ASU Football: Sun Devil Stadium renovation plans revealed

ASU Athletics

Arizona State is turning heads with the announcement of stadium renovation plans on Tuesday night.

Since 1958, the Arizona State football team has called Sun Devil Stadium home and on Tuesday night, the Sun Devils learned that their home will be receiving major upgrades.

Last April, Arizona State released initial renderings announcing renovation plans for Sun Devil Stadium. University President Michael Crow has insisted on making fans' visits to Sun Devil Stadium a unique, one-of-a-kind experience and the initial plan called for some surprising changes.

Future Cities, a Valley developer, created the first renderings last year which included designs of a canopy to be installed over the stadium. On Tuesday, the revised renderings left no trace of a canopy to block out the heat, and instead allocated money for more technology-based upgrades.

The updated renderings revealed on Tuesday night in a press release from Arizona State include proposed plans to replace lower bowl treads to allow for more legroom, a new state-of-the-art video board, a terrace for events on the north plaza, open-air club level seating, and a brand new student section.

In the press release, Todd Graham reiterated Crow's vision for the stadium and characterized why playing in Sun Devil Stadium is so important for the football program.

"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."

The most revolutionary element of the upgraded Sun Devil Stadium is the addition of a scrim, or "video ribbon" that will project images and video off of the stadium to visitors outside the stadium. The video scrim is uncharted territory for stadium developers, and will obviously require a great attention to detail to prove effective and worthwhile.

Arizona State estimates that each Sun Devil home game puts more than $10 million into the Valley economy and each Sun Devil football victory brings in roughly $1 million in academic donations. Renovating Sun Devil Stadium is no longer an option, it's an economic necessity.

On Tuesday, President Crow announced that Arizona State will pour $210 million into the project and will rely on economic support of alumni and boosters, revenue from the Pac-12 conference, stadium naming rights and other options to help offset the total costs of the renovation.

There is no timetable for how long the renovations will take, but if the renderings are approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona State will break ground on the project in the spring of 2015. During the process, the Sun Devils will continue to compete in Sun Devil Stadium which means that finding an alternative site to host games during the construction is no longer necessary.

One of the biggest changes that Sun Devil Stadium will undergo as a result of the process is a reduction in the stadium's capacity. The renovated stadium will hold 60,000 spectators which represents a 15 percent drop from the 71,000+ fans the stadium currently holds.

As for the controversial canopy, that idea has been nixed as the cost of installing a canopy over Sun Devil Stadium would have represented about one-third of the entire price of the project.

An entire breakdown of the project can be found on the Arizona State athletics' website. The pictures and videos provide a clear picture of the plans for making Sun Devil Stadium the home of Arizona State football for years to come.

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