Arizona is renowned for its vibrant sports culture and a penchant for grand entertainment. Within its vast and diverse landscape lie large stadiums, each serving as a stage for thrilling athletic competitions, electrifying concerts, and memorable events.
From the colossal State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home to the Arizona Cardinals, to the iconic Mountain America Stadium in Tempe, where the Arizona State University Sun Devils roar to life, these stadiums not only stand as architectural marvels but also embody the heart and soul of the communities they serve. Let’s explore the biggest stadiums in Arizona.
1. State Farm Stadium (63,400)
State Farm Stadium, formerly known as the University of Phoenix Stadium, is located in Glendale’s western part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. It is one of the largest and most iconic stadiums in the state. Completed in 2006, the stadium is the home of the Arizona Cardinals, an NFL team, since its opening. The stadium also hosts college football games, college bowls, Super Bowls, international soccer games, and concerts.
For football games, the seating capacity is approximately 63,400. However, for special events, it can expand to over 72,000. State Farm Stadium is designed to provide a world-class experience for spectators. It has three levels of seating, several luxury suites, and club-level seating options for fans seeking a premium experience. The stadium also includes high-definition video screens and a cutting-edge sound system.
It has a retractable roof and field. The roof is made of a translucent fabric called “Bird-Air” and can be opened or closed in about 12 minutes. It is closed to shield against the scorching Arizona sun or inclement weather. The field can be rolled out of the stadium on tracks when not in use, allowing for a versatile space to host various events.
Visitors will find the Westgate Entertainment District, an adjacent shopping, dining, and entertainment complex outside the stadium. This area often comes alive with pre-game and post-game activities, making it a popular destination for fans and families attending events at the stadium.
- Super Bowl XLII (2008): The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in a game that is remembered for the “David Tyree catch.”
- Super Bowl XLIX (2015): The New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.
- College Football Playoff National Championship (2016): The stadium hosted the championship game between Clemson and Alabama, won by Clemson 35-31.
- International Soccer Matches: State Farm Stadium hosted numerous international soccer matches, including Copa America Centenario matches in 2016 and Gold Cup matches.
- Concerts: The stadium welcomed some of the biggest names in music, including U2, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and more.
2. Mountain America Stadium (53,599)
Mountain America Stadium, formerly known as Sun Devil Stadium, is situated on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. It has a rich history dating back to its opening in 1958. The stadium was initially constructed with a capacity of around 30,000 spectators but has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years.
Over the years, the stadium’s capacity has fluctuated due to these renovations. Since the last renovation, it has a capacity of 53,599 spectators. Its capacity can change with seating adjustments. Renovations have aimed to modernize the facility, enhance fan experiences, and improve safety standards.
It is the home of the ASU Sun Devils football team, a member of the Pac-12 Conference. The tradition of “Fear the Fork” and ASU’s maroon and gold colors are on full display during football season. The atmosphere is always electric during the Sun Devils football games.
The NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, played in the stadium from 1988 to 2005. Outside of the football season, the stadium hosts other events.
- Super Bowl XXX (1996): The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17.
- Pac-12 Football Championship (2013): In 2013, Stanford won the Pac-12, beating ASU in their home stadium, 38-14.
- Fiesta Bowl: The stadium hosted the Fiesta Bowl, a college football bowl game every year between 1971 and 2006.
- Pat Tillman Tribute: The stadium has been a site for tributes to Pat Tillman, a former ASU football player and Army Ranger who lost his life in Afghanistan. The Pat Tillman Memorial Statue stands outside the stadium.
- High School Football: Sun Devil Stadium has been a venue for Arizona high school football championships, allowing young athletes to experience the atmosphere of a significant college stadium.
- Arizona State Graduations: Mountain America Stadium is also the site of Arizona State University’s commencement ceremonies, where thousands of students celebrate their academic achievements.
- Concerts and Special Events: Beyond sports, the stadium has hosted concerts by world-renowned artists and various special events, bringing entertainment to the community.
3. Arizona Stadium (50, 782)
Arizona Stadium is located at the University of Arizona in Tucson, in southern Arizona. The stadium opened in 1929 with a capacity of 7,000 seats. Over the decades, it has undergone several renovations and expansions to meet modern standards and accommodate the growing fan base.
Since its last renovation in 2019, the stadium can seat 50,782 spectators. However, the seating capacity can change with seating adjustments. It features a mix of chairback seats, bleachers, and luxury suites, offering various viewing options for spectators.
Arizona Stadium is the home field of the University of Arizona Wildcats football team. The Wildcats compete in the Pac-12 Conference, and home games at Arizona Stadium are a centerpiece of the university’s sports calendar. Like many college football stadiums, Arizona Stadium provides an electric atmosphere on game days, with fans passionately supporting the University of Arizona Wildcats.
- Inaugural Game (1928): Arizona Stadium opened its doors on October 12, 1929, with a game between the University of Arizona Wildcats and Caltech Beavers.
- Arizona Bowl: Arizona Stadium has hosted the Arizona Bowl every year since 2015. This bowl game matches the Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences. The inaugural game was between the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Colorado State Rams.
- High School Football: The stadium is also a venue for Arizona high school football games and championships.
- University Commencement: The stadium has served as the venue for the University of Arizona’s commencement ceremonies, marking a significant milestone for graduating students.
- Concerts: It has been the site of several concerts, including Fleetwood Mac in 1977 and a Jay-Z and Kelly Clarkson concert in 2009.
