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Arizona Stadium

Aerial View

  Venue Particulars  
Address 540 North Vine Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85721
Phone (520) 621-1877
Seating Weather
Satellite View
Wildcats Gear
  Venue Resources  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Tucson

  The Facility  
Date Opened 1928
University of Arizona
(University of Arizona)
Surface Bermuda Grass
Capacity 57,803
Luxury Suites Unknown
Club Seats Unknown
  Other Facts  
Tenants Arizona Wildcats
(NCAA) (1929-Present)
Former Tenants Insight Bowl
(NCAA) (1989-1999)
Population Base 3,300,000
On Site Parking Unknown
Nearest Airport Sky Harbor International (PHX)

Sources: Mediaventures

One of the best playing facilities in America, Arizona Stadium presents an impressive face from inside or outside the facility. Simply, it's a great place to play or watch a game.

It's large enough on the eastern side that the University built a world-class telescope mirror laboratory beneath the stands, where in 1996 researchers will cast an 8.4-meter reflector, the world's largest single-piece telescope mirror. The west facade from outside is dominated by the four huge columns supporting the pressbox and suites more than 100 feet above.

From inside, every seat has an uncluttered view of the playing surface and more than half the seats have sweeping views of the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains, campus and city skyline.

The addition of the $6.3 million structure housing the media, skyboxes and loge seating in 1989 put Arizona Stadium in first-class company. A new scoreboard project in 1993 added another technologically advanced asset to the stadium.

The four-story skybox includes a first level of 319 loge seats, a second level of 13 suites, a third level with a President's Box and ten suites and the media center on the fourth level.

The media center has 103 seats for the working press, three radio booths, three network television booths, coaching and administrative booths, a statistical operations booth and other operations and VIP areas.

The fourth level offers excellent media services and provides UA officials with first-rate game operations.

The Scholarship Suite/Media Center addition was designed by Anderson, DeBartolo, Pan Inc., and the Sundt Corp. of Tucson was general contractor.

The most challenging part of the project required building four 100,000-pound cantilever sections from which the structure is suspended. Constructing the cantilevers required a complex slip-forming operation taking place more than 100 feet in the air. The new structure hangs over the existing stadium but does not touch it. In addition, new light standards were installed atop the media center.

The Foundation financed the project by issuing double tax-exempt bonds under the Arizona Municipal Financing Program. Leases from Scholarship Suites and loge seats will fund the retirement of the bonds and in the future provide scholarships for athletes and the general student body. The amount of money available for scholarships has grown in successive years.

Each suite includes 12 theater-type seats with patrons provided the opportunity to purchase six additional tickets to the individual suite. The suites are equipped with closed-circuit television and audio choice of crowd, public address or radio broadcast feeds.

The same ban on containers and alcohol exists on game days in the suites as in all other Arizona Stadium seats.

The individual suites lease for $24,500 per year with a five-year commitment. The individual loge seats range from $1,200 per year to $1,800 per year, depending upon the yardline.

The new facility was only part of the improvements to the stadium. New concession and rest room facilities on the northwest and northeast corners of the stadium were added at ground level, and a renovated and enlarged Stadium Club was completed in 1990. A new sound system was added in 1991 and the stadium boasts a brand new scoreboard installed for the 1993 season.

Those improvements bring the stadium in line with the playing surface which has been lauded for many years by Wildcats and foes alike. The turf is a Bermuda Tiff, transplanted to the Stadium from Tucson Nation Golf Club when cart paths were added in the mid 1970s.

A Sports Illustrated survey in 1986 rated the Arizona stadium turf as one of the two best in America.

The modern media center is the third press box to service the media at Arizona Stadium. Arizona's increased coverage, especially as the program moved into the Pacific-10 Conference, outgrew the first two structures. The second box quickly became overcrowded when the University administration replaced five radio and television booths with a President's Box in 1966. That structure and the entire press box were demolished in January 1989 during the Scholarship Suite/Media Center project.

