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.
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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 huge 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's even a Jamba Juice set up behind the student section in the southeast corner of the stadium. There are only one or two of each of these stands, but walking the concourse is pretty easy, and it is extremely wide so it is pretty easy to get around the entire stadium in just a few minutes. 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.
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.
The student section definitely brings it when it comes to making noise and giving the stadium a bit of electricity. Fireworks before the game and after every touchdown also help get the crowd going. There are also constant reminders of the rich history of ASU football throughout the stadium, with all of the past bowl games listed in the north endzone, and the ring of honor in the south endzone. If you don't mind a lot of yellow, then you will enjoy your visit.
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 and aquatic center. 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 other assorted attractions, there is something for everyone. There are also plenty of other options along University, College and Rural Rd. All of it within walking distance of the stadium.
Outside of the student section, the stadium is mostly empty. Despite the lack of people, the stadium is still noisy, mostly due to the student section and the enormous marching band ASU now has. The people that do show up are definitely dedicated Devils fans, and aren't afraid to show it during the game.
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. 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. You can take the light rail if you are coming from somewhere else in the valley, which would be a good option if you are just looking to go to the game and head straight home afterwards.
I did also notice 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 could lead to problems for some of the fans, especially the Devils students that started tailgating well before kickoff.
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. Based on some of the attendance figures that ASU has been putting up over the last few years, and their recent futility and coaching changes, the price probably needs to come down a little bit to attract more people to the games instead of letting them sit at home and watch them on Pac-12 Network.
Luckily the food prices are relatively cheap for stadium fare. Combined with parking, it can get pretty expensive to go see a team that has struggled in recent years.
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.
The Sun Devils have an interesting addition to their endzones this year. In the new social media era, they have the hashtag #FEARTHEFORK and the athletics department twitter handle @THESUNDEVILS painted into the field at both ends. There is also a texting hotline in the stadium where fans can report any complaints to game operations.
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. Tillman is the gold standard of Arizona State athletics, and he has left a lasting mark on the entire campus, especially Sun Devil Stadium.
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