Arizona Cardinals: Are They Linked to the City of Glendale Forever?
Jun. 11, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Arizona Cardinals linebacker Reggie Walker during mini camp at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Consider the fact that up until 2006 the Arizona Cardinals had no place to call home. Every year after the next they made do at the local university in the city of Tempe. Arizona State University stadium was an open air, no frills college atmosphere.
The Cardinals endured a long search and a hotly contested bidding process between cities until they broke ground for a new stadium in 2003. Since 2006, the City of Glendale has endured a Super Bowl, BCS National Championship game and unlimited sold out Cardinal games.
Throw in another Super Bowl in 2015, and the city and the team seems to have reaped the rewards together. There were obstacles both social and economic. The hurdle of finding a city to build in were minuscule at the time when having a state MLK day approved or deciding in free land or paying for it.
Ultimately those things were resolved and the city and the team are still in its infant stages of a 20-year agreement with a Phoenix based company The University of Phoenix for naming rights. Off of this agreement the Cardinals capitalize more than any other team in the NFC West by almost double. They receive 100% of their agreement with the University, around $155 million.
The city, meanwhile, received at the time one of the most high-tech stadiums in the world, at least until the Dallas Cowboys spent $1 billion on their playpen. However, it gave fans a home, a nest as they call it. One that had been sold out up until 2012 that started with a Super Bowl in 2009.
The team now plans to move its offseason program to the city next year giving them the use of the new bubble facility for the rest of the year outside of their camps. This arrangement could prove useful for youth sports throughout the valley if used properly. Having the access to use a multimillion indoor field will prove vital in a sun drenched environment and at no cost to the city with the team picking up the bill.
Tempe still has a hold on the team operations, as it still considers the city its headquarters. It will be interesting to see what the city can offer to get the team to be completely ran out of Glendale in the future. The ability for the Cardinals to follow a trend of getting closer to home for camps should reap rewards, as I’m sure there will be even more opportunity to capitalize off the increased fan participation.
There is a reason in 1993 they changed their names from the Phoenix Cardinals to their current name the Arizona Cardinals because back then the cities were not as defined and the team gave them a separation taking on the name of the state. Glendale still fighting is now making a name for itself.