PHOTOS: Arizona State announces stadium renovation

Arizona State isn't building a new stadium, but to judge by the first images of a planned renovation, they might be getting the next best thing.

New Sun Devil athletic director Steve Patterson and head football coach Todd Graham announced the renovation Wednesday, which will dramatically overhaul the current facility while keeping it in "its iconic location in between the Buttes in Tempe." The school also issued two artist's renderings of the initial renovation plans:

The school's statement specifies that the renderings are "not finalized," which is nice, since as is it looks like the Sun Devils will be playing on the spaceship from Michael Jackson's "Scream" video.

Per the statement:
The tentative plan would create a shade canopy over the stadium that will allow the passage of natural light and the passage of air into the stadium while also allowing the Sun Devils to play day games earlier in the year to accommodate Pac-12 Network obligations.

The addition of the shade canopy, in addition to other alterations, will decrease seating to an area between 55,000 and 65,000 seats. As such, larger seats will be provided with more leg room and the potential of more seats with a seat back.
We might mock the Sun Devils for making one of the "highlights" of their big renovation an effort to reduce stadium capacity rather than expand it -- the chances this ever happens in the SEC* are somewhere between "pigs fly" and "pigs fly a rocketship to the moon -- but the truth is that using a smaller venue to create a better atmosphere could work to increase attendance in the long run. (Just two years ago, the Sun Devils averaged 48,000 fans in their 71,000-seat stadium, though those numbers did increase substantially last season.)

Of course, precisely how much of the Sun Devils' current plans eventually come to fruition might be debatable; the statements admits "the cost of the stadium has not been determined at this time" and that other details have to be finalized. But say this much: imagine all those white spaces filled in color and cheering fans, and this will be a very impressive project if it does come to completion.

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