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Phoenix Stadium

Aerial View
Copyright 2007 by Aerial Views Publishing

  Venue Particulars  
Address One Cardinals Drive,
Glendale, AZ 85305
Phone (480) 505-0533
Official Website
Satellite View
Cardinals Gear
  Venue Resources  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Glendale

  The Facility  
Date Opened 2006
Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority
(Global Spectrum)
Surface Tifway 419 Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Cost of Construction $455 million
Naming Rights The University of Phoenix paid $154 million for 20 years.
Former Names Cardinals Stadium (2006)
University of Phoenix Stadium (2006-Present)
Stadium Financing Public/Private
The Cardinals contributed $147 million, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority contributed more than $298 million, and Glendale, Ariz. contributed $9.5 million.
Stadium Architect Architect Peter Eisenman, in conjunction with HOK Sport, Hunt Construction Group and Urban Earth Design
  Other Facts  
Tenants Arizona Cardinals
(NFL) (2006-Present)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Population Base 3,300,000
On Site Parking 26,000
Nearest Airport Sky Harbor International (PHX)
Retired Numbers #8 Larry Wilson
#77 Stan Mauldin
#88 J.V. Cain
#99 Marshall Goldberg

Capacity 63,400
Average Ticket $44.98
Fan Cost Index (FCI) $289.92
The Team Marketing Report FCI includes: four average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two game programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.
Luxury Suites 88 Suites
Club Seats 7,400
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1993 362,466 62% 17%
1994 497,330 85% 37.2%
1995 380,314 65% -23.5%
1996 380,508 65% 0.1%
1997 379,547 65% -0.3%
1998 430,552 73% 13.4%
1999 465,340 79% 8.08%
2000 387,475 66.1% -16.7%

2001 2002 2003 2004
307,315 327,272 288,499 300,267

2005 2006 2007 2008
297,568 508,829 516,646 512,775

2009 2010 2011 2012
505,143 502,197 489,455 487,125

2013 2014 2015 2016
488,271 495,835 513,487 518,652

1993-2005 - Attendance for games played at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ

Sources: Mediaventures

New Exterior Look for Stadium Unveiled

The Arizona Cardinals and the Tourism and Sports Authority (TSA) have unveiled a new exterior look for the multipurpose stadium. The distinctive design was created by international architect Peter Eisenman specifically for the Glendale location.

“The previous exterior of the stadium has been totally redesigned to better reflect the Glendale site,” said Michael J. Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals vice president and general counsel. “Now that the stadium has a permanent home we wanted to give it a fresh start with a fresh look.”

The basic form of Eisenman’s design takes its cue from a barrel cactus. The result is an outer skin featuring dramatic vertical slots that alternate with large, smooth panels. In addition, the design uses a fabric roof allowing light to penetrate, maintaining an airy feel inside.

While presenting the visual elements of the stadium, Eisenman stated, “I believe this stadium could become one of the most recognizable in the country.”

The basic structural elements of the stadium remain unchanged. The stadium will have a fixed seating capacity of over 63,000 and is designed to accommodate a temporary seating increase to 73,000 for mega-events like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and NFL Super Bowls. The stadium’s retractable roof and rollout field combination is a first in North America.

“The redesigned exterior does not add any cost to the project and, in fact, has the potential to save money,” said Ted Ferris, TSA president/CEO. “Furthermore, the new exterior has no negative impact on the construction schedule.”

Ferris indicated the new exterior is a less complex design than the previous one and requires less steel. An updated project scope, budget and timetable will be completed next month for presentation to the TSA Board of Directors.

"Glendale is thrilled with the new design of the stadium,” said Ed Beasley, city manager. “It is our belief that the project will gain world-wide recognition and will provide our neighborhoods and surrounding communities what they were hoping for in a stadium design -- one that complements the area and is pleasing to look at."

“The Cardinals deeply appreciate the energy and vision of our friend Peter Eisenman and the hospitality and partnership with the great city of Glendale,” said Bidwill. “We look forward to next week’s groundbreaking, the construction process and moving into the permanent home of the Arizona Cardinals.”

The new $355.3 multipurpose stadium will host multiple events -- Cardinals football, Tostitos Fiesta Bowls, and future Super Bowls – and other events such as the NCAA Basketball Tournament “Final Fours” that Arizona currently cannot host. It is chiefly financed through a combination of a hotel bed tax, a surcharge on rental cars and contributions from the Cardinals.

New Multipurpose Stadium Fact Sheet

• The site is in Glendale, Ariz., between the Loop 101 and 91st Ave., Maryland Ave. and Bethany Home Road.

• The site’s Northwest Valley location is in the fastest growing area of the greater Phoenix area. The Loop 101 Freeway provides superior access to the site and all of the area's amenities.

• The site is located directly south of and adjacent to the new Coyotes Arena project which features a large master-planned, mixed-use retail, entertainment, and commercial development.

• The site is 165 acres, and is currently being purchased by the Arizona Cardinals from the Roveys and the Pendergasts, longtime West Valley farming families. The Cardinals will deed the land under the facility (approx. 25 acres) to the Tourism and Sports Authority. The rest of the land for parking will be deeded to the City of Glendale.

• Onsite parking will accommodate 16,000 cars. Offsite parking for an additional 6,000 cars is available at the Coyotes Arena and another 6,000 is available within one mile of the site.

• City of Glendale bus service will be available to the site.

• The stadium is aligned along a slight northwest to southeast axis to offer the maximum sun exposure for the grass field and maximum shade for stadium patrons.

Click Here to Get Your Personalized Scoreboard
• Infrastructure for the site beyond the drip line for the stadium is being provided by Glendale’s Community Facility District.

• The stadium is owned and will be operated by the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority.

• It is a state-of-the art facility featuring a roll-out natural grass field and retractable roof.

• The stadium will offer an air-conditioned space for 63,000 permanent seats, expandable to 73,000 for mega events like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and NFL Super Bowls.

• For fan comfort, all seats will have backs, arm rests, and cup holders.

• For easier circulation and customer convenience, there will be wide concourses, and a sharp increase in the number of restroom toilets and concessions points-of-sale.

• The current design includes 88 individual suites on two levels. There is also some suite expansion capability.

• The exterior design of the stadium, provided by renowned architect Peter Eisenman, along with HOK Sport, will be very unique and will be a signature facility for Arizona. The basic form of the design takes its cue from a barrel cactus and offers alternating vertical slots with smooth panels. In addition, the translucent "Bird-Air" fabric roof will allow the stadium to have an open, airy feel even then the roof is closed.

• The roof has two large retractable panels that will uncover the entire playing field while providing maximum shading for fans. The roof can be closed and the facility air conditioned in the hot months, while the roof can be opened to take advantage of the Valley’s world-famous climate in cooler months.

The Field
• The natural grass playing surface is contained in a retractable, 12-million pound tray that will be 234 feet wide by 400 feet long, the first of its kind in North America.

• Natural grass is the preferred surface for professional football and is required for World Cup Soccer.

• Rollout natural grass playing fields are successfully used in European and Asian stadiums.

