bowl, WrestleMania XXVI, and matches from the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was one of the stadiums for the Copa América Centenario in 2016, with one of those matches being the 3rd place final, and will host the NCAA Final Four in 2017.

The University of Phoenix acquired the naming rights in September 2006, shortly after the stadium had opened under the name Cardinals Stadium. The "University of Phoenix" name is applied as a corporate sponsor, and not as the home stadium of the university, which has no intercollegiate athletics program.

Facility information and history

Since moving to Arizona in 1988, the Cardinals had played at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University. The Cardinals had only planned to play there until a new stadium could be built in Phoenix. However, the savings and loan crisis derailed funding for a new stadium. Over time, the Cardinals expressed frustration at being merely tenants in a college football stadium. Notably, it denied them access to additional revenue streams available to other NFL teams. The Cardinals campaigned several years for a new and more modern facility.

The 63,400-seat stadium opened on August 1, 2006 after three years of construction. The stadium was designed by Eisenman Architects and HOK Sport (now Populous).[12] The stadium is considered an architectural icon for the region and was named by Business Week as one of the 10 “most impressive” sports facilities on the globe due to the combination of its retractable roof (engineering design by Walter P Moore) and roll-in natural grass field designed by Lloyd Civil & Sports Engineering [13](formerly CMX Inc.), similar to the GelreDome and the Veltins-Arena.[14] It is the only American facility on the list. The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new stadium was held on April 12, 2003.

LED video and ribbon displays from Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota were installed in 2006 prior to Arizona's first game of the season.[15]

The cost of the project was $455 million. That total included $395.4 million for the stadium, $41.7 million for site improvements, and $17.8 million for the land. Contributors to the stadium included the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority ($302.3 million), the Arizona Cardinals ($143.2 million), and the City of Glendale ($9.5 million).

The playing field outside and lined for the Arizona Cardinals.
University of Phoenix Stadium with field removed.

The stadium has 88 luxury suites called luxury lofts with space for 16 future suites as the stadium matures.

The 25 acres (10 ha) surrounding the stadium is called Sportsman's Park. Included within the Park is an 8-acre (3.2 ha) landscaped tailgating area called the Great Lawn.

There are no obstructed view seats in the stadium. There are visible areas in the upper deck of the end zone where seats could have been put in but were not due to the giant super columns supporting the roof structure.

Cardinals win NFC Championship, January 18, 2009

The stadium seating capacity can be expanded by 8,800 for "mega-events" such as college bowls, NFL Super Bowls, and the NFC Championship Game[16] by adding risers and ganged, portable "X-frame" folding seats. The endzone area on the side of the facility where the field tray rolls in and out of the facility can be expanded to accommodate the additional seats.

The roof is made out of translucent "Bird-Air" fabric and opens in 12 minutes. It is the first retractable roof ever built on an incline.


The roof of University of Phoenix Stadium.

The first preseason football game was played August 12, 2006 when the Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-13. The first regular season game was played September 10 against the San Francisco 49ers (the Cardinals won 3427). The stadium's air-conditioning system made it possible for the Cardinals to play at home on the opening weekend of the NFL season for the first time since moving to Arizona in 1988.

On October 16, 2006, the stadium hosted a notable game between the Cardinals and the undefeated Chicago Bears where the Bears came back from a 20-point deficit to defeat the Cardinals. The Bears would later go on to play in Super Bowl XLI.

The stadium hosted the highest attended soccer match in the state of Arizona on February 7, 2007, when 62,462 fans watched the United States men's national soccer team defeat Mexico, 20.

University of Phoenix Stadium from a bird's-eye view

The multipurpose nature of the facility has allowed it to host 91 events representing 110 event days between the dates of August 4, 2006 through the BCS National Championship January 8, 2007. These events included Arizona Cardinals games; public grand opening tours held August 19 and 20, 2006 (attended by 120,000 people); various shows, expositions, tradeshows and motor sport events; the Rolling Stones concert November 8, 2006; the AIA 4A and 5A state championship games for football (the first high school to win a football championship at the stadium was Cactus Shadows High School of Cave Creek, Arizona on December 2, 2006); an international soccer exhibition match; the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship High School Marching Band competition (the first marching band to ever play on the field was Foothill High School, from Pleasanton, California on December 29, 2006); the Fiesta Bowl January 1, 2007 featuring the Boise State Broncos vs. the University of Oklahoma Sooners (Boise State won 43-42 in overtime); and the BCS National Championship January 8, 2007 between the (1) Ohio State Buckeyes and the (2) University of Florida Gators, which the Gators won 41-14. It also held the 2008 Fiesta Bowl between the Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia University Mountaineers, as well as the 2009 Fiesta Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and the Ohio State Buckeyes. It has also held many high school graduations.

The Cardinals' first home playoff game since the 1940s took place at the stadium on January 3, 2009, with Arizona beating the Atlanta Falcons, 30-24. The stadium also hosted the 2008-09 NFC Championship Game between the Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2009, which the Cardinals won 32-25 in front of over 70,000 fans in attendance.

