ASU launches Sun Devil Stadium fundraising campaign

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University kicked off a public fund-raising drive in conjunction with its plan to rebuild iconic Sun Devil Stadium.

The university has committed to invest $210 million to rebuild the aging stadium. The public campaign's purpose is to raise $50 million in private donations to complete a full renovation that includes upgraded amenities to enhance the fan experience.

The campaign will not use taxpayer dollars towards this renovation, since it will be self-funded through private donations and new revenue streams.

"Arizona State University takes pride in its status as an elite institution with an elite athletics program," said ASU President Michael Crow. "Sun Devil Stadium has been a landmark in the Valley for the last 56 years. The plan to renovate Sun Devil Stadium gives ASU an opportunity to increase our investment in the community and to set the standard for collegiate athletics facilities. We will need philanthropic support from our community in order to provide features that will take the game experience to a new level."

The proposed plan will completely renovate Sun Devil Stadium, while preserving Tillman Tunnel and retaining the stadium in its iconic setting between the Tempe/Hayden Buttes. Construction on the stadium is scheduled to begin in 2015, with the football team competing in Sun Devil Stadium throughout the renovation. Moving games to an off-site venue would negatively impact the game-day experience for ASU students, season ticket holders, student-athletes, as well as the Tempe Community.

"Sun Devil Stadium is the cornerstone of the legacy and tradition of Arizona State football," said head football coach Todd Graham. "It was important to keep intact that same tunnel that Pat Tillman ran onto the field from on game day. This venue will blend that tradition with all the elements of a top-tier facility and put us at the top of the league."

To enhance the quality of the game-day experience, fans will enjoy: more legroom, seats and benches with backs, an increased number of restrooms with enhanced quality, a premiere video board and sound system, and an ADA compliant stadium, among many other a long list of amenities.

The impact of the renovation is extends beyond athletics and will have positive effects on Arizona State University, the community and the local Valley economy.

Sun Devil Athletics will utilize the inherent media interest that surrounds college football to extend ASU's prominence on a national stage and showcase the best the University has to offer. After the 1997 Rose Bowl, applications to Arizona State increased by nearly 15 percent from the previous season. More recently, The Arizona Republic called the 2013 Pac-12 Championship, held at Sun Devil Stadium, a "giant commercial for school and state". Sun Devil Athletics hosts an average of 180 events per year at its athletics facilities for a total economic impact of a little over $209 million for the Valley.

Sun Devil Stadium, which was originally constructed in 1958, has played host to the Super Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, NFL games, and has appeared in several movies including the Oscar-nominated "Jerry Maguire".

Sun Devil Athletics took feedback through surveys, focus groups, and fan feedback to create the latest rendering. Fans overwhelmingly support the renovation of Sun Devil Stadium, but they don't want it to lose its identity and traditions, including the ability to see fireworks after touchdowns. Based on the fan feedback and the additional cost of adding a shade canopy ($132 million), the decision was made to exclude a shade canopy. The goal is to maintain the look and feel of Sun Devil Stadium while completely reshaping the amenities and infrastructure to enhance the overall experience.

The last major renovation to Sun Devil Stadium came in 1988 when 1,700 seats were added to bring the facility to its current capacity of 71,706. The scheduled removal of the north end zone, announced in the fall of 2013, will take place next month and is not part of the renovation project.

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