• Having the rollout field saves $50 million in costs since it is more economical to move the field than having the entire roof retract to allow the necessary sunshine to reach the grass (like Bank One Ballpark).

• The field will support approximately 94,000 square feet (over 2 acres) of natural grass.

• The tray will rest atop tracks and will roll out on steel wheel sets powered by small electric motors.

• The tray will take approximately 45 minutes to move.

• The grass field remains outside the stadium in the sun until game day getting the maximum amount of sunshine and nourishment, eliminating humidity problems inside the stadium and providing unrestricted access to the stadium floor for events and staging.

• The 152,000 square-foot concrete stadium floor  will have a utility grid embedded in the floor and can host various events like trade and consumer shows, conventions, concerts, motor sports, and rodeos.


Economic Impact
• During the construction phase of the stadium and site infrastructure there will be more than 3,500 jobs and more than $400 million in economic benefits to Arizona’s economy.

• At the start of construction, the state will start receiving revenues from construction workers’ income taxes, as well as sales taxes collected on the increased consumption and spending from the workers and their families. The TSA estimates that the Arizona State general fund will net $20 million over the 3-year course of construction.

• When the NFL played Super Bowl XXX at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996, about $305 million was injected into the economy. It is projected that the impact will grow to more than $400 million when the next Super Bowl is played here, possibly as early as 2008.

• For Super Bowl XXX, 89,000 out-of-state visitors traveled to the Phoenix metro area for the event. Considering that Sun Devil Stadium’s capacity is 73,000, there is an attraction to the Super Bowl as an event that supercedes the actual game itself. These out-of-state visitors directly contributed $109 million in spending during the event.

• Super Bowl XXX in Tempe had a television audience of more than 900 million people around the world.

• The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl contributes $140 million annually to the local economy. About 70,000 out-of-town visitors come to the Valley for the event.

• The Arizona Cardinals contribute $150 million to the economy annually. The Cardinals estimate that 112,000 out-of-town visitors attend home games each year.

• The stadium will allow Glendale to be the only city in the Western U.S. capable of hosting the NCAA Final Four Basketball Championships, a week long extravaganza which requires a football stadium with a closed roof and seating of at least 40,000. The economic impact of a NCAA Final Four event is about $50 million to the host community. It takes place the first week of April and would provide and exciting and powerful finish to Arizona’s tourism season.

State-of-the-art Design
Climate controlled stadium with seating capacity of nearly 64,000 permanent seats, with expansion to 73,000 for extravaganza events like the Fiesta Bowl (annually) and the NFL SuperBowl (every 5th or 6th year).

Retractable Roof and Moveable Wall
Two 800' long trusses will support the stadium roof, which will have a retractable portion at the end where the roll-out field enters and exits the facility.  A moveable wall at the same end of the facility will drop at the same time that the roof retracts, thereby creating a three-dimensional opening, much like an observatory.

Roll Out Field
The stadium's natural grass field will roll out of the facility where it will reside most the year and get its nourishment and maintenance and grooming.

  • This field tray will be 234 feet wide by 400 feet long, and will weigh some 12 million pounds.
  • Inside, embedded in the concrete stadium floor will be a utility grid that will allow the multipurpose facility to easily accommodate a variety of trades shows and conventions, consumer shows, motor sporting events, and concerts.

Seating Options
A variety of seating options will include:

  • 88 luxury suites (seating roughly 1,500 patrons)
  • Club seating for 7,000 with access to private club lounge areas
  • Lower bowl seating to accommodate some 29,000 patrons
  • Upper deck seating for approximately 26,000 patrons
  • All seats will be individual chairs with arm rests and cup holders

Improved Amenities - for the comfort of patrons:

  • All spaces will be air conditioned
  • Sharp increases in the number of concession points and the number of toilets per person
  • Large concourses and escalators will efficiently move patrons through the facility

The roof and skin of the facility will reflect the high design of renown architect Peter Eisenman.  A mix of surfaces including steel decking, glass, stucco, and "Bird-Air" fabric (like the Denver Airport) will be combined to create sweeping lines and a sense of texture in the design.

  • Stadium will occupy approximately 25 acres.
  • Excavation will take field down to 26 feet below the present grade. When completed, the field will lie 39 feet below the main concourse level because 13 feet of berming will be added around the stadium.
  • During the construction phase of the stadium and site infrastructure there will be more than 3,500 jobs and more than $400 million in economic benefits to Arizona's economy.
  • The 152,000 square-foot concrete stadium floor will have a utility grid embedded in the floor and can host various events like trade and consumer shows, conventions, concerts, motor sports and rodeos.
  • The grass field remains outside the stadium in the sun until game day getting the maximum amount of sunshine and nourishment, eliminating humidity problems inside the stadium and providing unrestricted access to the stadium floor for events and staging.
  • The tray will take approximately 45 minutes to move.
  • The tray will rest atop tracks and will roll out on steel wheel sets powered by small electric motors.
  • The field will support approximately 94,000 square feet (over 2 acres) of natural grass.
  • Having the rollout field saves $50 million in costs since it is more economical to move the field than having the entire roof retract to allow the necessary sunshine to reach the grass.
  • The natural grass playing surface is contained in a retractable, 12-million pound tray that will be 234 feet wide by 400 feet long, the first of its kind in North America.

University of Phoenix Stadium won't be ready till 2006
Number of factors listed for holdups

Pat Flannery
The Arizona Republic
February 12, 2003 12:00

GLENDALE - It's official: Glendale's $355.3 million football stadium will be finished in summer 2006 instead of fall 2005, keeping the Arizona Cardinals in Sun Devil Stadium for an extra season.

The state Tourism and Sports Authority clarified the issue Tuesday as it modified a series of agreements with the Cardinals, Hunt Construction Group and several design firms. The group also adopted a rough building schedule for the stadium.

As recently as December, the authority hoped to open the stadium in time for the fall 2005 NFL season.

Though a final construction timeline won't be ready until design details are nailed down later this year, officials expect three months of excavations at Loop 101 and Maryland Avenue to begin in June. Hard construction will start after Labor Day, authority Vice President Kenny Harris said.

Authority board Chairman Jim Grogan attributed the late start to litigation delays. A suit against the authority by developer John F. Long ended in December when the Arizona Supreme Court decided the case in the authority's favor.

"We are now in a position to get moving again."

Long property Manager Jim Miller dismissed assertions that Long's suit was to blame, noting that the authority was unable to break ground by the end of 2002 despite promises to do so if Long's suit was over by then. Miller suggested the authority's ability to sell construction bonds also was clouded for most of 2002 by the Arizona Legislature's threat to pull the plug on the project and controversy with site selection.

"How long are they going to blame the lawsuit?" Miller said. "Let's move on with life . . . (and) let's quit blaming John for a little three-month deal."

University of Phoenix Stadium puts on a new face

A new design for the Arizona University of Phoenix Stadium blends metal and a translucent roof for more light and color.

Pat Flannery
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 14, 2003 12:00 AM

A new and highly stylized design for the Arizona Cardinals football stadium will soon be under construction in Glendale, and it's sure to set tongues wagging.

