University of Phoenix Stadium
Former namesCardinals Stadium (August–September 2006)
Location1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale, Arizona, 85305
United States
Broke groundApril 12, 2003
OpenedAugust 1, 2006
OwnerArizona Sports and Tourism Authority
OperatorGlobal Spectrum
SurfaceTifway 419 Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Construction costUSD $ 455 million[1]
($496 million in 2020 dollars[2])
ArchitectPeter Eisenman / Populous (HOK Sport)[3]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[4] to a design by Buro Happold[5]
General ContractorHunt Construction[6]
Capacity63,400(expandable to at least 78,600[7][8])
Arizona Cardinals (NFL) (2006–present)
Fiesta Bowl (BCS) (2007–present)
NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Final (NCAA) (2009)
Super Bowl XLII, Super Bowl XLIX (2008, 2015)
WrestleMania XXVI (WWE) (2010)
BCS National Championship Game (2007, 2011)

University of Phoenix Stadium, opened August 1, 2006, is a multipurpose football stadium located in Glendale, Arizona. It is the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) and the annual Fiesta Bowl. The stadium is located next door to the 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.

The stadium has hosted Super Bowl XLII, WrestleMania XXVI and the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, a game that it hosts every four years, which set the venue's entertainment attendance record of 78,603 on January 11, 2011.[9] It will again host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

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 informationEdit

The 63,400-seat stadium (expandable to at least 78,600) opened on August 1, 2006 after three years of construction.[10]. 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 to a scheme design by Buro Happold) and roll-in natural grass field, similar to the Veltins-Arena[11]. It is the only American facility on the list. The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new stadium was held on April 12, 2003.

Light emitting diode (LED) video and ribbon displays from Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota were installed in 2006 prior to Arizona's first game of the season.[12]

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).

File:University of Phoenix Stadium roof.jpg

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 34–27). 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.

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, 2–0.


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 & 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, AZ 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 No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 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 Jan. 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 Jan. 18, 2009, which the Cardinals won 32-25 in front of 70,650 fans in attendance.

File:University of Phoenix Stadium no field.jpg

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.


The stadium seating capacity can be expanded by 9,600 for "mega-events" such as college bowls, NFL Super Bowls, and the 2008-09 NFC Championship Game[13] 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 twelve minutes. It is the first retractable roof ever built on an incline.

The shape of the stadium is loosely modeled after a barrel cactus, a widespread plant in the Arizona desert.

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 game was mentioned as one of the biggest upsets of all time. 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 February 23, 2009 it was reported that the stadium will host WrestleMania XXVI, the twenty-sixth edition of the annual supercard produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on March 28, 2010.[14][15] Global Spectrum, the stadium's operator, had worked in previous years with WWE to recruit the event to their venue. Spearheaded by financial backer and New York Architect Ron Elsensohn, on January 18, 2008, Global Spectrum publicly announced its intentions to host WrestleMania in 2010.[16] The event gained media attention weeks prior when a photo of Wayne Gretzky wearing a shirt promoting the event surfaced in the Swedish newspaper Expressen.[17] A press conference was held on February 24, 2009 at the University of Phoenix Stadium to formally announce the event for Glendale, Arizona at the University of Phoenix Stadium; this marked the first WrestleMania event to be held in the state of Arizona.[18] WrestleMania XXVI grossed $5.8 million and became the highest grossing and attended entertainment event ever hosted by the venue, breaking the previous record held by a U2 concert on October 20, 2009 that attracted 50,775 fans and grossed $4.9 million. 72,219 fans from all 50 U.S. states and 26 countries attended WrestleMania XXVI.[19][20]

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.

On January 10, 2011 the 2011 BCS National Championship Game had an attendance record setting 78,603 on hand for the game.

On October 11, 2011 it was announced by the owners that University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, will host Super Bowl XLIX.

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

Naming rightsEdit

File:University of Phoenix Stadium field 01.jpg

On September 26, 2006 the University of Phoenix acquired the naming rights to the stadium totalling $154.5 million over 20 years.[21]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. University of Phoenix Stadium Funding & Economic Impact
  2. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  3. University of Phoenix Stadium architect: Populous
  5. Gannon, Todd (2008). Eisenman Architects/University of Phoenix Stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 100.
  7. "The Big Game On the Horizon". 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
  9. Sunnucks, Mike (January 10, 2011). "BCS game sets new University of Phoenix Stadium attendance record".
  11. World-Class Sports Stadiums | BusinessWeek
  12. "Installation Spotlight: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.".
  14. "WrestleMania on its way to Glendale?". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  15. "Wrestle Mania XXVI to be held in Phoenix area". American City Business Journals. MSN. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  16. Vassallo, Colin (2008-01-18). "Phoenix officials confirm negotiations for WrestleMania 2010". The Arizona Republic. Wrestling-Online.Com. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  17. Invalid language code. Nordström, Gunnar (2007-12-30). "Fel att satsa på Foppa". Expressen. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  18. "Arizona Hosts WrestleMania XXVI". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  19. "WrestleMania XXVI Breaks Record". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. 2010-03-28. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  20. "WrestleMania XXVI". University of Phoenix 2010-03-28. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  21. Wong, Scott (2006-09-26). "Stadium name deal: $154.5 mil over 20 years". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2006-09-26.[dead link]

External linksEdit

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Sun Devil Stadium
Home of the
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

2007 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rose Bowl
Home of the
BCS National Championship Game

2007, 2011
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Preceded by
Sun Devil Stadium
Home of the
Arizona Cardinals

2006 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Dolphin Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl XLII

Succeeded by
Raymond James Stadium
Preceded by
Reliant Stadium
Host of WrestleMania XXVI
Succeeded by
Georgia Dome
Preceded by
Lambeau Field
Host of NFC Championship Game
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome
Preceded by
MetLife Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl XLIX

Succeeded by
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