Built in between the Tempe Buttes, Sun Devil Stadium - 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 after several expansions, the stadium holds 71,706.
In 1996, the Frank Kush Field name was added prior to a game against #1 Nebraska, which the Sun Devils went on to win 19-0. That season resulted in one of two appearances in school history in the Rose Bowl for ASU.
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. Since the Fiesta Bowl left, the stadium has hosted the Insight Bowl, which is now known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. This bowl game features teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 each year. It was also the home of four College Football National Championship Games (1988, 1996, 1999, and 2003) and Super Bowl XXX.
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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".
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. There are only one or two of each of these stands, but walking around the main concourse of SDS is very easy. And if you're not in a hot dog and nachos mood, it is definitely worthwhile to hunt down the other options. None of them are very pricey either, with the most expensive thing being just under 10 bucks.
A lot of food stands are also found in the south endzone, 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".
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.
Most fans enter through the south gates, which is where the main ticket office is, as well as Wells Fargo Arena, the ASU basketball arena. From there, 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 Arizona St. bench is on the east side (sections 27-30), and the student section is in the southeast corner of the stadium. The Sun Devils run out through the tunnel in the south endzone, while the visiting team comes out from the northwest corner.
The visiting band as well as fans sit in the northeast corner of the stadium, and can be found throughout the upper level on both sides. I think containing the student section to one corner of the stadium hurts the home-field advantage a little bit, but not too much.
The vast majority of seats are simple metal benches, but you can bring in your own seatback. 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, and you don't have to deal with concession and bathroom line issues near the student section.
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 four banner scoreboards, one on each side. Each of them show the score, time, and timeouts remaining for both teams.
A couple of on-field promotions happen during TV timeouts, but nothing spectacular. I did see a guy during a potato sack race do a backflip into the endzone, so there's that. Sparky the Sun Devil is not really utilized or highlighted very much during the game either.
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, Packard Stadium just a block down the road, as well as the softball stadium, aquatic center and track stadium.
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 gamedays.
There are also plenty of other options along University, College and Rural Rd. All of it within walking distance of the stadium. 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 were people tailgating on the top level of the parking garage. There's tons of tailgating on the north side of the stadium along Rio Salado, and also on the east side or Rural. It's very easy to find somewhere to tailgate though.
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 readily, 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 gets 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 really no real unique chants or traditions outside of the ASU fight song, which most people don't know the words to anyway.
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. 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 though.
You can take the Valley Metro light rail if you are coming from somewhere else in the valley. 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 also noticed that some people were having problems picking up their tickets at the main ticket window on the south side of the stadium. There were many people getting sent either to Wells Fargo Arena, or clear to the other side of Sun Devil Stadium, even though they were trying to get their tickets at the main ticket office. So if you are picking up tickets, make sure you know which ticket office you need to go to.
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.
Single game ticket prices can get pretty expensive for ASU games, ranging anywhere from $25-$300. To sit in the lower bowl, expect to pay somewhere near $100 per ticket. It's sort of surprising that tickets are so expensive since the stadium never 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 St. football is not exactly a bargain.
The student section for ASU games is very large, and very visible with their bright yellow shirts. It's pretty entertaining to watch and listen to them just to see what kind of stuff they'll do to try and distract the opposing offense. The band being in the opposite endzone of the student section gives the Sun Devil faithful the chance to distract the opposing team throughout the game with yelling or music, and fills the stadium with noise from all sides.
There is a texting hotline in the stadium where fans can report any complaints to game operations. Just text "Sparky
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 Cardinals in the NFL. Tillman's sports legacy was made in Sun Devil Stadium, playing his entire college and pro career here. 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.
Built in between the Tempe Buttes, Sun Devil Stadium, 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, and located in the heart of a booming entertainment district, it has a very unique look and feel. Built in 1958, it originally had a capacity of 30,000. Now after several expansions, the stadium holds 71,706.
In 1996, the Frank Kush Field name was added prior to a game against #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 the Fiesta Bowl from 1971-2006 before both moved to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Since the Fiesta Bowl left, the stadium has hosted the Insight Bowl, which is known this year as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. This bowl game features teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 each year. It was also the home of four National Championship Games (1988, 1996, 1999, and 2003). Super Bowl XXX was also played here.
Fun neighborhood and a good fan base make Sun Devil Stadium a worthwhile place to visit. I did not tailgate and was staying close enough to walk, which is what I recommend, that way you can enjoy the many establishments nearby. Tickets are easily available from secondary sellers before the game. It does take a while to get up to the top level, but you can walk around the very top of the building here, something you rarely see.
I love the atmosphere of SDS when the program is doing well...and we're doing well so SDS rocks. The location is amazing both physically being between mountains and next to Tempe Town Lake, as well as right by Mill Avenue where all the party action is.
But as far as restrooms, food available and comfort, our stadium is severely lacking. Fortunately renovation is coming...and soon!
GO SUN DEVILS!!!
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