Wowza. It has been just over one week since ASU made the announcement that Ray Anderson has been hired as their new athletic director. Sun Devil fans were abuzz talking about what a great hire this is. We got to see his impressive resume, we watched the press conferences and people wondered how ASU was able to pull this off. Less than a week after the Ray Anderson announcement is made, ASU reveals new plans to renovate Sun Devil Stadium to the tune of $210 million. AZCentral is reporting $225 million, but who’s counting? After listening to feedback from fans, boosters, alumni, etc. ASU has come up with a pretty impressive plan.
Click on this photo below to see what the new stadium will look like. ( click twice to enlarge it.) The stadium will be state of the art. More photos are available on ASU’s Momentum page.
ASU’s new Momentum campaign: The renovation of Sun Devil Stadium will be paid for through private donations, Pac-12 Conference revenue, Athletics District revenue, stadium naming rights and incremental revenue from stadium operations. ( no tax dollars ) After the February removal of the north end zone seating in the upper deck, ASU will request approval to begin the project from the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) in September of 2014. Once approved, these major renovations can begin in the Spring of 2015. The Devils will NOT be moving to another stadium while the work is being done. It sounds like coach Graham wants to stay in their own house to play the games and the cost to move the team is prohibitive. ( more than $7.5 million over 3 years. )
What types of changes are coming to Sun Devil Stadium? • Replace lower bowl tread on east and west sides, which would allow for more legroom, and seats and benches with seatbacks.
• All public areas (concourse, restrooms, concessions, ramps, etc.) will be raised and rebuilt with substantially more fixtures and services provided to be consistent with modern football venues across the country. • Escalators will connect various concourse levels.
• Addition of a new state-of-the-art video board to be installed on the north plaza, as well as a new sound system. • A unique terrace will be built on the north plaza where concerts and community events can be hosted.
• Current press box will be enhanced and new kitchen installed.
• Upper deck will be reconfigured to increase height between concourses, allowing the development of a new premium seating level for new suites and club space.
• Club area will be air-conditioned and the club seating will be open-air.
• A new student section will be built and plans include a student club area.
• Most unique element of the renovation will be the addition of a “scrim” or video ribbon on the outside of the stadium. Videos and images can be projected off the stadium throughout the year to passers by on either side of the venue.
Some of my favorite additions are also: “In addition to the added elements, fans will enjoy enhanced seat comfort, increased quantity and quality of restrooms, increased legroom, escalators, enhanced video and audio functionality.” I’m still not sure what kind of seating will be used, but I am sure glad to hear that it will be improved. Man, these old bleachers with super-small seating areas are hard to take.
No Shade Canopy: Remember the pics from last year where they showed us a huge canopy stretching over the stadium? Well, that idea is gone. The cost for the shade was estimated at over $132 million and the feedback from many fans was that they prefer to see the fireworks after touchdowns and to have better seats, some legroom, better restrooms and better overall fan experiences. Renovation is desired, losing the identity of Sun Devil Stadium is not. ( I wonder how Sparky feels about that? )
Big Momentum, Big Money: Look, football and ASU sports is big business. To be competitive and to attract the kind of talent that is needed for a winning program, it certainly helps to have a great place to play and to train. Having a HUGE video screen in the North end zone might be something some hot shot kid likes. Imagine being shown your bigger than life highlights in front of 60,000 fans?
The 330 acre University Athletic Facilities District is a funding mechanism for ASU athletics. This brings me back to the beginning of this article and makes me think of one more reason why Ray Anderson is coming to Tempe to serve as the athletic director. The guy has got to have some amazing contacts and some good friends with deep pockets. Imagine being able to help pull off a project of this size? It’s probably a heck of a challenge for Ray and his staff. Anderson will oversee an annual budget of $65 million for the 22 varsity sports that he is in charge of. Fundraising for the $215+ million stadium is probably going to be a fun little challenge. We are entering some pretty exciting times.
Grab some tickets this year to ensure good placement for the coming years. It’s going to be a heck of a ride.
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