University of Phoenix Stadium is unique even in the realm of new NFL venues.

They’re playing the Final Four this weekend at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. That’s the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, and it’s now taking its rightful place among large, indoor or retractable-roof football stadiums by doing what such stadiums do: housing college basketball games.

For the NFL’s newest and nicest spaceship-like stadiums, this is a rite of passage. The NCAA likes to put on the Final Four in a massive venue, not an 18,000-seat hoops or hockey arena. This tradition goes back many years. Seattle’s Kingdome housed the 1984 Final Four, and football stadiums have been en vogue ever since. New Orleans’ Superdome, Minneapolis’ Metrodome, Indianapolis’ RCA Dome and Lucas Oil Stadium, Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, San Antonio’s Alamodome, Detroit’s Ford Field, Houston’s NRG Stadium, and Dallas’ AT&T Stadium have all hosted college hoops’ marquee event.

U of P Stadium is not a ton different than other new NFL stadiums. It’s very big and very nice. It seats between about 60,000 and about 80,000, depending on the event. The video boards are big, and it’s climate-controlled. Pretty standard.

But this venue is unique, in that it was the first one to put its football playing grass on wheels and literally roll it out of the stadium on non-game days to allow it nourishment from the Arizona sunshine. This was a big story when the stadium opened in 2006 and hosted a Super Bowl in 2008.

Watch this. It’s cool:

Here’s an overhead time lapse:

Obviously, the Final Four’s a different deal. Hardwood doesn’t need sunshine. But at least the stadium had the ability to move its grass all the way out of the building.

Here’s how the venue sets up for basketball:

This is what the installation looks like:

And a slightly closer look at the court:

U of P Stadium is used to holding non-Cardinals events. It’s the home of the Fiesta Bowl every year, and it’s hosted a couple of college football national championship games. (The most recent was Alabama’s win over Clemson two seasons ago.) It’s never hosted anything quite like this, but everything so far looks great.

In the next few years, the Final Four’s heading off to places where the setup will be a lot like this one. It goes to the Alamodome next year, then to new NFL stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta in the years after that. They’ve got this down to a science.

Source : SBnation