University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona, isn’t just an entertainment venue – it’s also an engineering and architectural wonder. The 1.7 million square foot, $455 million venue is more than just home to the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals and a bevy of other sports and entertainment events, but it also features a retractable roof and was the first North American stadium to be built with a retractable natural grass field. The stadium is designed so that the natural grass surface rolls onto a 19-million-pound tray that resides outside of the stadium, making it easy for event staff to set up for concerts and other non-sporting events.
History and Details
University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006 as the home venue for the Arizona Cardinals, replacing Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University as the NFL franchise’s home field. For football games, the venue seats 63,400, but the seating can be expanded to 72,000 and 78,600 with standing room.
Aside from serving as the home of the Cardinals, the stadium also has hosted the NCAA Fiesta Bowl since 2007 and was the host venue for the 2008 Super Bowl. It also regularly hosts soccer games and most notably served as the venue for a 2-0 United States win over Mexico in 2007 that drew nearly 62,500 fans. In terms of other entertainment events, University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the 2010 WWE Wrestlemania, a Super Trucks race event in 2013, and many big-name musical acts. In 2015, the stadium will host the NFL Pro Bowl.
The exterior of the stadium is designed so that it resembles a barrel cactus, a plant synonymous with Arizona. The stadium’s other main feature – its retractable roof – was the first of its kind to be built on an incline in North America and is designed to open in a mere 12 minutes.
The stadium is located just outside downtown Phoenix on the 101 loop. More than 14,000 parking spaces are located on-site, and an additional 12,000 spaces are adjacent to the arena. Unlike many major sports stadiums, University of Phoenix Stadium is located close to dining and entertainment. It’s adjacent to Jobing.com Arena, the home of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, and the nearby Westgate City Center entertainment and commercial mecca.
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