CHALLENGE. Unbeknownst to fans, hundreds of elements are orchestrated behind the scenes to produce the Super Bowl, the National Football League’s largest annual event. For nearly 30 consecutive years Populous has been the coordinating firm responsible for stadium remodeling, necessary additions, temporary facilities, operations planning and management for the entire Super Bowl campus.
In 2008 Populous needed to prepare University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, for Super Bowl XLII. The brand new stadium – designed by Populous – had yet to host a Super Bowl or any event comparable in scale. Populous not only had to prep the facility for its biggest event to date, but also had to satisfy continuously increasing fan expectations for a spectacular Super Bowl experience.
INNOVATION. The sports facilities Populous designs are purpose-built to host world-class, large-scale events, and University of Phoenix Stadium is no exception. From day one of the University of Phoenix Stadium’s design planning, Populous’ architects and event planners worked hand-in-hand to design the building with Super Bowl standards in mind. The resulting design allowed for utmost flexibility in producing a successful Super Bowl.
Creative utilization of seating capacity was evident during Super Bowl XLII. The Populous team maximized the stadium’s capacity by utilizing retractable and temporary seating that had been pre-designed during the original construction. Seating in the south end zone was transformed into a premium space known as the Oasis Club, which offered premium seating in a club setting with a private lounge. The club space was converted back to regular seating after the Super Bowl concluded.
Meticulous site planning allowed for activities leading up to the Super Bowl, such as the NFL Experience and NFL Tailgate, to smoothly function in the days before the game and on Game Day. Populous also created outdoor fan zones, coupled with concessions and other points of sale, which helped manage crowd traffic.
University of Phoenix Stadium’s unique features allowed Super Bowl XLII to be the first NFL championship game to be played on a retractable field and the second to be played in a stadium with a retractable roof.
IMPACT. With an intimate understanding of how sports facilities and sports events operate together, the event group took advantage of this opportunity to produce the Super Bowl in a Populous-designed facility. Super Bowl XLII has been regarded as one of the best in recent past, due to such factors as the fan experience, convenience of site layout, sight lines during the game to the field and festivities, suite areas and the overall festival experience. The success of Super Bowl XLII provided University of Phoenix Stadium operators an opportunity to host another world-scale event when they were awarded host duties for the 2015 Super Bowl.