Sun Devil Stadium

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Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium - Pac12 Championship.jpg
Sun Devil Stadium hosting the 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game
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Sun Devil Stadium
Location in Arizona
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Sun Devil Stadium
Location in the United States
Location500 East Veterans Way
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Coordinates 33°25′35″N111°55′57″W / 33.42639°N 111.93250°W / 33.42639; -111.93250 Coordinates: 33°25′35″N111°55′57″W / 33.42639°N 111.93250°W / 33.42639; -111.93250
Public transit BSicon TRAM1.svg Veterans Way/College Avenue
Owner Arizona State University
Operator Arizona State University
Capacity 53,599 (2018–present) [1]
SurfaceBermuda Grass
Broke groundJanuary 1958
OpenedOctober 4, 1958 [2]
Expanded1966, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1989
Construction cost$1 million (original stadium)
($8.68 million in 2018 dollars [3] )
Architect Edward L. Varney Associates [4]
General contractorF. H. Antrim Construction Company [5]
Arizona State Sun Devils (NCAA) (1958–present)
Fiesta Bowl (NCAA) (1971–2006)
Arizona Wranglers (USFL) (1983–1984)
Arizona Outlaws (USFL) (1985)
Arizona Cardinals (NFL) (19882005)
Cactus Bowl (NCAA) (20062015)
Arizona Hotshots (AAF) (2019) [6]
Sun Devil Stadium at the southeast entrance Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe Arizona.jpg
Sun Devil Stadium at the southeast entrance
Sun Devil Stadium Press Box, 1998 SunDevilStadium1.jpg
Sun Devil Stadium Press Box, 1998

Sun Devil Stadium is an outdoor football stadium on the campus of Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, United States. It is home to the Arizona State Sun Devils football team of the Pac-12 Conference. The stadium's seating capacity as of 2018 is 53,599, reduced from a peak of 74,865 in 1989, and the playing surface is natural grass. The field within the stadium was named Frank Kush Field in honor of Frank Kush, the former coach of the ASU football team in 1996. [7] Sun Devil Stadium is undergoing a $304 million renovation that is scheduled to be completed by June 2019. [8] [9] [10] It was the only major football stadium in the Phoenix metropolitan area until the construction of State Farm Stadium in Glendale in 2006.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Stadium Place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events

A stadium is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.

Arizona State University Public university located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, United States

Arizona State University is a public metropolitan research university on five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona.


The stadium has hosted two annual college football bowl games: the Fiesta Bowl from 1971 to 2006, and the Cactus Bowl from 2006 to 2015.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Bowl game post-season game in American college football

In North America, a bowl game is one of a number of post-season college football games that are primarily played by teams belonging to the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). For most of its history, the Division I Bowl Subdivision had avoided using a playoff tournament to determine an annual national champion, which was instead traditionally determined by a vote of sports writers and other non-players. In place of such a playoff, various cities across the United States developed their own regional festivals featuring post-season college football games. Prior to 2002, bowl game statistics were not included in players' career totals and the games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating teams. Despite attempts to establish a permanent system to determine the FBS national champion on the field, various bowl games continue to be held because of the vested economic interests entrenched in them.

Fiesta Bowl American college football tournament

The Fiesta Bowl is an American college football bowl game played annually in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Between its origination in 1971 and 2006, the game was hosted in Tempe, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium. Since 2007, it has been held at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Sun Devil Stadium was also home to the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) from 1988 through the 2005 season. Following the 2005 season, the Cardinals moved to State Farm Stadium.

Arizona Cardinals National Football League franchise in Glendale, Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, and are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Construction and upgrades

Built in 1958, the stadium's original capacity was 30,000. The first addition in 1976 substantially raised the capacity to 57,722. Seating was added to the south end zone, along with press and sky boxes. A year later, in 1977, the upper tier was completed to bring seating to 70,311. In 1988, 1,700 more seats were added. During that time the Carson Student Athlete Center was added to the south end. The building is the home of the ASU Athletic Department.

