ASU Football On the Move: The Case For Chase Field

Plans for the new Sun Devil Stadium include a gigantic shade canopy. - ASU Athletics

When Sun Devil Stadium undergoes renovations in 2015, where will the Sun Devils compete? We give our top three reasons why Arizona State should push to play at Chase Field.

As if a new coach, new uniforms and a new Sparky aren't enough, the list goes on.

While certain cherished aspects of Sun Devil culture will forever stay the same, other age-old traditions wait in line for their facelift.

After the last-second heroics to save the near-debacle of the "New Sparky", the athletic department has its hands full again with its next task.

In 2015, the beloved Sun Devil Stadium is slated for renovations that will force the Arizona State football team to find a temporary home.

By that time, the concrete jungle along Veterans Way will have withstood 56 seasons of football. While the stadium likely won't be rebuilt from scratch, the upgrades and enhancements will take long enough to put the Sun Devils on the move.

At the present time, there appears to be only two viable options to host the six 2015 Arizona State home games: University of Phoenix Stadium and Chase Field.

On the surface, competing at the University of Phoenix Stadium seems to make quite a bit of sense.

The stadium is built for football, has the seating capacity to rival a packed house at Sun Devil Stadium, and has proven to be a great college football site by hosting Fiesta Bowl games.

In contrast, Chase Field is built for baseball, cannot accommodate 50,000 fans in a football setting, and could be hosting Major League Baseball playoff games during the Sun Devils' season.

So why would Arizona State even consider Chase Field? Here's the three best reasons:

1) The Connections

For starters, university president Michael Crow and Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton work well together.

When Crow helped develop the plans for the downtown campus, he envisioned a sector of the university that would thrive in a unique environment and could still access and contribute to the Tempe campus. Today, nearly 10,000 students call Arizona State's downtown Phoenix campus home.

Furthermore, downtown Phoenix is a budding metropolis and Chase Field rests in the heart of this up and coming area. The downtown campus is just a 10-minute walk from Chase Field, and having the football team play there would be a vote of confidence for downtown students.

Arizona State has expanded far beyond Tempe, and building connections with the Phoenix community should continue to be a successful venture.

2) The Students

It's a sad reality that the massive student body at Arizona State makes up just a small portion of the crowd at Sun Devil home games. Though moving to Phoenix will likely hurt student attendance, moving to Glendale could eliminate a student presence completely.

Chase Field is accessible by light rail, which thousands of Arizona State students use anyway. University of Phoenix Stadium is not a public transportation hub, and it's also a 30-minute drive from the Tempe campus without traffic.

For six games, the Sun Devils will see their student attendance take a hit. However, the smaller the dip, the more likely students are to embrace the refurbished Sun Devil stadium a year later.

3) The Novelty

It might sound crazy, but playing football in a baseball stadium actually works. Fans enjoy the thought of seeing sports in different settings. Plus, preparing Chase Field for a football frenzy could get interesting.

In 2011, the Cal Bears played their home games at AT&T Park. While the Sun Devils didn't make the trip up north then, they did defeat Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park last year.

By that count, the Sun Devils are 1-0 under Todd Graham in baseball stadiums, so why not test the waters a little more? Kidding aside, it's only six games, so why not take advantage of the novelty factor to boost fan attendance and see if Arizona State can cultivate a following in Phoenix.

Bonus: The Commitment

On April 23rd, Arizona State announced a partnership with the City of Phoenix to relocate the Sun Devil baseball team to Phoenix Municipal Stadium in 2015. At the press conference, Michael Crow announced that the football team would also be moving to Phoenix and play at Chase Field.

However, the Diamondbacks brass rejected the notion that a deal had been negotiated between the university and the team.

So in the interest of saving another Sparky-like catastrophe, Arizona State should try to turn Crow's word into reality as soon as possible.

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