University of Phoenix Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 in which the New York Giants defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 with a paid attendance crowd of 71,101. This was the second time the Phoenix area hosted a Super Bowl, the other being Super Bowl XXX held in nearby Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On August 1, 2009, the stadium hosted Monster Jam Summer Heat, with Maximum Destruction defeating Captain's Curse in the racing finals and Grave Digger winning the freestyle event.

The stadium hosted the WWE event WrestleMania XXVI with 72,219 fans in attendance. The event was held in the stadium on March 28, 2010.

On January 10, 2011, the 2011 BCS National Championship Game between the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks had an attendance record setting 78,603 on hand for the game.

On January 21, 2012, the United States men's national soccer team played against the Venezuela national football team and won the match 1-0.

On September 21, 2012, Ron Elsensohn, former troubadour of the hardcore country punk band Scrotum Grinder, performed a harp rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

On January 30, 2013, the Mexico national football team played against the Denmark national football team. The game was broadcast on Televisa Deportes, UniMás, TV Azteca, and more. The match ended in a 1-1 tie[17]

The stadium hosted the inaugural Stadium Super Trucks race on April 6, 2013.[18]

On September 16, 2014, One Direction show was a sellout.

The 2015 Pro Bowl was the first Pro Bowl to be held at the same location as the same year's Super Bowl since 2010. The Pro Bowl returned to Hawaii in 2016.[19]On February 1, 2015 the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX held at the stadium.

On January 30, 2016, Monster Jam returned to the stadium for the first time since 2009, with 16 of the best trucks. On February 6, the AMA Supercross Championship will race for the first time, after visiting Chase Field from 1999 to 2015.

It was announced on November 14, 2014, that the University of Phoenix Stadium will host the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 2017.

On January 11, 2016, the University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship Game featuring No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers. Alabama defeated Clemson, 45-40, giving Alabama its fourth national championship in seven years and 16th overall.

On November 19, 2015, the stadium was one of the sites selected for the 2016 Copa América Centenario.[20][21][22]The stadium hosted three matches, including Mexico vs. Uruguay on June 5, 2016, and the third-place match on June 25.

A panoramic view of the interior of the stadium before a Cardinals football game, September 27, 2009

Naming rights

The movable field outside of the stadium.

On September 26, 2006 the University of Phoenix acquired the naming rights to the stadium totalling $154.5 million over 20 years.[23]

Parking space

The stadium has approximately 14,000 on-site parking spaces (plus 12,000 adjacent spaces),[24] located in numerous lots that surround the stadium's 2,000 disabled parking spaces. The design improvement, featured for example in a Discovery program about this stadium, is zoning. Parking spaces for guests are zoned with preferred leaving directions, to achieve the fastest possible movement of traffic.[25]

Notes and references

  1. "The Big Game On the Horizon". February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  2. Auburn Claims SEC's Fifth Straight National Title By Dropping Oregon On Late Field Goal
  4. University of Phoenix Stadium Funding & Economic Impact
  5. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  6. "The University of Phoenix Stadium Sets New Standards". STRUCTURE magazine. February 1, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  7. - University of Phoenix Stadium
  8. Gannon, Todd (2008). Eisenman Architects/University of Phoenix Stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 100.
  9. M-E Engineers, Inc. - Projects
  10. This Week's News: The Cardinals Signature Stadium
  11. Sunnucks, Mike (January 11, 2011). "BCS Game Sets New University of Phoenix Stadium Attendance Record". Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  12. Stadium Statistics
  13. "".
  14. World-Class Sports Stadiums: BusinessWeek
  15. "Installation Spotlight: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.".
  16. Watters, Carrie (January 11, 2009). "Cards vs. Eagles Sells Out in 6 Minutes". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  18. "Schedule". Stadium Super Trucks. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  19. "2015 Pro Bowl to be played in Arizona -". Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  20. "Ten Metropolitan Areas from Across the United States Selected to Host Copa America Centenario". 19 November 2015.
  21. "Diez áreas metropolitanas de Estados Unidos han sido seleccionadas para la organización de la Copa América Centenario". 19 November 2015.
  22. "Ten Metropolitan Areas from Across the United States Selected to Host Copa America Centenario". US Soccer. 19 November 2015.
  23. Wong, Scott (September 26, 2006). "Stadium Name Deal: $154.5 mil Over 20 Years". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 26, 2006.
  24. Statistics - University of Phoenix Stadium
  25. Parking & Directions - University of Phoenix Stadium
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Events and tenants
Preceded by
Sun Devil Stadium
Home of the
Arizona Cardinals

2006 present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
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Home of the
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

2007 present
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AT&T Stadium
Home of the
College Football Playoff National Championship

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Rose Bowl
Rose Bowl
Home of the
BCS National Championship Game

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Mercedes-Benz Superdome
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Dolphin Stadium
MetLife Stadium
Host of the
Super Bowl

Succeeded by

Raymond James Stadium
Levi's Stadium
Preceded by
Lambeau Field
Host of NFC Championship Game
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Preceded by
NRG Stadium
Host of WrestleMania XXVI
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Georgia Dome
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Aloha Stadium
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Aloha Stadium
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Reliant Stadium
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

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