Matthew Futterman, a writer for the Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Arizona Cardinals President, Michael Bidwell. Highlighting the Arizona Cardinals rise to prominence this season, and ultimately, a trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The difference, Bidwell states, from being the Cardinals of old, to today was first building and moving into a first class facility. After migrating the Cardinals from St. Louis in 1988, their home had been sharing the Arizona State University facility. Moving away from Arizona State had been the goal from the beginning. However, putting a mediocre product on the field each week, to crowds averaging 35,000 fans, was not very convincing to those who were asked to fund such a project. The time spent in Arizona State granted them only 12 sell-outs.
Moving into the University of Phoenix (the for-profit online school) Stadium, has provided a revenue stream has attract the talent (players, coaches, and administration) necessary to compete at a high level. Revenue generated from the stadium that the did not have access to includes, parking, attractive suites, naming rights, and more sponsor sinage.
I find it very interseting that the Cardinals consider the turning point for their current success the building of a new stadium. They had looked at a trend across the NFL and saw that teams with newer stadiums were the ones having more and better success. I think that this is a trend that could be refuted when looking at other sports like Basketball or Baseball.
The Bidwell's plan has been successful thus far. Their final test will be on Sunday as they take on the Pittsburg Steelers.