By Miles Aronson
It was no joke when over 10,000 passionate Phoenix Rising fans filled their new stadium to watch a 2-2 contest on April 1st.
Not only was it an intense game and atmosphere, it was the first home game of the season, as well as the debut of their new stadium, or perhaps, just their new location.
Phoenix Rising have had over five different locations they have called home since being founded in 2014.
From Scottsdale to Peoria to Tempe, the Rising have been all over the valley. Now in the 2023 season, the Rising have a new home in the heart of Arizona, finally putting the Phoenix in Phoenix Rising.
Rising’s Team President, Bobby Dulle, has been delighted with the new move.
“We are all thrilled with our new location,” Dulle said. “The central nature of the site is something were really proud of.”
The new home is on 38th Street and Washington which is adjacent to the Sky Harbor Airport.
Throughout gametime, planes are visible, and if caught at the right time during the national anthem, a landing can sound like an unofficial flyover.
There are many ways for fans all across Arizona to come to the games. Whether it’s the major freeways nearby or the 38th Street and Washington Valley Metro light rail stop which is across the street from the stadium.
“The partnership with Valley Metro has been great for us,” said Dulle. “We’ve seen an increased attendance on the light rail for matchdays.”
That increased attendance is roughly 150% according to Dulle. He mentioned that the accessibility has been something the front office has talked about a lot.
Being centralized allows the Rising to increase their available fan experience elements. Such events like tailgating and beverage specials can now take place which are experiences that Rising fans have missed out on.
“We have put emphasis on our fan experience, which our new location has allowed us to implement,” said Dulle.
“We come to the games a lot earlier now,” One Rising fan said. “Tailgating is something unique to sports and I am loving making some food, having some drinks, and watching as the fans pour in.”
The previous location was on the Indian reservation out at Wild Horse Pass Sports Complex.
While there have been many changes for the Phoenix Rising, one thing has stayed the same – the stadium.
What is in place now is the same stadium from the last location with a few minor changes.
“The deconstruction and reconstruction is a very fascinating process,” said Dulle. “That’s the beauty of having a modular stadium.”
There are many factors that go into a process this large.
Elements like the earthwork underneath the stadium as well as all the electrical and plumbing all needed to be considered.
“Our biggest challenge was the timeline,” said Dulle. “We were very familiar with the partners and builders and we knew the project could get done in time.”
Starting in late November, a process like this took time.
“There was a period of hiatus because the deconstruction was a lot quicker than the reconstruction,” said Dulle. “We had to wait until the site was truly ready to be set back up again.”
The Rising have also received a lot of positive feedback from the fans after their recent move.
Some saying the new location has presented a lot of opportunities for businesses.
“It was a little weird walking into the new location and seeing the exact stadium, however, I like it because it feels like home,” One fan said.
“It is always important to listen and learn from our fans,” said Dulle. “We are always looking for ways to improve and grow.”
As of now, there is no official name for the new location, however Dulle mentioned there were ongoing conversations for a potential naming rights deal.
Out of the four games that have been played at 38th Street and Washington, the Phoenix Rising are 2-2-0.
Their most recent win, a convincing 3-1 against Loudoun United, was their first USL League win at their new stadium.
The Phoenix Rising continue to expand their horizons, always looking to help the team but more importantly, the community.
“We are working on getting settled in and familiar with our new surroundings as we expand our fan base and partnerships,” said Dulle. “We strive to be the best on and off the field, and will continue to work as hard as we can to take this as far as possible.”
The Rising play at home again on Saturday May, 13th versus Hartford Athletic.