Sun Devil Stadium – Arizona State Sun Devils

by | Oct 29, 2015 | Jason Bartel, NCAA Football | 0 comments

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Fear the Fork at Sun Devil Stadium

Built in between the Tempe Buttes, Sun Devil Stadium and Frank Kush Field is the perfect setting for college football in the Valley of the Sun. Surrounded by desert landscape as well as the Tempe Town Lakes, it is also located in the heart of a booming entertainment district. Built in 1958, it originally had a capacity of 30,000. Now in the middle of a massive renovation project, capacity in 2015 was 65,870. The decrease from nearly 80,000 happened because the upper level of the north end was taken off, which actually gives the stadium a much better feeling than it had before.

In 1996, the Frank Kush Field name was added prior to a game against No. 1 Nebraska, which the Sun Devils went on to win 19-0. That season resulted in one of two Rose Bowl appearances in school history.

Sun Devil Stadium was also the home for the Arizona Cardinals from 1988-2005, and hosted the Fiesta Bowl from 1971-2006 before both moved to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. When the Fiesta Bowl left, SDS began hosting the Insight Bowl, which is now known as the Cactus Bowl. This bowl game features teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12 each year, but will be held in Chase Field for a few years as renovations to Sun Devil Stadium proceed. SDS was also the home of four College Football National Championship Games (1988, 1996, 1999, and 2003) and Super Bowl XXX.

Food & Beverage 4

Sun Devil Stadium offers a decent variety of food all along the main concourse. The main concession stands offer your typical stadium food: hot dogs, nachos, soda, churros and the like. All of them are typically priced too, anywhere from $4-$8. Other stands that are set up give fans many more options for their game time meal. There are sandwich stands, southwestern barbeque, smoothies, ice cream, and a few other options as well. None of them are too pricey, with the most expensive thing being right around ten bucks.

A lot of food stands are also found in the south end zone, right where most fans enter. Sun Devil Stadium is a Coca-Cola facility. You can bring in sealed or empty water bottles smaller than 1.5 liters, as well as small things of food, and bags smaller than 12″x12″x12″. Here’s an extensive list of what you can and can’t bring in to the stadium.

Atmosphere 4

Even though the stadium itself is starting to show its age, the overall look of the game is very pleasing to the eye. The two buttes on each side of the stadium give a very unique background, and even dictate how the concourse is shaped in some areas. If you sit high up, the lack of the upper level on the north side gives a nice view of Tempe Town Lakes and the surrounding area. The ASU bench is on the west side (sections 4-10), with the student section being split between both end zones for right now. The Sun Devils run out through the tunnel in the south end zone, running through a pitchfork made by the Sun Devil Marching Band.

The vast majority of seats are simple metal benches, but you can bring in your own seat cushion, or you can rent one at the stadium. There is a loge level that has regular seats, and act as the suites at Sun Devil Stadium. It’s probably best to sit on the west side of the stadium (sections 4-10, 201-211), especially for afternoon games so you’re not looking into the sun.

There are two video boards, one in each corner of the south end. They show live game action and replays throughout the game, as well as videos from the ASU athletic department and ads. There are also banner scoreboards found on the façade of the upper concourse.

Neighborhood 5

Arizona State’s athletic facilities have probably one of the best surrounding areas in the country. Located in the northeast corner of the main campus in Tempe, all of the major sports stadiums are right next to each other, with Wells Fargo Arena built into the same hill as Sun Devil Stadium. You also have the aquatic center, softball field, and track stadium right there. And then Phoenix Muni is just a couple minutes away. There are tons of places in the immediate vicinity of the stadium to visit before and after the game. The most popular location is definitely Mill Ave. Filled with restaurants, sports bars, shops, and assorted other attractions, there is something for everybody. Several bars and restaurants on Mill have special promotions and deals on game days.

There are also plenty of other options along University, College and Rural Rd. Buffalo Wild Wings near the corner of University and Rural is one of the best places. Even though there are signs up and people taking money for parking, you can still park at BWWs and other restaurants up until about two hours before kickoff without having to pay.

ASU fans also know how to tailgate. If there is an empty space, someone will tailgate there. There are even people tailgating on the top level of the parking garage. With the construction going on along Rio Salado, you’re more likely to find a place to tailgate south of the stadium.

As far as hotels go, the Tempe Mission Palms and the Courtyard Tempe Downtown are the two closest, but probably not most economical choices for Sun Devil Stadium. There are plenty of hotels located all along the light rail system in Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, and everywhere in between, so there are tons of options for lodging that are convenient for ASU games.

Tempe Town Lakes have a few entertainment things located along them. Tempe Beach Park is right across the street from Sun Devil Stadium, and the Tempe Center for the Arts is right there too. It doesn’t happen often, but you might be able to catch a concert at the Marquee Theater on the same day as an ASU game too.

