Where will you find the sleekest and most futuristic stadium in the NFL? Not in New York City of Chicago,
but in the desert in Glendale, AZ. University of Phoenix Stadium is home of the Arizona Cardinals,
the first stadium they have not had to share with another tenant. The Cardinals have a long history that dates to
1898 when the football club was formed in Chicago. Here they played at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White
Sox (MLB). In 1960 they moved to St. Louis where they shared Busch Stadium with the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB).
After the 1987 season they moved to Arizona and Sun Devil Stadium, home of the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Through the late 1990s the
Cardinals began seeking a new stadium. After several years of
debate, in August 2002, the Arizona State Tourism and Sports
Authority voted to build a new retractable roof stadium in
Glendale, AZ for the Arizona Cardinals. At a cost of $455 million,
the stadium not only features a retractable roof, but features a
retractable side and field that moves in and out of the structure.
The stadium is built on 28 acres that is owned
by the sports authority. The
Cardinals paid for 25% of the stadium, $109 million, including
cost overruns and the state Tourism and Sports Authority paid for
75% of the stadium. The Cardinals also bought the land for the
stadium at a cost of $18.5 million.
The retractable roof at the University of
Phoenix Stadium is comprised of two 180-feet long by 240-feet wide
retractable panels that close to allow for air
conditioning during the hot summer months and open during the
cooler months to take advantage of the Valley's abundant sunshine.
The fabric roof allows light to fill the stadium and provides
an open, airy feel
even when the roof panels are closed. The roof system is designed
to open or close in approximately 12 minutes. University of Phoenix
Stadium features a unique rollout natural-grass playing field,
contained in a single tray measuring 234 feet wide by 403 feet
long and weighing a hefty 18.9 million pounds. It is the first
completely retractable field in North America. The field is
positioned inside the stadium on game days to offer the preferred
natural-grass playing surface for football and outside the stadium
the remaining 350+ days of the year to receive the needed sunlight
and water to grow. A total of 462 steel wheels, riding on 13
parallel steel rails are used to slide the field tray in and out
of the facility.
University of Phoenix Stadium began in
July 2003. Originally expected to be completed in time for the
the stadium opened on August 12, 2006, when the Cardinals played the
Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game. The Cardinals played
their inaugural first game at the stadium when they
hosted the San Francisco 49ers on September 10, 2006. During the
first month of its opening, the facility was known as Cardinals
Stadium. In September 2006, the University of Phoenix purchased the naming
rights for 20 years. The stadium
has a very modern, futuristic look and seats 63,400 fans for
football. The capacity can be expanded to 72,800 for
other events at the stadium including the Super Bowl. Not only is the stadium
of the Arizona Cardinals, but hosts the annual Tostitos Fiesta
Bowl, hosted Super Bowl XLII in 2008 and NCAA Final Four Championships.
It will also host Super Bowl XLVIV in 2015.