Fresh from proposing new ideas for New York's World Trade Center site, noted New York City architect Peter Eisenman on Thursday unveiled a contemporary look for the Cardinals' future home that he believes will make it "a signature stadium - something that will bring folks to visit."

The outside redesign is the latest revision in a project that has seen more stops and starts than a Cardinals running back. Eisenman, an avowed football fan, joked about the frustrations of designing a building whose political baggage kept it on the move.

"It's very exciting to finally get our stadium off wheels," Eisenman said. "We've been rolling around Maricopa County for five years now."

Michael Bidwill, Cardinals vice president, said the team sought to redraw the stadium's exterior because "we thought a fresh new look would be a terrific thing for Glendale and for the West Valley."

He dismissed suggestions that it was intended to save money, saying the changes are "cost neutral" but would simplify construction.

"The inside of the stadium is still the same . . . but it's going to look a lot different," he said.

Some at the Thursday unveiling thought the new design looked like a barrel cactus; others said it resembled a sunburst.

Eisenman's vision is a shiny metallic-silver beacon whose color and reflected light are supposed to shift to mimic the countless hues of Arizona's desert skies.

He tossed out the normally horizontal "banded" design lines of sports stadiums, designing alternating metal panels and vertical glass corridors for the stadium's exterior, "slicing it like a grapefruit" and topping it with a gauzy, see-through cloth roof he says will "take the curse off being inside."

"It's a whole new feeling in the interior," Eisenman said. "It gives a feeling of being both indoors and outdoors."

University of Phoenix Stadium
The use of Birdair, a translucent canvaslike fabric that is waterproof, reduces the weight and complexity of the roof. The previous design had a roof of three heavy-metal panels that retracted to one end, opening the central part of the roof and one end of the stadium. The new design has two steel-and-cloth panels, each opening toward opposite ends.

Bidwill said $3.5 million worth of Luxembourg steel ordered 18 months ago will still be put to use in the new design. The height, according to Eisenman, will be about 18 feet lower.

The rollout field remains a dominant feature, rolling into an outdoor bowl where it will remain when football is not being played. It will give the natural turf air, sun and water.

"The previous depiction of the stadium everyone had identified with Tempe," Glendale City Manager Ed Beasley said.

He described the new look as "neighborhood friendly . . . more pleasing to the eye," a plus for those living around it.

Glendale and the state Tourism and Sports Authority plan a splashy ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, but real work won't start until at least June, when machines start digging a huge hole in which the stadium will be built. Until then, workers will be installing sewer lines and other infrastructure, some of it in conjunction with the Phoenix Coyotes arena opening next door in December.

A precise construction schedule will be penned out in a few months when detailed design drawings are in hand. Hunt Construction, the builder, is expected to lock in on its guaranteed maximum price to build the facility in September.

Saving money is paramount for the Cardinals because every extra cent of construction cost comes out of the team's pocket. Delays in choosing a stadium site already have driven construction costs to $355 million from $331 million, putting the team on the hook for the extra $24 million. The Cardinals' original investment was $85 million. The balance is paid by tax-financed bonds sold last month.

March 23, 2006
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Anheuser-Busch has signed on to sponsor the entire south end zone of the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium that opens this year. The space will be known as the Budweiser Red Zone. Terms of the deal were not announced.

The space provides additional room for fans to mingle and is designed to host live entertainment events.

On the field, directly below the platform, will be about 100 seats that fans who are at least 21 years old can win through various Budweiser promotions. The area is directly behind the south end goal post and will be the site for several pre-game activities.

The agreement means that Budweiser and Bud Light will be the exclusive alcohol sponsors of the Cardinals at the stadium through 2010.

By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

University of Phoenix Stadium Ranking by USRT
Architecture 10
Concessions 8
Scoreboard 6.5
Ushers 9
Fan Support 4
Location 6
Banners/History 8
Entertainment 2
Concourses/Fan Comfort 4.5
Bonus: Tailgate Scene 3
Bonus: USRT Red Carpet Treatment 4
Bonus: Retractable Field 2
Bonus: Tillman Plaza 1
Total Score 68
November 12, 2006 - The Arizona Cardinals hold bragging rights as the oldest franchise in the National Football League, tracing its roots all the way back to 1898. But incredibly, the team has never had a sports venue to call its very own. Until now.

Since moving to Arizona back in 1988, the team has shared Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe with the Arizona State University football program. But all that changed in 2006, as the Cardinals have opened their spanking new stadium in suburban Glendale. University of Phoenix Stadium is now the exclusive home of the Arizona Cardinals, and what a showplace it is.

Getting to the Venue
Simply put, this is a stadium reachable by car or other means of transportation only. It is located in Glendale along Loop 101, a freeway which circles the entire metro area. For now, the stadium is surrounded by mostly vacant tracts of land, and clearly marked roadways direct you to the stadium and the proper lot. Here’s the first heads up – almost all parking lots here require a pre-purchased parking pass, which is color and letter coded and signage will direct you to your lot. Cash parking is in the dreaded “Lot H”, far far away north of the stadium and a shuttle ride necessary.. Advice to the single ticket buyer – check out eBay or Craigslist and buy a parking pass in advance.

Outside the Venue
This area of Glendale is developing rapidly, as is most of the Greater Phoenix area, but for now much of the surrounding area is empty acreage, with subdivisions and other construction going on off in the distance. Arena, home of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes is next door to the north, and the finishing touches are being put on a mixed use residential, retail and entertainment center called “Westgate”. When open for business, a plethora of restaurants and bars will be open to cater to visiting fans in a splendid and attractive setting.

The other bit of news is that the Arizona Cardinals fans are developing quite the tailgate scene outside the stadium. “Sportsman’s Park” on the west side of the stadium seems to be the center of a lot of the action, and here is where you will find “The Great Lawn”, complete with a stage offering pre game entertainment. Fans can set up their canopies and decorations, and the team awards a prize for the best tailgate based on originality of décor, culinary presentation and fan spirit.

As word of this new venue continues to grow and spread, Arizona Cardinals fans should rightfully take their place among the NFL’s best tailgaters. For now they are definitely underrated.

Architecture and Seating Bowl
University of Phoenix Stadium has earned worldwide acclaim for its forward looking architecture, and rightfully so. The silver steel colored edifice looks like a flower blooming in the desert from afar. It is unlike any other of its peer venues in the NFL. The roof supports two huge panels which can retract in about 12 minutes. In another unique feature, the entire playing surface can slide to the outside like a huge drawer. Not only can the team tend to the playing surface on non game days and keep it in superb shape, but this also allows the facility to be used for a myriad of other non football events.

The seating capacity for football is just over 64,000 seats, and sandwiched in between the main and terrace level are two levels of premium seating which run from corner to corner on each side. The open end zones each have a wide public gathering and viewing area from the main concourse, and the south end zone has a “Budweiser Red Zone” area on the ground level for a pre game buffet open to all fans with a separate ticket.

Hovering over the north end zone is a great pictorial mural of the Cardinals through their history and reminding all that this is the NFL’s eldest franchise.