Fans 3

ASU fans tend to be a bit fair-weathered, just like most fans in the state of Arizona. Since Sun Devil Stadium is so big, it does not sell out steadily, but it does get very loud. If the Sun Devils are good, SDS is rocking the entire game. If not, it’s mostly empty by the time the clock goes to zeroes. I wouldn’t consider them very hospitable to visiting fans either. If you are going to wear another team’s gear to a game, be prepared to take a verbal beating the entire time. There’s no real unique chants or traditions outside of the ASU fight song. Even then, most people don’t know the words to the whole thing.

Access 3

Parking for football games can be very difficult and very pricey. Parking near the stadium costs $20, and if you park farther away it will still cost you $10-$15. Parking at Buffalo Wild Wings costs $30, and some other restaurants in the area offer parking for up to $40. If you’re going to a game earlier in the season, you definitely want to be parking close to the stadium because it is not pleasant to walk around in the hot Tempe sun for an extended period of time, especially with the cars jammed onto the streets all around you. The parking garages do fill up as it gets closer to kickoff, but most of them are pretty big. You can take the Valley Metro light rail if you are coming from somewhere else in the valley, or if you want to park away from the stadium. The light rail has two stops right in front of the south entrance gates of Sun Devil Stadium. It has stops throughout the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix area, so finding a place to leave your car and hopping on the train is very easy. I would definitely recommend this for most people, especially if you’re going to drink on Mill before the game. Just hop on the light rail, hang out in the area through the game, and then take it back to wherever when the night’s over for you.
Most fans enter through the south gates, which is where the main ticket office is, as well as Wells Fargo Arena, which is the ASU basketball arena. From here, you can either get to your seats from field level, or walk up the ramps to the main concourse area. There are also entrance gates on the north side of the stadium. Gates open 90 minutes before kickoff.

The bathrooms on the main concourse are sort of few and far between. For the better attended games, this leads to problems for some of the fans, especially the students that started tailgating well before kickoff.

Getting to the upper level is not the easiest thing in the world. SDS has long, winding ramps, which make getting from the main concourse to the upper level a bit of a hike. There are not a lot of elevators, and no escalators, so if you’re going to sit in the upper level, make sure you have the physical ability to get there in the first place. Hopefully this is addressed during the renovations.

Return on Investment 2

Single game ticket prices can get pretty expensive for ASU games. To sit in the lower bowl, expect to pay somewhere near $100 per ticket at least. It’s sort of surprising that tickets are so expensive since the stadium rarely sells out anymore. Food prices are decent, but parking is outrageous. Taking the light rail helps diffuse this a little bit, with an all-day pass costing just $4. But taking the family to go see some Arizona State football is not exactly a bargain.

Extras 4

Fans can access the ASU Guest Wifi network at the stadium during the game. It seems to work for the most part, even for a game that had over 60,000 people in attendance. Cell phone service is spotty though, as is the case with most stadiums. Along the facades of the seating area are the names and numbers of honored Sun Devil greats, as well as the years of various bowl games that ASU has participated in. It’s a good reminder of the above average football history Arizona State has.

The main thing that is still prevalent all over the Arizona State campus is the presence of legendary Sun Devil Pat Tillman. He was an ASU linebacker from 1994-1998 before going on to play for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL. Tillman’s sports legacy was made in Sun Devil Stadium, playing his entire college and pro career there. He became a national hero when he left the NFL to join the United States Army, where he lost his life in Afghanistan in 2004. In 2013, ASU added a rendering of Tillman running out onto the field in the tunnel leading out from the Sun Devil locker room. Tillman is the gold standard of Arizona State athletics, and he has left a lasting mark on the entire campus, especially Sun Devil Stadium.

One last extra for all the stuff to do around Sun Devil Stadium before and after games. It truly is a day-long experience going to an ASU game if you do it right.

Food and Drink Recommendations

Rúla Búla

401 S Mill Ave

Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 929-9500

http://www.rulabula.com/


Devil’s Den Sports Grill

4 E University

Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 307-8000

http://www.yelp.com/biz/devils-den-sports-grill-tempe


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Entertainment Recommendations

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona

5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #135

Tempe, AZ 85282

(877) 526-3960

https://arizona.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/


Pueblo Grande Museum

4619 E Washington St

Phoenix, AZ 85034

(602) 495-0901

https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/arts-culture-history/pueblo-grande/


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Lodging Recommendations

AC Hotel by Marriott Phoenix Tempe/Downtown

100 E Rio Salado Pkwy

Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 642-6140

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phxac-ac-hotel-phoenix-tempe-downtown/


 

Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center

60 E 5th St

Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 894-1400

https://www.destinationhotels.com/tempe-mission-palms


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Stadium Info

Sun Devil Stadium
500 E Veterans Way
Tempe, AZ 85281

Arizona State Sun Devils website
Sun Devil Stadium website
Year Opened: 1958
Capacity: 67,704

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