4. Chase Field (48,405)
This iconic stadium, located in Downtown Phoenix, opened in 1998. It was built during a wave of brand-new, baseball-only parks in the 90s. Chase Field is one of the largest baseball stadiums in the United States and the world. With 48,405 seats, it ranks 4th in the U.S. and the world.
Since its opening, it is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB). It hosts dozens of baseball games each season. It ranks as the 27th best in the MLB, also fourth-to-last.
Chase Field was the first stadium in the country to have a retractable roof. This retractable, translucent roof allows the stadium to remain climate-controlled, making it suitable for baseball games even during the scorching Arizona summers. The ability to open or close the roof gives the venue flexibility in hosting non-baseball events. This season, in 2023, the roof can not be retracted for safety reasons after a cable ruptured.
But its most notable feature is not its roof but its pool. Chase Field has a swimming pool in the outfield, available for rent as part of a suite that can host 35 guests. For $3,500 a game, it offers stunning views and a relaxing time. But spectators should be careful; home runs are often hit into the pool. In 2011, Mark Grace was the first player to do so.
There have been discussions about the future of Chase Field and either renovating it or building a new stadium for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Negotiations have been going on for months between the club and officials.
- MLB All-Star Game (2011): Chase Field hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2011. The National League won 5-1 against the American League.
- World Series (2001): The Arizona Diamondbacks won their first and only World Series championship in 2001 against the New York Yankees.
- Randy Johnson’s 300th Win: In 2009, Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson achieved his 300th career win while playing for the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field.
- No-Hitters: Chase Field has been the site of several no-hitters in MLB history, including a perfect game pitched by Edwin Jackson while playing for the Diamondbacks in 2010.
- Barry Bonds’ Record-Breaking Home Run: In 2004, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 700th career home run at Chase Field.
- College Bowl: Chase Field, since 2016, has hosted the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. It matches up teams from the Big Ten and the Big 12 Conferences.
- Concerts: Beyond baseball, Chase Field has hosted numerous shows by renowned artists and bands, contributing to its status as an entertainment venue.
- Monster Jam: The stadium has also hosted events featuring monster trucks performing stunts and thrilling audiences.
5. Desert Diamond Arena (19,000)
Desert Diamond Arena is the current name of an indoor arena, known before as the Glendale Arena and the Gila River Arena. It is located just north of State Farm Stadium. Opened in December 2023, this multi-purpose arena is integral to the vast $1 billion Westgate Entertainment District, a mixed-use development that includes shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
This arena can seat 17,125 people during ice hockey games and has a maximum capacity of 19,000. The arena boasts modern amenities and features to enhance the visitor experience. It includes luxury suites, club-level seating, a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, and various dining options.
This arena was home since its opening to the Arizona Coyotes, a National Hockey League (NHL) team. Between 2015 and 2019, the ASU Sun Devils hockey team played some games in the arena, offering more seating to fans. It played a crucial role in the growth of ice hockey in Arizona.
However, in 2021, the city of Glendale chose not to renew its agreement with the Arizona Coyotes. In response, the Coyotes said they would look for a site to build a new stadium. Mesa and the East Valley are, for now, the preferred options. The target for the team is to have a brand-new stadium ready for the 2026-2027 season. While waiting, the Coyotes play their home games at Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena. But this arena only has 4,600 seats for NHL games, drastically reducing their fan base.
It is now the home venue of the PBR’s Arizona Ridge Riders during the PBR Team Series season, held from the summer to autumn. PBR is an international professional bull-riding organization.
- Concerts: Desert Diamond Arena is one of Arizona’s best spots for concerts. Since its opening, it has hosted dozens of shows from the most well-known celebrities. Many artists performed in the arena: Elton John, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a lot more.
- UFC Fights: The arena hosted a lot of UFC fights, including the highest-grossing event in the venue’s history. In 2021, 17,208 guests attended UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2; the revenue was $4,281,800.
- High School Games: Every year, the arena hosts an event called “February Frenzy.” It consists of basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and cheerleading tournaments with high school athletes from all over the state.
- Indoor Football: The arena welcomed the Arizona Rattlers arena/indoor football team when their home arena, the Footprint Center, was unavailable due to other events.
6. Footprint Center (17,071)
The Footprint Center, formerly known as the Phoenix Suns Arena, is in downtown Phoenix’s heart. This stadium was built as a multi-purpose arena in 1992.
The arena’s seating capacity for basketball games is 17,071. However, this number increases for concerts and decreases for hockey games and other events. The venue offers a variety of seating options, including premium suites, club seats, and standard seating, providing a diverse range of experiences for attendees. The arena was renovated twice, once in 2003 and recently in 2020.
As its former name indicates, the Footprint Center is the home of the Phoenix Suns. The team has been playing in this stadium since its opening. Along with the Suns, the Arizona Rattlers, an indoor football team, started to play in the arena. The team still uses it now.
From 1996 to 2003, the Phoenix Coyotes (NHL) played their first seven seasons in the arena. A year later, in 1997, the Phoenix Mercury, a WNBA team, started to play in the arena and still do today.
- Wrestling events: The arena hosts annual professional wrestling events like WWE Raw or All Elite Wrestling.
- Various events: The arena also welcomes UFC and boxing fights, MMA events, and bull riding competitions.
- Concerts: Footprint Center has a packed schedule due to the many sports team that uses it. However, it is a popular concert spot. It welcomed shows of Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Shakira and more.
Summary of the 6 Biggest Stadiums in Arizona
|State Farm Stadium
|Mountain America Stadium
|Desert Diamond Arena
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dreamframer/Shutterstock.com
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