The most stunning feature of the seating bowl is the roof, with its breathtaking design and superb engineering. A massive mural adorns the north end zone with the team logo and black and white photos of the team’s great moments.

The concourses here are somewhat drab and lifeless – occasional splashes of red with plenty of grey concrete. They should take a lesson from Westgate next door – add more color and pizazz to the décor here. There are escalator towers on three sides of the building to go from lower to upper level. Elevators and an additional two private escalators are reserved for premium ticket holders.

Despite being a brand new stadium, lower level corridors here get congested fast, with choke points at the corners as well. The open end zones are plenty roomy however. There is a view of the playing surface and seating bowl from both the main and terrace concourses.

The major video board hangs in the south Red Zone, with a secondary video board at the opposite end. LED ribbon boards straddle the balcony along the sidelines. The electronics here are adequate, but unspectacular.

Here’s no surprise – very good and varied food items offered here, albeit on the pricey side. The concession stands all have their own theme – Gridiron Grill offering the standard fare (the AZ Grande hot dog topped with cheese and chili at $6.75 is tops! Make sure you grab a fork). PizzAZ offers personal pan pizzas southwest style; Mr. B’s BBQ brisket and pulled pork; Grande Roja and Touchdown Tortilla offering the local southwest favorites. Portable kiosks offer specialty items such as wings, carved bombers and tortillas.

The main team store is on the main concourse on the east side of the stadium, with plenty of merchandise kiosks scattered throughout the rest of the building.

In addition, there are Guest Services stands everywhere. The team has plenty of personnel on hand to assist fans, and they actively solicit fan input – good and bad from their patrons.

Banners, Retired Numbers
As part of the opening of this stadium, the Cardinals unveiled their “Ring of Honor”, straddling the entire balcony, showcasing the franchise’s icons throughout their history not only in Arizona, but to their days in St. Louis and Chicago as well. On this day, former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman, who gave up his lucrative football career to join the Army Rangers and perished in Afghanistan, was added to the Ring, which also includes former owner Charles Bidwill, Coach Jimmy Conzelman, and players Dan Dierdorf, Paddy Driscoll, Marshall Goldberg, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Ollie Matson, Ernie Nevers, Charley Trippi and Larry Wilson.

Very cool historical tributes, obelisk style, can be found along the concourses in each corner of the stadium – a decade by decade timeline of the team’s history; a showcase of area high school championship teams; a display of the construction of the stadium, a list of players to have advanced to the NFL from Arizona colleges and universities, and team firsts – including such ditties as being the first team to play an exhibition and a regular season game in foreign soil. All very nicely presented.

As part of the timeline, the team’s two, yes two, NFL championships are showcased here from the years 1925 as well as 1947, and the old timers on the south side of Chicago are still talking about it!

Premium Seating
Along the sidelines on the second level are 7500 club seats with access to private entrances and carpeted concourse. This area also offers premium concession services including private bar, an Asian stand called Azianwok/Loft Grill and a Club Buffet. The team has installed 88 suites which they call “lofts”, again offering a unique design in urban architecture and décor for their most exclusive patrons.

Touchdowns, extra points, fumbles…

Touchdown… to the Cardinals for their stirring and emotional tribute, as part of the unveiling of Pat Tillman’s name and number on the Ring of Honor. Few fans left their seats at halftime in order to watch the video and ceremony, and there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the place, except for…

Fumble… The game day crew totally messed up the six minute video tribute. The audio was, well, inaudible, and the superimposed music and screeching bagpipes overwhelmed the dialogue. It really wrecked the moment. But let’s not be too hard on them. Later on when they did the shuffling pizza box contest, there were no glitches – the video crew nailed it! (And for anyone who gives a damn, the pizza was under box 2.)

Touchdown… to the super friendly in game staff. No sphincter police moments on this day. The security check was seamless, ushers eager to help, and on the way out we were thanked for our patronage. We’ve had some ugly experiences here in Phoenix with their other teams and were bracing for the worst with the Cardinals. To our pleasant surprise, it was the complete opposite.

Extra Point… Near the main entrance on the northwest side is “Pat Tillman Plaza”, centered by a very poignant statue and garden.

Fumble… The smoking areas aren’t located outside, but rather in the large north vestibule which isn’t ventilated all that well unless there is a good breeze going outside. Second hand smoke takes on an entirely new meaning here. Worst of all, this area shares space with the main escalator tower to the terrace level. By the time you reach the top of the building, you will need to set up an appointment with an oncologist.

Extra Point… Peter being the trivia geek that he is took exception to the notion that the Cardinals played in the first pro football night game back in 1929. And with good reason, the first pro football night game took place right down the road from his hometown in 1902 in Elmira, NY. Eh, we’ll give ‘em credit for the first NFL night game.

Fumble….to that USRT Karma, apparently we used up all of it a day prior in Tucson during Arizona’s stunning upset of Cal. On this day the Cowboys came to the desert and walked away with a 27-10 pasting of the Cards. At 1-8, it’s looking like another long season for these guys.

Touchdown… and a big high five to MARK DALTON, Senior Director of Media Relations for the Arizona Cardinals. Mark gave us a tour of the Cardinals practice facility in Tempe earlier in the week, and set us up with awesome game tickets, parking and even pre game field passes. Mark is inducted into the Ultimate Sports Road Trip Hall of Fame with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

University of Phoenix Stadium has earned accolades from all over the place as the next generation of stadium design. The publication Business Week has listed this venue as one of the 10 best stadiums in the world. And indeed, the architecture is simply dazzling and will take your breath away, both inside and outside. Secondly, a totally functioning and practical retractable field is surely going to become a duplicated element in venues yet to come, and this stadium can claim bragging rights as being the first to do it.

What this venue lacks, however, is trailblazing amenities in terms of concourse design, cutting edge electronics, and other bells and whistles that have come online in recent years in its peer venues.

For now, the fans here seem to be happy with their new digs. They have sold out the entire season, and there is a waiting list for new season tickets. This contrasts with the days at Sun Devil, when most games displayed huge and yawning gaps of empty seats.

Talk to the people who follow this team though, and it is not dazzling design, loft suites, and showcase concourses that attract them here. They are desperate for a winner, and while the team has assembled a top notch roster of marquee players and a proven head coach, success on the field has eluded them again this season. To at long last get a winning program on the field, here in the desert, they will have to buck the tide of their futile history.

Texas Longhorns get first look at state-of-the-art University of Phoenix Stadium
December 31, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures

The field moves.

Not the roof, but the field. Well, the roof moves, too.

Don't be surprised if the grass at University of Phoenix Stadium looks immaculate when the Texas Longhorns take on Ohio State Monday in the Fiesta Bowl. People look healthier after a day in the sun, and the grass does too.

The field in the domed home to the Arizona Cardinals spends most of its time outside in the Arizona sun.

"Actually, I would say the grass spends about 95 percent of the time outside," said Scott Norton, director of marketing for Global Spectrum, which operates the University of Phoenix Stadium. "Most of our events aren't football. The grass is only inside 12, maybe 15 times a year. It's brought in the day before a game. Other than that, it's mostly outside.