In 2007, engineers realized the stadium's concrete base was buckling due to the rusting of structural steel supporting the foundation. Stadium designers had neglected to waterproof the structure when it was built, assuming a stadium in the desert would not need waterproof concrete. However, cleaning/maintenance crews for the Sun Devils and Cardinals hosed down the seats after every game, introducing substantially more water to the stadium than the designers had envisioned. Engineers estimated $45 million in repairs would be needed to maintain the stadium beyond 2010. [11]

A new Arizona bill allows the Arizona Board of Regents to set up a district on ASU property to collect revenue from local businesses. Money from the fee will go toward the funding of renovation projects of ASU's athletic facilities, including the stadium. It was estimated the fund would accumulate enough money to begin planning renovations within 2–5 years (2012–2015). [12]

In April 2012, Sun Devil Athletics unveiled an estimated $300 million plan for renovated Sun Devil Stadium that entails reduced stadium capacity (55,000–60,000 seat range), field turf and fabric roof shading. [13] The plan to cover the stadium with fabric was later scrapped. In October 2013, Sun Devil Athletics announced the removal of approximately 5,700 north end zone upper deck seats that reduced the stadium capacity to 65,870 for the 2014 season. [14] The 2016 and 2017 Cactus Bowls, which are usually played in Sun Devil Stadium, will be played in nearby Chase Field until the renovations are completed.

The renovations were originally intended to consist of three phases that would each take place between football seasons, thus removing the need for the team to play one or more years at a temporary home venue during construction. Initial plans called for the entire project to be completed in time for the start of the 2017 season, but modifications to the renovation schedule have postponed the anticipated completion date to 2019. [8] [9] [10]

College football

The first game played at the stadium was on October 4, 1958. Arizona State defeated West Texas State 16–13.

On September 21, 1996, the playing surface was named in honor of former ASU football coaching great Frank Kush, and the name of the stadium was changed from Sun Devil Stadium to Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field. That night ASU shut out #1 Nebraska 19–0. The largest crowd ever seated for a college football game at the stadium was 80,470 for the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, where the Tennessee Volunteers beat the Florida State Seminoles, 23–16 on January 4, 1999 to win the National Championship.

Sun Devil Stadium hosted the Fiesta Bowl from 1971 to 2006. During the 1998 and 2002 seasons, the Fiesta Bowl doubled as the BCS National Championship Game.

The Cactus Bowl (formerly called the Buffalo Wild Wings, Insight and Copper Bowl) moved to Sun Devil Stadium from Chase Field in 2006, after the Fiesta Bowl relocated to the newly opened State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The Cactus Bowl temporarily moved back to Chase Field in 2016 to accommodate the 2015–2018 renovation project; the game will return to Sun Devil Stadium once renovations are complete.

Seating capacity

The seating capacity has been as followed:

2018–present53,599 [1]
201757,078 [15]
201656,232 [16]
201564,248 [17]
201465,870 [18]


The first professional football game played in the stadium was a National Football League (NFL) preseason game between the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings in 1975. The NFL returned to the stadium in 1987 when the Green Bay Packers played the Denver Broncos in a preseason game.

Sun Devil Stadium was the home stadium of the Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws of the USFL from 1983 to 1985.

The facility became an NFL stadium in 1988 when the St. Louis Cardinals moved west to Arizona and became the Phoenix Cardinals, renamed the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. The Cardinals' first regular season game in the stadium was a 17–14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in a Monday Night Football game on September 12, 1988. The Cardinals won their next home game, defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins 30–21. The Cardinals intended to only play in Sun Devil Stadium temporarily until a new stadium could be built in Phoenix. However, the savings and loan crisis derailed plans for a permanent home, and the Cardinals remained in Tempe for 18 years. In the latter part of that time, the Cardinals began chafing at being merely a tenant in a college-owned stadium; they felt it denied them access to revenue streams that other NFL teams took for granted. The 18 seasons the Cardinals spent at ASU are by far the longest a professional football team has been a tenant in a college stadium since the formation of the American Football League in 1960.

The stadium hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996 as the Cowboys won their fifth Vince Lombardi Trophy, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27–17 in front of 76,347 spectators.

On October 27, 2003, the Monday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins was moved to Sun Devil Stadium because the Cedar Fire in the San Diego area forced the teams to vacate Qualcomm Stadium, which was being used as an evacuation site. Tickets for the game were free and the capacity crowd saw the Dolphins win 26–10. It was the first Monday Night Football game in the stadium in four years. [19]

The Cardinals ended their tenancy at Sun Devil Stadium with a 27–21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Christmas Eve 2005. In 18 seasons, the Cardinals compiled a 64–80 (.444) record at the facility, their best home record being 5–3 which they achieved four times: 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2004.

Whenever the Cardinals struggled, Sun Devil Stadium was frequently one of the quietest stadiums in the league. Cardinals home games often did not sell out in time for them to be aired locally, in compliance with NFL blackout policy at the time. The few fans who did show up for games were most often rooting for the visiting team, creating what amounted to "home games" on the road for many opposing teams. A significant percentage of the state's residents only live there during the winter and live elsewhere for the rest of the year, and many of Arizona's permanent residents either grew up in other states or have roots outside the state. [20] In 2005, for instance, all home games (except for the 49ers game which was held at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City) failed to sell out and could not be broadcast on local television.

