Arizona boasts a rich tradition of hosting major sporting events

When Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium hosts the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, it will mark the eighth time college football’s national champion has been crowned in Arizona.

Arizona’s first experience in hosting a national title game came on Jan. 2, 1987, when second-ranked Penn State upset No. 1 Miami, 14-10, at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium in a game billed as “The Battle for Number One” by national media.

The Fiesta Bowl went on to host six more national title games, including two BCS Championships, most recently in 2011 when the Auburn Tigers edged the Oregon Ducks, 22-19.

Arizona also has hosted three Super Bowls, a Pro Bowl and soon will add an NCAA Final Four (2017) to its resume.

Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1, 2015) marked the third time Arizona hosted the world’s biggest one-day sporting event. The Pro Bowl (Jan. 25, 2015) made its Arizona debut and became just the second Pro Bowl played outside of Hawaii since 1980.

Miami hosted both games in 2010, but Honolulu has been the traditional Pro Bowl host since 1980 and will host the game again this year.

The following is a partial list of major sporting events that have taken place in the Grand Canyon State.

College Football National Championship Games – 7 previously hosted, 1 scheduled

1987 Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 2, 1987 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
#2 Penn State 14, #1 Miami 10 

1989 Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 2, 1989 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
#1 Notre Dame 34, #3 West Virginia 21

1996 Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 2, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
#1 Nebraska 62, #2 Florida 24

1999 Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 4, 1999 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
#1 Tennessee 23, #2 Florida State 16

2003 Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 3, 2003 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
#2 Ohio State 31, #1 Miami 24 (2OT)

2007 BCS Championship Game

Jan. 8, 2007 at University of Phoenix Stadium
#2 Florida 41, #1 Ohio State 14

2011 BCS Championship Game

Jan. 10, 2011 at University of Phoenix Stadium
#1 Auburn 22, #2 Oregon 19

2016 College Football Playoff

Jan. 11, 2016 at University of Phoenix Stadium

Super Bowls – 

Super Bowl XXX

Jan. 29, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State University
Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Super Bowl XLII

Feb. 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium
New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14

Super Bowl XLIX

Feb. 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium
New England Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24 

NFL Pro Bowl – 1

2015 Pro Bowl

Jan. 25, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium

NCAA Basketball Men’s Final Four – 1 scheduled

2017 – April 1-3, 2017 at University of Phoenix Stadium

NBA Championship Series – 2 (both deciding games in Phoenix)

1976 – Boston Celtics defeated Phoenix Suns, 4-2

1993 – Chicago Bulls defeated Phoenix Suns, 4-2

MLB World Series – 1 (Game 7 in Phoenix)

2001 – Arizona Diamondbacks defeated New York Yankees, 4-3 

NBA All-Star Games – 3

Jan. 14, 1975 at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Phoenix, AZ

Feb. 12, 1995 at America West Arena – Phoenix, AZ

Feb. 15, 2009 at U.S. Airways Center – Phoenix, AZ

MLB All-Star Games – 1

July 12, 2011 at Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ

1993 U.S. Figure Skating Championships – 1

Jan. 17-23, 1993 at America West Arena

For more information on this topic and others see the official Arizona travel and vacation guide from the Arizona Office of Tourism at

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