"But it's maintained really well. We were voted as having the best NFL field last year." Why wouldn't it be?

The field is the first fully retractable natural grass playing field in the country. The Bermuda hybrid turf sits on a tray that's 234 feet wide and 403 feet long, and weighs in at 18.9 million pounds. It can move from inside to outside in about 75 minutes.

"Yup, it provides us with close additional parking when it's in," Norton said. "That's where the players and officials park. It's good because we have about 14,000 parking spaces."

But things get better for fans on the inside. After all, the University of Phoenix Stadium, named after the country's largest online university, boasts that it is the NFL's most technologically advanced stadium, featuring two high-resolution scoreboards and 650 high-definition televisions. Never mind that the University of Phoenix doesn't actually field any athletic teams. Instead, it bought naming rights to the stadium for $154 million over 20 years for marketing purposes.

It's already received plenty of exposure, hosting a Super Bowl and a Bowl Championship Series national championship in its three years of operation. Saturday, the stadium will host its first NFL playoff game, when the Arizona Cardinals face the Atlanta Falcons.

The 63,400-seat stadium cost $455 million to build Ñ a public-private project that included money from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, the Cardinals and the City of Glendale.

Glendale, about 30 minutes from downtown Phoenix, is one of about a dozen cities that make up the metro area. Now a city of 200,000, Glendale was able to land the Cardinals' new stadium after the Federal Aviation Administration raised objections to putting it in Tempe, home of Arizona State and the Cardinals' former home at Sun Devil Stadium.

The stadium is part of a multipurpose entertainment complex, with the 18,000-seat home of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team next door.

And on Monday the biggest stadium complex in Arizona will host the two biggest college athletic programs in the country.

"And we couldn't be happier about that," Norton said. "We're ready for it. We hope all the Texas fans enjoy the stadium." Source: Statesman

March 19, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Phoenix, Ariz. - The public agency that operates University of Phoenix Stadium is meeting primary obligations - such as paying down the debt on the NFL stadium - but it's coming up short on basic operating revenue for the Glendale dome, according to a state audit.

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority's deficits could eat through $8.7 million in reserve funds by fall, the Auditor General's Office report said. Those annual deficits range from $3.6 million to $7.4 million and are projected through 2014.

Meanwhile, the sports authority has not set aside reserve funds for maintenance on the dome. Dale Chapman, a performance audit manager with the state Auditor General's Office, said that "for the most part" the sports authority is doing what the law requires.

"Because of financial constraints, reserves aren't where they need to be," he said. The deficits aren't surprising considering the public agency gets about 75 percent of its funding from a Maricopa County tax on tourism, which has felt the recessionary bite.

Still, the sports authority is cutting $1.1 million from operating expenses this year and searching for ways to increase revenue "to ensure that the operations at the University of Phoenix Stadium continue unabated even during these difficult economic times," said Jerry Walker, board chairman of the sports authority.

The audit suggested the authority's decisions have led to some of its woes. The report cited the authority's agreement to give the Arizona Cardinals the profits of a naming-rights deal worth $154.5 million over 20 years.

The audit also questioned the sports authority's decision to pay game-day expenses for the Cardinals and some of the expenses for the Fiesta Bowl. The sports authority said it is the industry's practice and that game-day sales-tax collections recoup the expense.

The audit said the sports authority could seek to renegotiate the agreements and suggested they could look to increase dedicated tax revenues.

Tom Sadler, the sports authority's president and CEO, said neither of those suggested revenue generators is being pursued.

The sports authority has talked with its college and professional football tenants, but Sadler declined to disclose specific options that might be negotiated.

The audit recommended the sports authority more carefully monitor Global Spectrum, the contracted company that schedules and hosts events at the stadium. The audit cited Global Spectrum expenses, such as a $700 bill for a two-night hotel stay and $100 to $200 dinner expenses. Global Spectrum officials said dinner expenses were for multiple people.

Global Spectrum General Manager Peter Sullivan said, in an effort to shave costs, employee travel has "ground to a halt" and that the number of employees is down 15 percent to about 53 full-time employees.

Among options the sports authority is considering is whether funding mandates, which are set in statute, could be re-prioritized.

In a trickle-down fashion, the sports authority's top priority is to pay the annual debt service on the $277.6 million in bonds sold to build the stadium, which opened in 2006. Next, the sports authority distributes funds for local tourism offices - $5.4 million last year.

The third priority is to renovate and build Cactus League ballparks, which received $3.1 million from the authority last year.

Another $1.7 million went to the fourth priority: youth and amateur sports.

As the final funding priorities, the operating fund and reserve funds are where the sports authority is coming up short. (Arizona Republic)

July 16, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - The Arizona Cardinals will take over concession operations next year at University of Phoenix Stadium in a move intended to help the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority increase its revenue.

The plan calls for the team's new Rojo Hospitality LLC to help the authority reach a $4.25 million revenue goal. If it does, the team gets a $100,000 bonus. The team will attempt to reach the goal by increased marketing of the facility for events and sponsorships. That job will be handled by a new firm, Rojo Events LLC, created by the team.

Although the Cardinals expect to earn money operating concessions, the Fiesta Bowl would receive the same percentage of commission from food sales during its event. Likewise, the sports authority will receive its same share of commission from food sales during non-football events.

Fiesta Bowl officials were unhappy with the deal saying they weren't consulted and don't favor giving the Cardinals more control over the building.

The sports authority ate into its reserves last year and projects a $3.4 million deficit in the 2009-10 budget.

The authority could experience cash-flow problems in operating the stadium by January, Chief Financial Officer Chuck Foley said.

That is despite cutting the number of employees with Global Spectrum, the stadium's contracted management company, and negotiating a lower contract fee with it.

July 23, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - Following complaints from the Fiesta Bowl and Centerplate, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has backed away from a plan to transfer concessions at University of Phoenix Stadium to the Cardinals and will put the contract up for bid. Centerplate is the building's current concessionaire.

Centerplate made a new offer on the contract after the authority indicated it would turn over operations to the Cardinals in exchange for a greater cut of the earnings. Fiesta Bowl officials also complained that they were not consulted on the change and are not comfortable giving the NFL team more control over the venue. Bowl officials and the Cardinals have clashed over signage, luxury suites and scheduling at the stadium.

Centerplate has been handling concessions since the stadium opened in 2006. Its contract expires in July 2010.

Centerplate officials said the company would have offered a proposal sooner if it had been asked. They didn't learn of the plan to give the contract to the Cards until media reports surfaced.

Centerplate sent a letter to the sports authority, offering a $3 million loan, as well as $5 million up-front, if the sports authority agreed to a 10-year contract.

As part of the deal, the sports authority would have to pay back the loan and forfeit $550,000 from its annual commission on concessions.

The sports authority is able to make its stadium payments and other funding priorities. However, with most of its revenue coming from taxes in the recession-plagued tourism industry, it grapples with its final funding obligation: operating the $455 million stadium.

August 13, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - As the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority begins soliciting bids for a concession operator for University of Phoenix Stadium, the agency has released revenue figures for the venue.