Arizona Stadium, with a permanent capacity of 57,803, has served as home for the University's football team since 1929. This year will be the Wildcats' 66th home season in the stadium, no games having been played during the World War II years of 1943-44.

Arizona has played 384 games in the stadium, 307 of them at night, winning 240, losing 132 and tying 12 for a .640 winning percentage. The team has never failed to win at least one game at home and has gone undefeated nine times (10 times including tie games). UA tied its best home record at 6-0 in 1993 (also 6-0 in 1961). The worst, 1-5-1, came in 1957. UA was 3-3 last year.

A stadium record crowd of 58,817 witnessed the Oct. 22, 1994 victory over UCLA, 34-24.

Also in 1994 the team came close to that record figure with three other sellout crowds -- 58,810 (Arizona State), 58,534 (Colorado State) and 58,374 (California). That was the third consecutive year (and the only three times) there had been two sellouts in a season since the 1976 expansion project. UA averaged 56,612 per game in 1993, the highest in history.

Originally, Arizona Stadium seated 7,000 persons with all seats on the west side between the end zones. Ground was broken in December 1928, with the Wildcats playing and winning their first game on Oct. 12, 1929 (35-0 vs. California Tech). The first night game was played Sept. 25, 1931 (8-0 loss to San Diego State).

In 1938, an additional 3,000 seats were added between the 25-yard lines on the east side, boosting capacity to 10,000. Nine years later, the end zones were filled, increasing capacity to 14,000. The horseshoe at the south end of the stadium was completed in 1950, giving the facility a total of 22,671 seats.

That's the way it stayed until 1965 when expansion on the west side provided 10,000 new seats, along with the 80-foot, multi-level pressbox. A two-tier addition to the east stands, adding 17,000 seats, was completed for the 1976 season. It was selected one of six outstanding architectural projects in the Rocky Mountain States for 1977 by the AIA and presented to Finical and Dombrowski, Architects and Engineers of Tucson. Permanent north-end bleacher seating for 4,500 was added in 1988, and can be expanded in the future.

A computerized scoreboard with illustrated message center was added in 1982 along with two smaller scoreboards in the southeast and southwest ends of the stadium. Those were replaced in 1993 with a newer model sponsored by Bank of America Arizona and Intergroup Healthcare Corp., plus Safeway, America West Airlines and Waste Management of Tucson.

The main scoreboard system features full-color animation and display capabilities designed by Premier Sports Marketing of San Francisco.

The Stadium serves as the home of the annual Copper Bowl and has hosted Arizona high school playoffs in many seasons.

As provided by Ron Bridgemon, thanks Ron

Arizona Stadium
A Perennial Favorite

Long considered one of the finest football settings in America, beautiful and spacious Arizona Stadium on the University of Arizona Campus will play host to the Bowl.

Arizona Stadium is always a favorite among players, coaches and fans alike for its great natural turf, elevation and top-notch sightlines. A story in itself, the lush Bermuda Tiff playing surface was transplanted to the stadium from Tucson National Golf Club when cart paths were added there in the 1970's. The stadium field was named the top football field in the nation by the Sports Turf Managers Associates in 1992, and has been featured in Sports Illustrated as one of the country's finest.

Adding to both the beauty and function of the stadium is the $6.3 million Scholarship Suites structure, constructed in 1990, housing skyboxes, loge seating and the press box. Despite its impressive scale and the fact that is hangs over the older portion of the stadium, the new complex does not touch the stadium proper, but instead is cantilevered over the edge from four huge columns.

The Early Years

It's all a modern touch to venerable Arizona Stadium, which was built in the late 1920's. The stadium's history spans the tenure of sixteen different Arizona coaches, from the legendary J.F. "Pop" McKale in 1929 to present Arizona head coach Dick Tomey. Ground was first broken in December 1928 and the first seats...all 7,000 of them...spanned the west side from goal line to goal line.

