Tuesday was an interesting day. Despite an uneventful look into Kansas State’s practice, Oregon and Kansas State weren’t available to the media. It represented a little calm before the storm to come ahead.
The Fiesta Bowl dominates most of the gossip around the city. Especially interested are Arizona Cardinals fans, some of whom hope their team will make a push to hire Ducks head coach Chip Kelly to fill their head coaching vacancy. Former head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired earlier this week after six seasons with the team.
Isaac, Alex and I arranged a meeting with Scott Norton, director of marketing and public relations for the University of Phoenix Stadium. Norton has been working with the group since shortly before the stadium opened in 2006. It came with a $455 million price tag that the City of Glendale (it’s proper location), the Cardinals and Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority all chipped in to pay.
“The Cardinals play here,” Norton said, “but we also hosts concerts, soccer matches, RV conventions, you name it.”
During our brief visit, we got to see them close the retractable roof. The roof was opened to give the roll-out natural grass field some sun but will stay closed during the game on Jan. 3. Norton said the translucent roof is the first built on an incline.
“The field allows us to do so many different events,” Norton said. “And the fact that it’s climate controlled — it’s so nice. Back when (the Cardinals) were at Sun Devil, it was just torture going to those games because it was so hot.”
I’ve been to Cowboys Stadium, and University of Phoenix Stadium doesn’t come quite close to that. But it’s still extremely impressive. Plus, each seat in the arena (upward of 63,000, Norton said, but the Fiesta Bowl committee is in charge of attendance numbers for the game) is equipped with its own personal bag of Tostitos chips.
Hopefully they won’t become projectiles for angry fans later this week.