In recent years ASU has made a push to update many of their athletic facilities. We always hear about the weight room, Weatherup Center for basketball, the new baseball stadium to be shared with the Chicago Cubs at Mesa Riverview, and the potential new Olympic village, but when it comes to the biggest money making sport they continue to play in an antiquated stadium.
Last week, news came out that ASU was close to securing the funds to renovate Sun Devil Stadium. While that news is great to hear, it also brings the realization that they are more than likely going to settle for a renovation rather than a full re-build.
Anyone who has gone to a football game at Sun Devil Stadium knows it is not a comfortable stadium to watch a game. If you go early in the season it is an oven, the bathrooms still look like they did when it opened, there are no amenities, you take a hike just to get to your seat from the gate, and worst of all you have to sit on a metal bleacher. Why would we want to hold on to that?
As of now, the plan sounds like they will keep the lower bowl and re-build a new upper deck. If you are going to do that, why not go the whole way a build a new stadium that increases the game day experience?
If they do decide to build a new stadium, what should be considered? The first and foremost, they should not move the location of the stadium. Having Sun Devil Stadium built into the Tempe Butte is one of the more iconic locations in sports. Second, you need to increase the comfort level for the fans. We need real seats as well as suites circling the stadium. Since we live in Arizona and it gets hot outside there will need to be some form of overhang. I don’t think there needs to be a full roof but something along the lines of Husky Stadium up in Seattle (photo below) should be incorporated.
Finally, there needs to be a museum attached to the stadium celebrating the history of ASU athletics. It is nice that they have a hall of fame in Wells Fargo Arena, but how many people actually have seen it? We need a place where we can celebrate the championships, achievements, and all the players that have worn maroon and gold. Why not erect a few statues of Sun Devil legends like Pat Tillman, Reggie Jackson, Phil Mickelson, Anthony Robles, Ned Wulk, and Frank Kush? If you want to engage new fans and build a tradition we need to teach everyone the history of Arizona State athletics.
ASU needs to bite the bullet and move to Chase Field or University of Phoenix Stadium for two or three years so they can build a brand new stadium. If we play at Chase, it is an easy light-rail ride for students downtown. After a few years the football team can come home to a brand new, state of the art stadium that would be the envy of the Pac-12.
By Sun Devil Jeff