Arizona won its home opener under McKale on October 12, 1929, beating California Tech 35-0. Tucson's fall heat was a concern and the first night game was held just two years later. Under the lights for the first time on September 25, 1931, Arizona and Coach Fred Enke dropped an 8-0 decision to San Diego State.

Continued Growth

In 1938 an additional 3,000 seats were added between the 25-yard lines on the east side, and just nine years later, the east stands were extended to the end zones, increasing capacity to 14,000. East dormitory, uniquely located beneath the stands, was also added at that time. The horseshoe was completed at the south end of the stadium in 1950, complete with dormitories, and the facility boasted a total of 22,671 seats.

Just over 15 years passed before a 1965 expansion on the west side added a continuous tier of 35 rows and close to 10,000 seats, including an 80-foot, three level pressbox. Bleachers were also installed in the end zones as Arizona battled in the Western Athletic Conference.

In 1976, a two-tier addition to the east stands added 17,000 seats for viewing, while winning design awards from the American Institute of Architects. A record crowd of 58,515 witnessed the November 27, 1982 game pitting the Arizona Wildcats against Arizona State. The Wildcats won, knocking the Sun Devils out of a possible Rose Bowl appearance.

Current Features and Seating

A computerized scoreboard message center was added in 1982 along with two smaller scoreboards in the southeast and southwest corners of the stadium. Permanent end-zone seating for 4,500 was added in 1988 and today, with all additions and some reductions considered, seating capacity of Arizona Stadium stands at 57,803.

Arizona Stadium has been the site of the Bowl since its inaugural year in 1989. The Bowl is proud to call Arizona Stadium home.


By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

November 11, 2006 - Old meets new here at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, the long time home of the Arizona Wildcats. For a stadium built way back in 1928 with 7000 seats of bleachers on one side, the building has grown into a 56,000 seat stadium with modern amenities and enough nooks, crannies, and architectural elements to give the venue an old style charm.

One look at the stadium and you can tell it is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The University of Arizona consists of sleek and modern buildings, many abutting Speedway Boulevard which bisects the north side of the campus. Not much of an old style charm, more like the feel of a suburban office park. Immediately next door to the stadium is the McKale Center, the Wildcats’ storied basketball venue.

The façade along the south side horseshoe is indicative of the old style architecture of the building. And as fans walk up the ramps to their level, one can see the ornate arched cornices of the stadium’s original exterior wall, a complete throwback to the past.

The stadium is single deck seating on all sides except for the east side, where a club deck and upper deck seating was added. The breathtaking views of the Santa Catalina mountains beyond the north end zone scoreboard is something to behold.

In an interesting twist, the student section here straddles the sideline on the home side of the field. The presence of the students in this area, and in close proximity to the playing surface, provides a distinct home field advantage.

And check out a cool tradition which happens after each PAT or field goal in the south end zone. The balls invariably end up in the stands, and the fans toss the bull upward and upward, until it is pitched over the wall and outside onto the street.

Much of the pregame activity is centered around East University Boulevard in the center of campus, where blocks and blocks on tailgate canopies, refreshment stands and booths sponsored by various campus clubs can be found.

The Wildcats have not had the same type of success on the field as their arch rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils. Their bowl appearances, many in second tier bowls, are listed along the east balcony, starting with 1949’s “Salad Bowl”. Yep, you read that right!

Our game day experience here was a memorable one – the #8 ranked California Bears came to town, and things looked bleak for the home town team, having lost to the Bears in the previous two games by a combined 66-0 score. But the Wildcats hung in, and got a timely 4th quarter interception for a touchdown to give them a 24-20 lead and the eventual win. The students stormed the field – it was an electrifying moment!

October 9, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - The University of Arizona Wildcats took their largest step yet toward remodeling Arizona Stadium when the Arizona Board of Regents approved a plan detailing construction during fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

The athletic department listed changes it would like to make to its facilities in the two-year capital plan forecast, including installing football offices in the north end zone to connect the east and west sides of the stadium.

The school also suggested improving accessibility, fan amenities and restrooms at McKale Center.

