EXTREME STADIUM

By Joe Canfield and Amy McIff, Auxiliary Services

Rice-Eccles Stadium, the home of Utah football, has much more depth than the average visitor may realize. In addition to the handful of home games it hosts every year, the stadium has become one of Salt Lake City’s premiere venues for extreme sporting events and its staff is emerging as leaders in hosting and facilitating action sports.

Extreme sporting events have hundreds moving parts, and behind the scenes of all of them is the talented and skilled staff of the U’s Stadium & Arena Event Services. Each member of the team plays an important role, working closely with clients to plan and execute these highly complicated endeavors.

“Events like these bring a completely different crowd to our venue than the football fans we usually see,” said Kristy Holt, senior event manager for Stadium &Arena Event Services. “We work tirelessly with traveling event staff and it’s exciting to work with them. Because no two arenas or stadiums are the same, they’re constantly thinking outside of the box to pull these events off. It’s a great challenge for our team and we’ve learned a lot.”

Earlier this spring, Rice-Eccles Stadium transformed into a world-class Supercross venue.

By the numbers:

  • 22,400 yards of plastic, securely covering the stadium’s turf
  • 6,800 sheets of plywood
  • 600 truckloads of dirt
  • 5,500 cubic yards of dirt formed into a track of twists and jumps
  • 40,000 fans
  • Nine hours of high-octane speed and high-flying stunts

Later this month, stadium staff will again transform Rice-Eccles over a two-week period to host the second annual Nitro World Games on June 24. Multiple “mega ramps” will be constructed in the stadium, some with gaps of up to 70 feet. The event will be broadcast live on NBC, which will require a massive amount of coordination behind the scenes. TV producers, event coordinators, camera crews, equipment specialists and others will, essentially, make the internal portion of the stadium their home for several days surrounding the event, which itself only lasts a few hours.

Rice-Eccles hosted the first-ever Nitro World Games last summer, a showcase of all things extreme in the world of street sports and stunts, where numerous “world’s first” records were made, including a never-before-landed double front flip that was later declared the FMX Moment of the Year. Nitro features the best BMX, FMX, skateboard and scooter competitors in the world.

Rice-Eccles Stadium will host Monster Energy Supercross for the next three years and Nitro World Games will return to the U next summer for its third annual championship competition. Tickets and information for this year’s Nitro World Games on June 24 can be found here.

ABOUT RICE-ECCLES STADIUM

In addition to all that happens on the field, Rice-Eccles Stadium also hosts events in its stunning interior spaces, available to campus and the general public. The Tower at Rice-Eccles boasts the best view of Salt Lake City from its west-facing windows and the sunsets seen there are truly hard to beat.  For more information on Rice-Eccles Stadium, visit their website.