An Insider's Guide to Fiesta Bowl

By local contributor
Kelly Triplett

The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl is a time-honored tradition in Arizona – played every winter under our warm, sunny skies. Founded in 1971 and part of the College Football Playoff Series since 1998, the Fiesta Bowl is one of college football’s premier events. While the game takes center stage, don’t miss the Fiesta Bowl Parade, Pre-Game Party and Museum – all of which offer different experiences and insights into college football.

Not sure where to start? Use this planning guide so that you don’t miss a moment of the excitement!

 


WHO PLAYS IN THE FIESTA BOWL?


This year's Fiesta Bowl game will pit No. 2 Ohio State against No. 3 Clemson on Dec. 28, 2019 at 6 p.m. MST at State Farm Stadium. The teams are two of three teams left undefeated this season.

If you’re a little foggy on exactly how college football playoffs are structured or how teams for each game are determined, don’t feel bad – it’s complicated! Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Fiesta Bowl is part of the College Football Playoffs, which is an annual postseason knockout, invitational tournament to determine a national champion for the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
  • Every year, four teams compete in two semi-final games and the winner of each game advances to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
  • The Fiesta Bowl hosts one of the aforementioned semifinal games every three years. The next semifinal game at the Fiesta Bowl is Dec. 28, 2019.

For more details, check out the official College Football Playoff website.

 


WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE AND AFTER THE GAME?


This year’s game on Saturday, Dec. 28 is conveniently placed between Christmas and New Year’s Day, which provides a perfect long weekend escape. Plus, you’ll get to take advantage of Scottsdale’s mild winter temps, which average 72 degrees – perfect for outdoor activities and adventures of all kinds. Take a hike in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which encompasses one-third of the city and boasts more than 200 miles of shared-use trails. Hold on tight during a Hummer tour that provides an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the Sonoran Desert. Fly high on a hot air balloon tour. Swing a club at one of the area’s more than 200 golf courses. Take a stroll through the galleries and shops in Old Town Scottsdale. Whatever your heart desires, it’s here in Scottsdale.

Click here to order your free copy of the Scottsdale Visitor Guide.

 


WHAT OTHER EVENTS ARE HOSTED BY THE FIESTA BOWL?


Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade

  • Take in the pageantry of brilliantly colored floats, giant balloons, equestrian units, specialty and charitable groups, local celebrities and marching bands as they make their way along the two-mile parade route in Central Phoenix.
  • Dec. 28, 2019 at 9 a.m.
  • The parade starts at Central and Montebello Avenues
  • Free to the public; reserved seating available for $30.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Fan Fest Pregame Party

  • It wouldn’t be college football without a proper tailgate party. Join thousands of other college football fans at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Fan Fest Pregame Party on the Great Lawn at State Farm Stadium. Fans of all ages can experience some of the greatest pregame traditions like pep rallies and performances by marching bands and cheerleaders, interactive games to play and, of course, plenty of food and beverage booths to get you ready for the big game.
  • Dec. 28, 2019 (kick-off time TBD)
  • Free admission with purchase of game ticket

Want a more exclusive pregame party? Check out the Fiesta Bowl Stadium Club option, an all-inclusive experience for $125.

Cheez-It Bowl

  • While not part of the College Football Playoff series, Arizona also hosts the annual CHEEZ-IT Bowl. This game pairs selections from the Big 12 and Pac 12 for an exciting match-up the day before the Fiesta Bowl.
  • Dec. 27, 2019 at 8:15 p.m.
  • Chase Field – 401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ

 


GAME DAY FAQ


When is the game? Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. 

Where is the game? State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Glendale, AZ

Do I have to pay for parking?  Yes. Parking passes start at $40, but we highly recommend that you purchase one. Not only will you have to park much farther away without a pass, but you also run the risk of getting a ticket if you park in an unauthorized area.

How much are tickets?  Individual tickets range from $110 to $355. You also have the option of purchasing suites and ticket packages. It’s important to note that on semifinal years (which is this year’s game), even infants must have a ticket.

Can I bring a bag into the game? Yes, but Fiesta Bowl has a Clear Bag Policy that limits the type and size of bags that can be brought into the stadium.

How long will it take to get to the game?  Old Town Scottsdale (Indian School and Scottsdale Roads) is 27 miles from State Farm Stadium, where the Fiesta Bowl is played. Without traffic, it takes approximately 40 minutes to reach the stadium. On game day, it’s recommended to allocate a minimum of two hours for travel time. The earlier you leave, the lighter traffic will be!

Are there Shuttles from Scottsdale to the Stadium?  None that we are aware of at this time. But, rideshare services like Lyft are prevalent in this destination. Rideshare services are authorized to pick-up and drop-off at the Black Lot shown on this parking map.

 


Directional Apps


Fans are encouraged NOT to use directional apps like Google Maps, Waze or Apple Maps when approaching the stadium on game day as they do not take into account special road closures, traffic patterns and access routes allocated to specific carparks. Using these apps could ultimately result in a longer commute.