The figures show that per cap revenues, based on average home attendance, were $106.73 in 2006, $96.54 in 2007 and $99.31 in 2008.

Here are the figures released by the authority:

General Concessions - Cardinals Home Games
Concession Food and Beverage Sales$6,788,145 $6,234,462 $6,390,976
Club Seat Concessions $1,310,401 $1,144,280 $1,187,676
Club Seat Special$11,376
Executive Seat Catering $669,099 $786,487 $817,182
Catering $75,396 $175,798 $154,396
Restaurant $87,786 $82,113 $90,334
Branded Providers $141,579 $153,318 $137,104
General Concessions - Fiesta Bowl
Concession Food and Beverage Sales $656,487 $941,950 $672,171
Club Seat Concessions $97,993 $146,832 $108,255
Executive Seat Catering $129,684 $200,516 $208,087
Catering $14,359 $6,693 $30,221
Restaurant $7,233 $9,221 $7,331
Branded Providers $13,856 $16,093 $16,944
General Concessions - Other Events
Concession Food and Beverage Sales $1,048,239 $1,255,941 $1,184,962
Club Seat Concessions $139,158 $75,442 $69,730
Executive Seat Catering $48,706 $217,641 $58,291
Catering $430,862 $1,086,105 $985,747
Restaurant $2,929 $80,935 $43,344
Branded Providers $24,138 $39,823 $36,832

* 2006 covered August 2 to January 2, 2007. Other years started after the Fiesta Bowl and ran to just before the next Fiesta Bowl.

The Cardinals sought to take over concession operations from Centerplate, but after complaints and a new bid from the concessionaire, the authority decided to seek bids from other providers. The bids are due by Aug. 28.

October 1, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

An Arizona court has ruled that Glendale owes the Arizona Cardinals $200,000 in a dispute over advertising near University of Phoenix Stadium. Glendale took the NFL team to court three years ago over advertising restrictions the Cardinals wanted to place near the stadium. The team didn't want Pepsi ads outside the stadium since its sponsor is Coca-Cola. Glendale had reimbursed the Cardinals for building part of the street in exchange for the team deeding to the city the land where the street was constructed. But the Cardinals added restrictions to its deed that Glendale officials disagreed with. City officials believed the city's less- restrictive ad ordinances should govern the road. Judge John A. Buttrick said the Cardinals had a right to restrict advertising on the road. He also told Glendale it had to pay $200,000 in attorneys' fees and $3,765 in court costs to the team.

October 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The chief financial officer for the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has resigned, which means the group likely will postpone a key decision about a valuable concessions contract at University of Phoenix Stadium. The committee had been formed after the sports authority board in July stirred controversy. The board had proposed handing over the contract to the Arizona Cardinals without first putting it out for competitive bids. The board reconsidered, put it out for bid and formed the committee to make recommendations to the board this month. President and chief executive Tom Saddler said the committee was running behind. He estimated a recommendation would come in November. The CFO's job could go to a private firm. The authority will discuss later how the committee is to proceed.

December 17, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Phoenix, Ariz. - The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has filed a lawsuit against the Fiesta Bowl saying the game owes the agency more than $400,000. The possibility of a suit has been brewing since early fall when mediation failed between the two sides on game-day expenses. Sports authority officials said they have a responsibility to taxpayers to collect money it believes it is owed. Bowl officials complained about the timing of the lawsuit, coming just weeks before the annual game. They said the lawsuit won't affect the event.

The dispute revolves around two issues: the costs to operate and maintain the parking lots and erect additional seats for the bowl game.

Under current agreements, about $5 of every Fiesta Bowl ticket goes to the sports authority. Agreements dictate that 17.5 percent of those funds, or about $50,000, should cover parking-lot expenses such as putting up barricades and directing traffic on game day. The cost has been twice that, officials said. The sports authority says it is owed $211,000, which is the cost of overruns since 2007 when the Fiesta Bowl moved to the Glendale stadium.

The Arizona Cardinals, the stadium's other main tenant, is the owner and operator of the parking lots. The Fiesta Bowl officials say they should not have to pay more money than previously negotiated because the Cardinals billed the authority for parking at a rate higher than 17.5 percent of its Fiesta Bowl collections.

The second issue involves a disagreement over who should pay to put up the additional seats for the Fiesta Bowl. The authority pegged the outstanding bills since 2008 at $194,000. The Fiesta Bowl maintains that its agreement with the sports authority promises a stadium the equivalent size of Sun Devil Stadium, where the Fiesta Bowl was formerly played.

The Fiesta Bowl disagrees it should have to cover the cost to erect 10,000 temporary seats to get the stadium to that capacity. The argument over who should pay for seating arose a couple of years ago after the sports authority and the Fiesta Bowl renegotiated its agreement on game-day expenses.

The original agreement required that the Fiesta Bowl pay an even $250,000 for game-day expenses at the stadium, which the authority estimated at nearly $500,000. Under the renegotiated agreement, the sports authority would pay $300,000 of those expenses with the Fiesta Bowl to pick up the rest.

Fiesta Bowl officials said the reworked agreement was supposed to save the bowl group money in exchange for a suite it would relinquish during Super Bowls. But then the sports authority began billing the Fiesta Bowl for installation of the additional seating, which Fiesta Bowl officials said would eliminate compensation for the forfeited suite.

January 21, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has voted to enter into a 30-day exclusive negotiation period with the Arizona Cardinals' Rojo Hospitality for the concessions contract at University of Phoenix Stadium. Rojo Hospitality said it would guarantee $750,000 per year to the sports authority from increased events. It beat out Aramark and current vendor Centerplate, whose contract expires this summer. Last July, the sports authority handed the concession contract over to the Cardinals, seeking to generate more revenue by partnering with the team. Fiesta Bowl officials raised concerns that there would be conflicts of interest, and other critics said the contract should have been open to a competitive bid. Rojo Hospitality now has 30 days to refine the financial details of its plan. After the negotiation period, the board will meet again to review the detailed proposal and make a final decision.

February 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority has agreed to allow the Arizona Cardinals to take over concession operations at University of Phoenix Stadium later this year.

The Cardinals would be one of three NFL teams to operate concessions. In most stadiums, food service is contracted to national companies such Aramark or Centerplate, the Connecticut-based company that has held the contract in Glendale since the stadium opened in 2006.

This will be the Cardinals first foray into food service with a newly minted subsidiary called Rojo Hospitality.

Centerplate, in letters to the authority, said the bid process was unfair, in part because the Cardinals had an advantage to use the team-owned Sportsman's Park to host more events and generate revenue for the sports authority.

The Cardinals' concession contract offered the same percentage of commissions as Centerplate, but the team guaranteed it would generate an additional $750,000 a year through additional events and cost reductions. The team also provides a $1 million loan to the authority.

Controversy over the contract has led the Arizona House and Senate to consider legislation that would have the Arizona auditor general conduct a sweeping audit of the sports authority. Sponsors of each bill said they were concerned about the concessions contract, though neither alleged any wrongdoing.

