When you were in college, did you look over at the school's football stadium, which thousands of students, alumni, and fans packed into on Saturdays in fall, and wonder what goes on the rest of the year?
For a lot of schools around the country, the answer to that question is "nothing." Stadiums sit empty year-round, only being used for a few games and the occasional campus tour for prospective students. It's a situation that Arizona State University wants to avoid.
"It's not a sustainable model," says Victor Hamburger, general manager of the ASU 365 Community Union. “Everyone in the world has been okay with these colossuses of sports sitting empty 95 percent of the time, and we’re not at ASU, and so we want to do different things.”
As the school was getting ready to renovate Sun Devil Stadium, a donor to the school came to them and refused to invest unless the facilities would be used year-around. From that idea, the school decided its new stadium should do a little more than host games.
Now, $307 million later, Sun Devil Stadium has added spaces for meetings, conferences, lectures, athletic and recreation events, and, of course, music. The new facilities will be able to host concerts, festivals, nightclub events, and more, and they plan on doing it year-round.
“It’s designed to have a lot of flexible space that can be used in different ways," Hamburger says.
Although the stadium's new facilities aren't totally finished – renovations of certain spaces is expected to run into 2019 – the ASU 365 Community Union has already begun hosting events there, from movie nights to community yoga classes.
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To kick things into high gear, the Union is hosting an October Concert Series at the venue's Coca-Cola Sun Deck, bringing four headliners as well as support from local acts. It all starts with a show by Amara La Negra on Tuesday, October 2, with Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra opening. The series continues with Old 97s on Wednesday, October 3, and Ella Vos on Thursday, October 4. Indie band Best Coast will close things out on Friday, October 5.
Community members outside of ASU can make use of the facilities as well by contacting the ASU 365 Community Union to reserve space. Rates vary by room size and restrictions apply depending on date of use.
"We're a public building," Hamburger says. “We want it to be an active space for anyone in the community to come.”
October Concert Series. With Amara La Negra, Best Coast, Ella Vos, and Old '97s. Tuesday, October 2, to Friday, October 5, at Coca-Cola Sun Deck at Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way, Tempe; asu365communityunion.com. Tickets for all four shows are $16.50 to $19.50 via Ticketmaster.