Approval by the board by no means ensures the projects will be completed. The athletic department must raise private money to pay for the projects. UA athletic director Jim Livengood said it's too early to predict how much the projects would cost.

"The idea is trying to get a feel, and it takes a while, and you start to look at what the costs are," Livengood said. "This is an expensive time to build, and not exactly a primo time in our economy.

"Then it's trying to get a plan implemented fairly quickly to take advantage of what might be going on."

Livengood admitted the success of the football team, after 10 years without a bowl appearance, could change the dynamics of project donations.

The athletic department's master construction plan is still being designed by Sasaki Associates, Inc., an architecture firm with offices in Boston and San Francisco. A first draft of the master plan is due back in late November or early December. (Arizona Daily Star)

Proposed Stadium Expansion a Bold Vision for UA
January 6, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

A man standing at midfield of Arizona Stadium, home of the Arizona Wildcats, in 1976 saw virtually the same stadium then he would see today. Only the press box/luxury suites built in 1989 would seem foreign.

Football recruits visiting the UA this winter are shown an architect's drawing of a dynamically different Arizona Stadium, one that looks like something you'd see at Oregon or another football-blessed school.

The full-color document depicts a five-story football building in the north end of the stadium, with seats connecting the east side to the west side, growing capacity to almost 63,000. Immediately behind the airy, glassy football plant which would become home to the entire UA football operation and also provide luxury suites on game day - is an all-turf field that would supplement the UA's current practice fields.

On the opposite end of the old stadium, perhaps 50 yards in length, would be a digital scoreboard of enormous size, challenging those at Washington and Oregon State in scope and in cool.

It is a vision of the most bold expansion of Arizona's sports facilities since McKale Center was built 36 years ago and Arizona Stadium was expanded from 40,000 to 57,000 seats in 1976.

"This is something that has to be done," UA athletic director Jim Livengood said Monday. "This isn't being planned to add to someone's legacy, or the wish to have something shiny and new. These are the things necessary for us to remain competitive."

There is more:

The upper-tier, yellow nosebleed seats on both sides of McKale would be replaced by luxury suites. The southern exterior of the basketball arena would be altered to accommodate all non-football coaching offices to a central location. The infrastructure of the 81-year-old football stadium from restroom facilities to concession areas will be retrofitted.

It is a 10- to 15-year plan that is likely to be presented to the Arizona Board of Regents in June.

"I've never been a caretaker in my life and given the Board of Regents' approval, I'm not going to start now," said Livengood, whose contract runs through June 2010, when he will be 65. "Unless we get started now it's going to cost a huge amount of money, much more money, later. It's do-able. I plan to see that it gets done."

His target date for completion of the Arizona Stadium renovation: opening night, 2011. He declined to estimate the project's cost, but a good guess would be $125 million or more. This ambitious plan to re-do not only the football stadium but much of McKale Center and other, less expensive items related to the school's 17 varsity sports would be paid for entirely through booster donations.

You stop and ask: Where does it end?

Livengood is in the process of a very public search-and-hire for a basketball coach that is likely to double the money paid Lute Olson. He is rewriting, through 2013, football coach Mike Stoops' contract that Livengood says is likely to reach $1 million annually.

America's economic distress and that facing the state's education system is a significant factor in the UA athletic department. Who knows if donors will be able to contribute at similar levels to the self-supporting department?

"Our great challenge going forward is to keep all of our sports programs and to maintain our current staff size," Livengood said. "To do so, the revenues we generate in football and basketball must remain healthy and grow."

This is a welcome-to-the-new-century evolution in UA athletics.

When Arizona Stadium was expanded from 40,000 to 57,000 seats for the 1976 football season, UA president John Schaefer said it was the "end of the line" for construction of Arizona sports facilities.

"With inflation rising each year, it's now or never," he said. This is Now Or Never II.

In 1976, Arizona spent $6.1million to build what Schaefer said was "the showcase of the Western Athletic Conference," an expansion that was a step ahead of WAC rivals ASU, BYU and Utah.

