State Farm Stadium, formerly known as University of Phoenix Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium in the western United States, located in Glendale, Arizona, west of Phoenix. It is the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League and the annual Fiesta Bowl. It replaced Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium as the Valley of the Sun’s main stadium. The stadium is adjacent to the Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes NHL team.
The stadium has hosted the Fiesta Bowl, 2007 and 2011 BCS National Championship Games, 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl XLII in 2008, the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, and will host Super Bowl LVII in 2023. For soccer, it was one of the stadiums for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup also the first semi-final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Copa América Centenario in 2016.
State Farm Stadium Facility information and History
Since moving to Arizona from St. Louis, Missouri in 1988, the Cardinals had played at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. The Cardinals planned to play there for only a few years, until a new stadium could be built in Phoenix. However, the savings and loan crisis derailed funding for a new stadium during the 1990s.
The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new stadium in 2003 was held on April 12, and after three years of construction, the 63,400-seat venue opened on August 1, 2006. It was designed by Eisenman Architects and HOK Sport. The stadium is considered an architectural icon for the region and was named by Business Week as one of the ten most impressive sports facilities on the globe due to the combination of its retractable roof.
The stadium seating capacity can be expanded by 8,800 for mega-events such as college bowls, NFL Super Bowls, the NFC Championship Game, and the Final Four by adding risers and ganged, portable X-frame folding seats. The endzone area on the side of the facility where the field tray rolls in and out of the facility can be expanded to accommodate the additional seats.
State Farm Stadium Events
Events held at the stadium include Arizona Cardinals home games; public grand opening tours held August 19 and 20, 2006 various shows, expositions, tradeshows and motor sport events; the AIA 4A and 5A state championship games for football; and international soccer exhibition matches. The multipurpose nature of the facility has allowed it to host 91 events representing 110 event days between the dates of August 4, 2006 through the BCS National Championship January 8, 2007.
The first preseason football game was played August 12, 2006 when the Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21–13. The first regular season game was played September 10 against the San Francisco 49ers. The stadium’s air-conditioning system made it possible for the Cardinals to play at home on the opening weekend of the NFL season for the first time since moving to Arizona in 1988.
University of Phoenix Stadium hosted Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 in which the New York Giants defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17–14 with a paid attendance crowd of 71,101. This was the second time the Phoenix area hosted a Super Bowl, the other being Super Bowl XXX held in nearby Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996 when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27–17.
The stadium was the venue for the Fiesta Bowl on January 1, 2007 featuring the Boise State Broncos vs. the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the BCS National Championship on January 8, 2007 between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the University of Florida Gators, which the Gators won 41-14.
It also hosted the 2008 Fiesta Bowl between the Oklahoma Sooners and the West Virginia University Mountaineers, as well as the 2009 Fiesta Bowl between the Texas Longhorns and the Ohio State Buckeyes. It has also held many high school graduations. On January 10, 2011, the 2011 BCS National Championship Game between the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks had an attendance record setting 78,603 on hand for the game.
On February 7, 2007, the stadium hosted a soccer match attended by 62,462 fans. The United States men’s national soccer team defeated Mexico, 2–0. On January 21, 2012, the U.S. played against Venezuela and won the match 1–0. On January 30, 2013, Mexico played against Denmark, a game that was broadcast on Televisa Deportes, UniMás, and TV Azteca. The match ended in a 1–1 draw.
The stadium hosted the WWE event WrestleMania XXVI which took place on March 28, 2010, with 72,219 fans in attendance. This was the first WrestleMania since WrestleMania XI with a non-title match as a main event, the first WrestleMania to be held in the state of Arizona and the third to be held in an open-air venue, after WrestleMania IX and WrestleMania XXIV. The event grossed $5.8 million in ticket sales, making the event the highest grossing and attended entertainment event held at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Other events included the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship High School Marching Band competition. It has also held many high school graduations. On August 1, 2009, the stadium hosted Monster Jam Summer Heat, with Maximum Destruction defeating Captain’s Curse in the racing finals and Grave Digger winning the freestyle event.
On September 26, 2006 the University of Phoenix acquired the naming rights to the stadium totalling $154.5 million over 20 years. On April 11, 2017, the University of Phoenix terminated the naming rights just 11 years into the 20-year deal, citing financial woes; however, the university kept its name on the stadium until a replacement company was found to give naming rights to. On September 4th, 2018, State Farm reached a deal securing the rights through 2036.
The stadium has approximately 14,000 on-site parking spaces located in numerous lots that surround the stadium’s 2,000 disabled parking spaces. The design improvement, featured for example in a Discovery program about this stadium, is zoning. Parking spaces for guests are zoned with preferred leaving directions, to achieve the fastest possible movement of traffic.