Brad Wright, chairman of the sports authority board, called the latest legislation "vindictive." He said, "It's not lost on anyone that last week we were at the Legislature fighting against the public subsidies for the Fiesta Bowl and this week we've been forced back down there to defend contracts that are in the best interest of taxpayers."

Wright said the decision-making process has been public and included an industry consultant. Sports-authority officials said they reached out to the Auditor General's Office and the state Department of Administration last fall and both departments declined to review the procurement process.

The stadium's other main tenant, the Fiesta Bowl, has from the start decried giving the concessions contract to the Cardinals. The Fiesta Bowl's protest is in part what led the sports authority to put the contract to bid, something the agency did not do last summer when it initially handed the contract to the Cardinals.

The Fiesta Bowl, which has had a long-running dispute with the Cardinals, doesn't like the deal, saying it creates an inherent conflict of interest. The Cardinals, for instance, have a say in who manages the stadium and yet the manager of the stadium would have to oversee the Cardinals as concessionaires, Fiesta Bowl board member Mike Allen said.

March 4, 2010
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee said it would not bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl, because of the economy. The six-member private board unanimously voted on the issue, little more than a month from the April 1 deadline to submit bids to the NFL. That leaves three cities in the 2014 hunt: Tampa, Miami and New York. The committee said it would be back next year to vie for the 2015 game.

March 25, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Phoenix, Ariz. - Fiesta Bowl officials say they are entitled to a refund of about $600,000 because of an accidental overpayment of taxes on ticket sales.

The city would not confirm or deny the request was made, citing taxpayer-privacy laws.

However, Glendale recently asked the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which operates the stadium, to return $608,513 in taxes that it says were collected in error from a non-profit entity that used the facility and paid city taxes between June 2006 and September 2009.

The city in its letter did not disclose the non-profit's identity, but officials with the Fiesta Bowl, run by four non-profit organizations, are reportedly seeking the refund. The non-profits also operate the Insight Bowl, community events and a national championship game every four years.

The bowl is entitled to a refund like any other business that overpaid its taxes, said Fiesta Bowl Chairman Duane Woods.

Glendale collects taxes for the stadium, and the total refund due to the Fiesta Bowl could exceed what is owed back from the sports authority. That's because the city collects sales taxes from stadium users. The taxes are dedicated to Glendale's general, transportation and public-safety funds.

If taxes were collected in error for the stadium, they likely were improperly collected for those funds as well. The city would not comment on whether it was refunding additional sums.

Glendale told the sports authority that taxes should not have been paid to the stadium from the non-profit seeking the refund because a city tax ordinance exempts non-profit organizations.

The sports authority, which faces a $3.4 million deficit, said it is working on a repayment plan. "It does put us in a bit of a bind. It's not something that is helping our cause," said Tom Sadler, chief executive of the sports authority.

Woods said the bowl recently conducted a financial review and discovered it should not have paid taxes on ticket sales when it moved from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe to University of Phoenix Stadium, which hosted its first Fiesta Bowl in 2007.

Fiesta Bowl officials also asked the stadium operator of downtown Phoenix's Chase Field in December to seek a $31,000 sales-tax refund for the 2005 Insight Bowl and a band championship held there. That was the last year the Insight Bowl was played in downtown Phoenix. It's now played in Tempe, which has not received a refund request and collects sales taxes on events by non-profit organizations that hold events that attract more than 10,000 people.

May 20, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

The Fiesta Bowl has agreed to pay $400,000 to the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority to settle claims the college-football game operator didn't pay all its bills at University of Phoenix Stadium. The settlement comes five months after the sports authority, the stadium operator, sued the bowl in Maricopa County Superior Court. The authority had alleged the bowl was responsible for $211,000 in cost overruns since 2007, when the Fiesta Bowl moved to Glendale from Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium. The authority also claimed it was owed $194,000 to install additional seats for the bowl. The Fiesta Bowl had said its agreement with the authority required a stadium of equivalent size as Sun Devil Stadium, which seats about 73,650 people. However, the bowl dropped that claim in the settlement and agreed to pay for the cost of installing and removing additional seats for future games.

July 8, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - The Arizona Cardinals Football Club LLC is seeking to rezone land around University of Phoenix Stadium for a new mixed-use development, according to the Arizona Republic.

Dubbed Sportsman's Park West and Sportsman's Park East, the land would include hotels, offices and apartments in two projects over 129 acres. The project's size concerns some area residents.

Attorney Michael Curley told the Republic the projects consist primarily of commercial office buildings, a total of 3 million square feet, with a smaller amount of residential - a 200-unit apartment building and also a 50-unit apartment building. Two hotels would also be included.

Curley said the applications were prompted by the need to rezone the Great Lawn to allow for active uses currently legally prohibited. It made sense to rezone the entire site at the same time, the attorney said.

"There's no question this is a long-range project," Curley told the newspaper. "Build-out could be 20 years."

The proposal for Sportsman's Park East, a 58-acre site, includes a four-story, or 60-foot-tall, office building and two six- story, or 90-feet-high, buildings.

The plan for Sportsman's Park West, a 70-acre site, would include far taller buildings. The proposal calls for three buildings capped at 200 feet with the remaining buildings limited to 100 feet, the newspaper reported.

Curley said any of the stadium's 14,000 parking spaces lost would need to be replaced, possibly with a parking structure. And the projects would include additional parking as required by the city.

Curley added that the projects are predominantly offices and office parking is not used on the weekend when most stadium events take place.

This would be the Bidwill family's second planned foray into commercial development, the newspaper said. The family three years ago proposed a business, retail and residential development on 77 acres south of the stadium.

The City Council approved the zoning for that site in 2008.

"The next step is for the property owner to file a design review for individual development sites such as hotels, office buildings, retail, etc," Jon Froke, city planning director, told the newspaper.

August 5, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - The Arizona Cardinals, operating as Rojo Hospitality Group, are preparing to take over concession operations at University of Phoenix Stadium this fall, according to the Arizona Republic.

Team officials promise changes will include cheaper food options, faster service and better quality, the newspaper reported.

Cardinals fans repeated those three suggestions during focus groups, said Ron Minegar, the team's chief operating officer.

"We all know (eating at the stadium) is not going to be like going to In-N-Out Burger," he said, referring to the fast-food restaurant's low prices.

But several popular menu items should take a smaller bite out of fans' wallets, and other items have been bundled into combos for a lower price, the newspaper said.

Faster service, an average of 1 minute per customer, is also a goal, Minegar told the Republic. Officials have gone to some lengths to shave seconds off each order.

They counted the number of steps it took a cashier to walk to the nacho-cheese dispenser at each concession stand and decided to install more dispensers to speed preparation of one of the stadium's most popular snacks.

Meanwhile, head chefs are sprucing up menus for suites and non-game events.

Minegar is quick to say Centerplate, which had handled concessions since the stadium opened in 2006, did a good job. But he believes Rojo executives, with a combined 180 years of experience in the food-and-beverage business, can improve the experience.

He told the Republic they've hired top managers who have worked at Arena, Sun Devil Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Several staffers come from Centerplate, including the sous chef and managers for catering, concessions, premium services and warehouse. Assistant General Manager Greg Freed launched Red, White and Brew restaurants in the East Valley.