In the ensuing 32 years, ASU, Utah and BYU all built better football facilities than Arizona.

Arizona Stadium is no longer a showcase at all; it remains at WAC level. To his credit, Livengood is industrious enough to change the face of UA football before he retires.

"We've got to be thinking of Arizona football 10 to 20 years from now," he said. "The time to do that is now." Source: AZ Star

September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - The University of Arizona has announced plans to spend $378 million to upgrade its sports facilities over the next 20 years. The work includes improvements to Arizona Stadium and the McKale Center.

The cost will be paid for solely with private funds and is pending approval from the Arizona Board of Regents in either December or January, athletic director Jim Livengood said. Arizona Stadium construction could begin after the 2010 football season and be completed two to three years later.

The first step will be the $82 million stadium project. The centerpiece will be the construction of a four-story, mostly glass building in the area now now occupied by aluminum bleachers in the north end zone.

The structure would have about 5,000 premium seats, replacing aluminum benches. The proposed building would house football offices, locker rooms and a public concourse. A new video board would be located in the south end zone.

Stadium capacity won't change dramatically, but the department would earn more income from the more expensive seats.

Naming rights to the end-zone building and the stadium itself will be available, Livengood said.

Once football offices are moved to Arizona Stadium, McKale Center renovations could begin. That project will cost an estimated $155 million.

Locker rooms, equipment rooms, showers, offices and lounge areas would be upgraded. The 36-year-old arena would also feature upgraded concessions areas, bathrooms, air conditioning and premium seating. A new gift shop would be located at the south end of Cherry Avenue parking garage.

September 24, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - The Arizona Wildcats paid a consulting company more than a half-million dollars to assist in their master construction plan, with hopes it will be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in December or January.

The University of Arizona athletic department's contract with Sasaki Associates Inc. began in June 2008. Fees and reimbursements to the company totaled $542,095, according to published reports.

On Sept. 1, the UA announced that its master plan would cost $378 million in private donations, covering 12 major projects over the next 20 years or so.

The most immediate project is an $82 million, four-story glass building in the north end of Arizona Stadium. It could be completed in two to three years, pending Board of Regents approval. Sasaki provided the school with data gathering and assessment, program development, market and financial analysis, a master plan design and analysis of current facilities.

Peter Dourlein, the director of the UA's department of design, planning and construction, said Sasaki and its sub-consultants provided the Wildcats with "thousands of hours of work."

If the master plan is approved, the UA's design, planning and construction would being fielding proposed Arizona Stadium designs from companies, local and nationwide. A selection committee would be established, along with criteria for the project.

The master plan won't necessarily be carried out in its entirety. Any construction plan helps to vet ideas and provide a road map for future employees, even if its completion can't be guaranteed.

January 28, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - Regents of the University of Arizona are reviewing an $85.7 million plan to remodel Arizona Stadium. In September, the regents authorized the UA's 2011-2013 Capital Improvement Plan, which included the stadium renovation. The regents' capital committee approved the project earlier this month and is forwarding it to the full board.

If the project is passed, officials said, the Wildcats will be able to formally raise money for the construction of a multistory building in the north end zone to house team offices and 5,000 seats. The project also would replace lighting and the scoreboard, moving a new screen to the south end. Jimenez Practice Facility would be expanded by July.

Private donations will pay for the project. In November, the UA received a $10 million gift from Jeff and Sharon Stevens, and that money has been earmarked for the stadium project.

Ideally, senior associate athletic director John Perrin said, the UA would raise at least half the $85.7 million in time for construction to begin in spring 2011.

The estimated annual debt service would total about $6.3 million. Hiring an architect and approving the final design and cost estimates could take until December, Perrin said.

The scoreboard may be moved before construction begins. Perrin said seats in the north end zone would likely be unavailable during the two to three years of construction.

