In 2003, ground was broke for a new stadium for the Arizona Cardinals. Originally called Cardinals Stadium, the University of Phoenix Stadium is also home to the annual NCAA football Fiesta Bowl, as well as a number of other events. It was home to the 2007 BCS National Championship game, the 2008-2009 NFC Championship Game, Super Bowl XLII, and the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Final. When it opened, it was named by Business Week to be one of the 10 most impressive sports facilities in the world.
Why is the University of Phoenix Stadium so special? Most people cite it's playing surface as the number one characteristic that sets this stadium apart. The field is natural grass, which is protected by a retractable roof that can be opened or closed depending on the weather. The field is also the first in the United States to be retractable. Openings along the side of the stadium allow the entire playing surface to move to the exterior of the building, exposing the grass to sunlight without having to open the roof and allowing other events to take place in the stadium without damaging the playing surface for upcoming games.
The stadium has 63,400 permanent seats, which is expandable to a total capacity of 73,719. None of the seats have obstructed views, even when it is expanded. The extra seats are added by adding risers and portable seating, and seats can be added along the side where the field moves in to and out of the stadium once it is in place.
There are 88 luxury lofts available during games and other events. Season loft tickets include access to the Stadium Club and lounge, a private restroom, VIP entrance through special gates, a discount on merchandise, four parking spaces, and game programs. Fans also get invitations to a special VIP luncheon and VIP pre-game field passes for two of the home games. Season loft ticket holders can reserve their loft first for other stadium events as well.
Fans can also purchase tickets for the Club Level, which comes complete with wider and more comfortable seats, access to the Club lounge and bars, preferred parking, private Club-level restrooms, and upgraded food and drink options. The Club lounge is climate controlled and has large televisions so that fans don't miss a minute of the game.
The area surrounding the stadium is known as Sportsman Park. This 160-acre piece of land is actually a part of the facility, and includes parking, grass areas, and a large field that fans use for tailgating before, after, and during games. The on-site parking can accommodate up to 14,000 vehicles, and there are additional parking lots adjacent to the stadium, which accommodate up to 11,000 more vehicles.
The University of Phoenix Stadium was designed to maximize the comfort of fans. It was built along a northwest-southeast axis to help shade fans from the sun while still allowing for sunlight exposure for the field. There are also two large end zone scoreboards that can be seen from almost every seat and use state-of-the-art technology. Fans interested in touring the stadium or attending games can call 800-999-1402 for more information.