August 5, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Crews are repairing minor wind damage to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., according to the Arizona Republic. The storm came up the south side of the stadium and took off a piece of the "crown core," which is the silver outer shell of the building, Bob Aylesworth, executive vice president of Hunt Construction Group, which built the stadium, told the newspaper. The piece that came off rolled from south to north and tore the thin fabric that is part of the retractable roof, he added. The hole, which is about 1,500 square feet, is surrounded by several smaller rips.

August 12, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Glendale, Ariz. - A rezoning plan proposed by the Bidwell family, owner of the Arizona Cardinals, for nearly 130 acres around University of Phoenix Stadium has been approved by the city's planning commission, according to the Arizona Republic.

The development, called Sportsman's Park West and Sportman's Park East, may come before the City Council by September. The project calls for 3 million square feet of offices, two hotels, two apartment complexes and some retail. The land is zoned for agriculture.

Commissioners voiced concerns with loss of surface parking at the stadium, proposed building heights and whether residents in the area had been notified. Staff said notification requirements were met, the newspaper reported.

Commissioner Brad Hendrix was concerned that the loss of surface parking would impact tailgating. Cardinals consultant Michael Rushman said ample surface parking would remain well into the future for fans' use.

The developer is required to replace any of the 14,000 stadium parking spaces displaced by the development, according to the Republic.

January 5, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Phoenix, Ariz. - The Sugar Bowl has accepted annual subsidies of at least $1 million from the state of Louisiana during much of the BCS era, while increasing its reserves to $34.2 million, records obtained by the Arizona Republic show.

Two other Bowl Championship Series games - the Fiesta and Orange bowls - also amassed cash reserves while accepting public subsidies from governments, many of which have recently been forced to make other cuts to their budgets.

The non-profit organizations that operate the three bowls pay no taxes on their revenues, donate a small percentage of their revenue to charitable causes and have significantly raised executive pay in recent years, the newspaper said.

The BCS, a system created in the 1998-99 season by universities and athletic conferences, designates by contract which bowls are part of its postseason bowl system. It selects which teams play in those games and a rotating fifth game that determines a national champion.

Of the four bowls now in the BCS - Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar - only the Rose Bowl says it has not received government subsidies.

The bowls defend the subsidies because they classify their events as economic engines that attract tens of thousands of tourists annually. They and their government sponsors view the subsidies as seed capital to help stage showcase events that guarantee the bowls and their communities continued national status.

The bowls note their games pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their local economies. The Sugar Bowl, for example, said its game and related activities injected $137 million into New Orleans and Louisiana in fiscal 2010.

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, whose office has paid out subsidies to the Sugar Bowl since fiscal 2006-07, told the Republic the bowl has been a good state investment. But, he added, the bowl no longer is "an appropriate recipient" of funds following media reports in the past year about the Sugar Bowl's reserves and Chief Executive Paul Hoolahan's salary of nearly $600,000. Recently, the Sugar Bowl also admitted making improper campaign contributions to Louisiana's former governor.

"They have a huge surplus, and they are paying a huge salary to the executive director," Dardenne said. "It certainly makes you recognize a non-profit entity like that has an upside potential to make money, and it no longer has a need to be subsidized by government entities." The bowls generate their income from the games, sponsorships and TV contracts. Last year, the combined BCS payout was nearly $182 million, with roughly 80 percent of the money going to the six power conferences that created the BCS.

The Sugar Bowl, according to its annual non-profit statement to the Internal Revenue Service, has taken government assistance since at least 2001-02, when the bowl accepted $1 million and had net assets of $10.7 million. Records show the bowl has since accepted subsidies nearly every year, for a total of nearly $11 million, as its net reserves more than tripled to $34.2 million.

Hotel and motel bed-tax revenues across Louisiana generate the state funding, Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Dardenne told the Republic. The money is passed through the Lieutenant Governor's Office after lawmakers and the governor approve a budget, Berry said.

The funding ultimately landed in the BCS' hands in 2009-10 as part of a $6 million Sugar Bowl payment to the BCS under its contract.

All subsidies from the state go to the BCS for payouts to universities participating in its bowls, said Sugar Bowl spokesman John Sudsbury.

The Sugar Bowl's $34.2 million net reserve is the healthiest among BCS members. The bowl turned down nearly $1.4 million from the state in the fiscal year ended June 30, Dardenne said, after publicity regarding the Sugar Bowl CEO's pay and because Louisiana was "going through serious financial challenges."

The Fiesta and Orange bowls also receive subsidies:

* Tempe, through 2013, will have paid the Fiesta Bowl $6.45 million to ensure the group continues to hold the Insight Bowl, a second game the bowl operates annually, in Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium. The contract requires the city to pay the bowl $850,000 this year and next and $900,000 the final year.

At the same time, Tempe in the fiscal year ended June 30 cut its budget by nearly $36.2 million and eliminated 2111Ú2 positions. Employees were forced to take furloughs last fiscal year and will do so again this fiscal year.

The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau signed an agreement to pay the Fiesta Bowl $8.2 million over 20 years starting with the 2006-07 football season. In exchange for the money, which the bureau receives from city hotel-bed taxes, the Fiesta Bowl requires participating teams to stay in Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts. For the past Fiesta Bowl, for example, the universities of Connecticut and Oklahoma reported spending a combined $1.1 million in local lodging and meals.

The Fiesta Bowl had $22.3 million in net assets in 2009-10, the most recent year for which IRS records are available. That is nearly three times the value of its assets when the BCS began. * Public tax documents filed by the Orange Bowl report it received nearly $2.5 million in government grants since 2007-08. The largest chunk, $1.2 million, came in 2008-09. However, documents do not identify the sources of the grants, and the bowl declined requests to name them.

"Suffice it to say, we receive support from multiple sources as we affect tourism and economic development throughout the South Florida region," Orange Bowl spokesman Larry Wahl said. The Miami-area bowl has more than quadrupled its net reserves to $31.5 million since the BCS began.
* The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., which started in 1902 and is the oldest bowl, does not receive public subsidies. It has net reserves of $19.1 million, slightly more than double the amount since the BCS began and the lowest among BCS bowls.

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said the Insight Bowl generates value for his city. But he considers the city's contract with the Fiesta too expensive.

"The amount provided to the bowl is larger than it needs to be," Hallman said. "I do recognize the community investment for the event is necessary . . . but I hope in the future the amount the city pays will be brought down."

April 12, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

The Arizona Cardinals are accusing cash-strapped Glendale of financial mismanagement and could sue the city over the loss of parking for roughly 9,000 of the team's ticket-holders at Westgate City Center near University of Phoenix Stadium, the Arizona Republic said. The Cardinals and the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which manages the stadium, sent Glendale a four-page letter seeking written assurances the parking problem would be addressed by May 1. If not, the letter said, legal action may follow. The team does not specify the amount in financial damages it will incur if the lost parking is not replaced nearby. The team includes those parking spaces near Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue in ticket packages it markets to customers. The spaces have a value of at least $20 apiece per game, based on pricing of nearby parking that is not controlled by the city.

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