February 4, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Tempe, Ariz. - An $85.7 million project to expand the north end zone of Arizona Stadium along with other improvements has been approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.

The plan will feature the installation of a multistory building that holds 5,000 seats, a luxury loge area, football offices and the Wildcats' locker room.

A new scoreboard will be moved from the north end zone to the south side of the stadium, and new lighting will be installed. Jimenez Practice Facility also will be expanded.

The project will be paid for entirely with private funds. UA will enter a "quiet period," interim athletic director Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose said, in which it will meet with boosters to raise funds for the project. The Wildcats already have a $10 million donation from Jeff and Sharon Stevens earmarked for the project.

The first step is finding an architectural design firm, a process that should last until April. The firm would ideally provide plans by the end of the football season, senior associate athletic director John Perrin said, with construction beginning in spring 2011.

The proposed cost of the project was made when the Wildcats commissioned Sasaki Associates Inc., to conduct a facilities analysis as part of a master construction plan last summer.

"We have a very good indication of how much it's going to cost," LaRose said, "but we need to have exact dollars."

The project will be the largest overhaul of Arizona Stadium since 1989, when luxury suites, loge and press seating was added for $6.3 million.

The videoboard was installed in 1999.

The multistory north end zone structure, under Sasaki's plan, would feature 60,471 square feet of office space, training facilities and football locker rooms. Moving the team from McKale Center would create more room for the other UA programs, all of which are based in the arena.

The proposed structure would also feature 200 premium seats with club amenities and 5,000 seats overall.

November 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

University of Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced that, starting next year, fans can only use the seatback chairs sold by the university on the concrete slabs at Arizona stadium, according to the Arizona Daily Star. "A number of models include features that impose on neighboring seats or are of a size that use up as much as 30 percent more than the allocated space per ticket in the stadium," Byrne wrote in his weekly column. "Or, they recline past suitable levels for patrons immediately behind. "When the stadium is full - as we expect - these un-uniform seats can be a problem. Until we remodel the stadium and are able to install permanent seatbacks in our stadium, we are offering the Arizona Seatback program where they're bolted into place and fit within the dimensions of the seats."

April 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - Arizona Stadium's north end zone construction could begin as soon as January, athletic director Greg Byrne told the Arizona Daily Star after the school announced three donations to the project.

The Arizona Wildcats plan to present a financial model to the Arizona Board of Regents capital committee in May and then meet with the full board in June.

The University of Arizona athletic department plans to show the board how it can pay down debt service over the course of 20 to 30 years, likely with revenue from multimedia rights and other sources, the newspaper said.

Byrne announced an $11 million gift from an anonymous source he described as "longtime supporters of the athletic department and the university."

Local auto dealer Jim Click donated $2.5 million, the school also announced.

Jeff and Sharon Stevens, who in November 2009 gave $10 million toward the proposed multi-story structure, added an additional $2 million.

The university has received another $1.5 million, bringing the donation total to $27 million for the $72.3 million upgrade, the Daily Star reported.

The structure beyond the north end zone will house a club area, football offices, weight room, medical treatment center, lockers and cafeteria in about 80,000 interior square feet. The building, designed by Heery International, features glass and copper accents.

Pending regents approval, construction would take 15 to 18 months, Byrne said, and could affect end-zone seating during the 2012 football season. The project will add about 800 seats.

The school will present a naming-rights proposal for the structure - not stadium - to an on-campus committee. Ideally, Byrne said, the football team could move in during summer 2013.

December 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Tucson, Ariz. - The board that oversees the state's public universities gave a final approval to start construction next month on a $72-million upgrade to Arizona Stadium at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Aged aluminum bleachers will be replaced with premium seating in the north end zone, one of many improvements to the 83-year-old structure that lacks modern restrooms and amenities.

Construction is expected to be complete by the start of football season in 2013. The UA has already raised $30 million in donations toward the project. Fundraising will continue during construction and any shortfall will be paid for with revenue from televised coverage of games, the newspaper said.

Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Stadium
Arizona Stadium

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