When it was built in 1928, Arizona Stadium held only 7,000 people. This season, during a huge renovation project occurring on the north side of the stadium, it can hold 55,124. There have been many changes over its history, but the current project will definitely end up being its most defining.
Over the past couple of years, Arizona Stadium has seen the addition of an enormous video board in the south endzone, one of the largest in the world. The seating at that end of the stadium was affected last year, but it has returned to its normal state, having seating from the field up to the video board. This season, the north end of the stadium is closed due to the ongoing construction of the stands, as well as the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. When completed, the stadium will be an entirely closed bowl, with much needed improvements in the concourse walking accessibility.
The Arizona football tradition has never been a strong one, always being no higher than third on the popularity list behind the men’s basketball and softball at the university. The football team has still never been to a Rose Bowl, making them the only Pac-10 member to never have made an appearance (Utah and Colorado are the other Pac-12 members to have never made an appearance). The athletics program as well as the city of Tucson are hoping that new head coach Rich Rodriguez can turn this losing tradition around for good, something that last head coach Mike Stoops had achieved for about two and a half years before seeing it all fall apart and losing his job in the middle of the 2011 season.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Arizona Stadium is fairly reasonable when it comes to pricing of traditional stadium food, $3 for a hot dog, with sodas and other traditional food items ranging anywhere from $2 - $8. If you do plan on either drinking a lot of soda at one game, or going to multiple games during the year, I do recommend getting a souvenir cup, and taking advantage of the discounted refills. You can bring that cup in with you to future games, but no other outside food and beverage can be brought in. All University of Arizona facilities are currently serving Coca-Cola products. Also, there are never really any problems with having long lines at any of the concession stands; they get everyone through pretty fast throughout the game.
There are also a couple of extra food items offered in the several concourses at Arizona Stadium. Chunks of the stadium are sectioned off from each other, so you may have to go through the stands to get to other areas if you can't find what you're looking for in your particular area. Some concession stands offer barbeque sandwiches for $6, which are very big, and very tasty. There are also personal sized pizzas from Dominos available for $8, as well as El Charro stands set up on the east and west sides of the stadium.
This year, the spectacular views from the stadium have been obstructed by the ongoing construction on the north end. However, if you sit up high, either in the suites on the west side, or the upper deck on the east side, you can still take in the foothills surrounding Tucson, and be able to look at all of campus, downtown Tucson, and the surrounding areas which are pretty cool from up high.
Since the west side press box and suites are so high, the sun is not too big of a problem for either side of the stadium if they do happen to play a day game. Most games at Arizona Stadium are played at night, which later on in the year can get very cold because the wind just swirls around and makes it uncomfortable unless you have a jacket or sweater. I would recommend not sitting on the south end of the stadium, especially this year, because the video board is behind you. If you sit there it makes it sort of awkward if you want to see the replay of the last big play, or get a good view of the score. There is currently a scoreboard on the north end, but can be sort of confusing to read and does not have any video board with it.
The Wildcats enter the stadium in the northwest corner, coming through a tunnel formed by the Pride of Arizona Marching Band after they perform their traditional pregame show to the west side. You want to make sure you always see the Pride of Arizona perform pregame, halftime, and coming down 6th Street before the game this year. The U of A bench is on the east side, right in front of Zonazoo (the student section). Zonazoo takes up the entire lower half of the east side of the stadium. Only students can sit here, so if you are general public and want to sit on the east side you'll have to sit in the upper level.
Prior to each home game, there is tons of tailgating along "The Mall" at U of A, which is a long grassy area that goes through the middle of campus along 3rd Street. If you would rather go to a sports bar before the game, Dirtbags and Trident are both near the corner of Speedway and Campbell, and are both easily walkable to the stadium.
There is also University Boulevard, which has tons of restaurants, bars, and shops that you can enjoy before and after the game. It is located just west of the main part of campus between Park Ave. and Euclid. And if you would like to drive somewhere, Fourth Ave. has even more choices for you. There is a lot of construction on Fourth Ave this year (2012) though, so it is a little more difficult to find parking in that area than it has been in the past.
There are very few strong fan traditions at Arizona football games. The one that everyone knows is jingling your keys in the air prior to each and every kickoff during the game. Also, after the 1st and 3rd quarters, a U of A chant goes throughout the entire stadium. New this 2012 season is that the Pride of Arizona now plays the fight song Bear Down after every Wildcat score, instead of playing the original fight song Fight Wildcats like they used to do.
Arizona fans are probably known somewhat for their hostility to opposing teams fans. Arizona Stadium is not exactly the most welcoming place for out of town fans, but they can sit in the designated away team section, which is in the southwest corner of the stadium. The west side is a better place to sit if you are coming from out of town anyway; there are way fewer students and new alumni on that side compared to the east and south sides.
Arizona Stadium is located on the southeast corner of campus, near the intersection of 6th St. and Campbell Ave. There are several parking options on game days. There are many parking garages on campus that charge varying rates depending on how close they are to the stadium. Most surface lots are restricted to tailgate specific cars, so garages are the best bet for on campus parking. There are also lots south of 6th St. that you can pay to park in, or you can park for free on the sides of the street. You can also park on the sides of the streets just east of Campbell Ave. This is what I recommend doing, since most of the time, you end up with closer parking on the curb in these places compared to where some of the garages on campus are located. There is also the option of parking at the Hi Corbett Field, and taking the Sun Tran, which provides a shuttle from Hi Corbett to Arizona Stadium starting 2 hours prior to kickoff for just $3. This is a good idea if you don't want to walk very far, but don't want to pay a bunch of money to park in the Cherry Ave. garage right next to the stadium. For those Wildcat fans in the Greater Phoenix Area, there is a special bus that you can sign up for that has a few different pick up locations and will shuttle you down to Tucson and back up to Phoenix after the game.
It is very easy to get into the stadium, quick security check if you have a bag, and the concourses are usually not too crowded, so walking around your particular area of the stadium is easy. The different areas of the stadium are sectioned off from each other though, so if you are in the south end, you are stuck there. The west side is its own chunk, the Zonazoo half of the east side and the upper half of the east side are also their own sections. Your gate number is on your ticket, and you need to make sure to go to that gate so that you can get to your seat easily.
Individual game ticket prices range anywhere from $13-$231 depending on the opponent, and where in the stadium you want to sit. To get a decent ticket against a good opponent this 2012 year such as USC or Arizona State, expect to pay somewhere between $30 and $50, which isn't so bad for a high level college football game these days. There really are no bad seats in Arizona Stadium, you just have to decide if you want to be high in the upper level along the sidelines, or in the south endzone, be closer to the field, but not have a view of the video board. It all depends on your preferences. I recommend printing your tickets at home before going to the game so you don't have to stand in line at the ticket window at McKale Center. The pricing of food makes it easier to take your whole family to a game though, since you won't have to spend a fortune on dinner at the game.
The lack of a strong football tradition shows in the stadium as well. There is a ring of honor for those players and coaches that are legends in the football program (Bruschi, Cason, Chuck Cecil, Lance Briggs, among others). And there is also a banner for each bowl game, which is not a very impressive list compared to other Pac-12 programs.
There are on-field fireworks when the team runs out before each game which is pretty cool. After each game, the Pride of Arizona marching band does a parade through campus to the Administration building and Alumni Plaza where they do a postgame concert that is finished off by the ringing of the bell from the USS Arizona.
Take part in the pregame festivities and enjoy the Wildcat walk...try to hang with the Red Army and then join one of the greatest atmospheres in Pac-12 football!
1800 East Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85719
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