In 2006, the Cardinals moved from Sun Devil Stadium to University of Phoenix Stadium in another Phoenix suburb, Glendale, located on the opposite side of the metro area from Tempe (although the Cardinals' training facility is in Tempe). The new stadium also hosts the Fiesta Bowl, and hosted the first stand-alone BCS National Championship Game in January 2007.

Satellite image in 2002 Sun Devil Stadium B&W - Tempe Arizona.jpg
Satellite image in 2002

The stadium was also home to a new professional football team, the Arizona Hotshots. The team began play in February 2019 and was a part of the Alliance of American Football [21] , but the league folded in April 2019.

Film appearances

Sun Devil Stadium has been the setting for several movies over the years. Some of them include Cameron Crowe's 1996 blockbuster film Jerry Maguire , U2's 1988 rockumentary Rattle and Hum , The Rolling Stones' 1982 concert film Let's Spend the Night Together , 1976's A Star is Born , with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, [22] the Coen Brothers' 1987 film Raising Arizona , [23] and the 1980 film Used Cars . In 2003, the stadium was also featured on the Finale episode of The Amazing Race 4 , and in 2009 The U in ESPN's 30 for 30.

Historic appearances

Pope John Paul II visited Phoenix on September 14, 1987, as a part of his whirlwind tour of the United States. In Tempe, he held Mass for 75,000 at Sun Devil Stadium, which had all images and textual mentions of the Sun Devil mascot and nickname removed or obscured in his presence. [24]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Metcalfe, Jeff (August 31, 2018). "Herm Edwards Era Begins at ASU Football with Defense Again As the Great Unknown". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  2. "Sun Devil Stadium". Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  4. "Bids for New Sun Devil Stadium to Be Accepted". Prescott Courier . November 15, 1957. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  5. Solliday, Scott (December 1, 2001). "Tempe Post-World War II Context Study". City of Tempe. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  6. "SArizona awarded new pro football team, will play at Sun Devil Stadium". ABC 15 Arizona. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  7. Metcalfe, Jeff (June 22, 2017). "Legendary ASU Coach Frank Kush Dies at 88". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  8. 1 2 Metcalfe, Jeff (February 11, 2016). "See What Sun Devil Stadium Will Look Like After Renovation". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  9. 1 2 Metcalfe, Jeff (October 12, 2016). "ASU Postpones Final Sun Devil Stadium Reconstruction". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  10. 1 2 3 Leingang, Rachel (August 31, 2018). "Here's What You Need to Know About Sun Devil Stadium's $307M Renovation Before Game Day". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  11. "Sun Devil Stadium Repairs Planned". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. June 24, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
  12. Ottens, Cale (September 26, 2010). "Business Fee to Fund Sun Devil Stadium Renovation". State Press . Arizona State University. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  13. Boor, William (April 4, 2012). "ASU Unveils Plans for Renovated Sun Devil Stadium". State Press . Arizona State University. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  14. Metcalfe, Jeff (October 3, 2013). "ASU to Demolish Upper-Deck Seating in North End Zone at Sun Devil Stadium in January". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  15. "2017 ASU Football Final Guide" (PDF). Arizona State University Department of Athletics. August 28, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  16. Haller, Doug (August 23, 2016). "Renovated Sun Devil Stadium Ready for Sept. 3 Opener". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  17. Boivin, Paola (July 17, 2015). "ASU Has High Hopes for Splitting Student Section". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  18. "A Closer Look at the Pac-12's Football Stadiums". The Arizona Republic . Phoenix. August 1, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  19. Baum, Bob (October 28, 2003). "Dolphins 26, Chargers 10". Yahoo! Sports . Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  20. Boeck, Greg (October 23, 2003). "Cardinals Feel the Heat". USA Today . Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  21. "Alliance of American Football".
  22. "Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe Arizona 1976". Barbra Streisand Archives. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  23. "Raising Arizona Movie Filming Locations". The 80s Movies Rewind. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
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Events and tenants
Preceded by
Home of the
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Succeeded by
University of Phoenix Stadium
Preceded by
Chase Field
Home of the
Insight Bowl

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Busch Stadium
Home of the
Arizona Cardinals

Succeeded by
University of Phoenix Stadium
Preceded by
Joe Robbie Stadium
Host of the Super Bowl
XXX 1996
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Preceded by

first stadium
Rose Bowl
Home of the
BCS National Championship Game

Succeeded by

Louisiana Superdome
Louisiana Superdome