University of Phoenix Stadium
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Stanford Cardinal
Jan. 2, 2012 | 8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
Year Opened: 2006 | Field Surface: Natural Grass
Opened in 2006 at a cost of $450 million, University of Phoenix Stadium is the first sports venue in North America to feature a retractable roof and retractable playing field. It takes just more than an hour to roll out the grass tray. The 12-million-pound tray remains outside the stadium until game day to take advantage of the sun's rays. The stadium was designed by renowned architect Peter Eisenman, who patterned it after the barrel cactus; sections of the stadium piece together like the native succulent. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl, the stadium has hosted two BCS national championship games and is home to the Arizona Cardinals. University of Phoenix Stadium hosts the BCS National Championship Game every four years. The national title game is played in addition to the annual Fiesta Bowl featuring the Big 12 Conference champion -- unless the Big 12 team is set to play in the BCS National Championship Game, at which point another BCS-qualified team can be invited to the Fiesta Bowl. The stadium staged Super Bowl XLII and will host Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. It was home to the 2009 NCAA men's basketball regional. The stadium seats 63,400, but can be expanded to hold 73,000 for marquee events, and includes 88 luxury suites and club seating for 7,000.
The Fiesta Bowl was initiated after years of efforts to bring a game to the desert and as a way to get the champions of the Western Athletic Conference (now the Mountain West) into bowls that often overlooked them. The Fiesta Bowl was played at Sun Devil Stadium from 1971 to 2006.
Among its more memorable games was the one in 1975, when Big Eight co-champion Nebraska played unbeaten host Arizona State. The Sun Devils won the game despite being considered an inferior opponent and finished No. 2 in the country.
The Fiesta Bowl attracted more top-tier matchups and by the mid-1990s had replaced the Cotton Bowl as one of the country's top four bowl games. In 1996, the bowl saw top-ranked Nebraska beat up on Steve Spurrier's No. 2 Florida Gators 62-24 and complete the Cornhuskers' perfect season.
The first Fiesta Bowl held at the University of Phoenix Stadium was in 2007, when upstart Boise State stunned Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime. The combination of the underdog Broncos, trick plays and the back-and-forth play convinced many it was one of the best college games of modern times.
The bowl game recently survived a major scandal following allegations Fiesta Bowl officials spent lavishly on BCS officials and politicians. Fiesta Bowl employees also allegedly were asked to make donations, violating campaign laws. An internal report found almost $47,000 in illegal contributions were made and the CEO was fired. The bowl also was fined $1 million, but it remains a BCS game.
The Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade has been conducted for 40 years and the two-mile parade route winds through central Phoenix on Dec. 31.
The Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship, entering its 34th year, has become one of the most prestigious high school band competitions. Bands perform 10-minute routines and a panel of judges critiques them and presents a Grand Master's Trophy to the winner.
Source: Fiesta Bowl
- Children 24 months of age or younger are permitted entry inside University of Phoenix Stadium without a ticket provided they obtain a lap pass prior to entry. Adults can request a lap pass from stadium staff checking tickets at the entrance gates. The child receiving the lap pass must be present when the pass is issued. There is a limit of one lap pass per adult game ticket.
Six Named Heisman Trophy Finalists
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