Transcript from BYU, Arizona football series announcement

Apr 12, 2013 - Posted by on April 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Updated: April 12, 2013 4:36 pm

The following quotes have been provided by the University of Arizona athletic department of Friday's announcement on Google+ Hangout of a three-game football series between BYU and Arizona. 

Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne
“We have come to an agreement with BYU for a three-game series. We are very excited about this. It’s a national series that will get a lot of attention throughout the country. It will be the first game for the 2016 season and we will also have games in 2018 and 2020. We are going to start the first one in the Phoenix market at the University of Phoenix Stadium and it will be a chance for both fan bases to come together and show the passion there is for college football. It will be wonderful for the Arizona alumni base which is very strong in Maricopa County. It’s something we feel will gain a lot of attention throughout the summer leading up to that season.”

“We also want to thank the Fiesta Bowl and Robert Shelton. They are going to be involved in this to make it a success with the strength of the Fiesta Bowl community. The 2018 game will be played in Tucson and the 2020 game will be played in Provo, Utah. I want to let the Tucson community know that the year we play this game in Phoenix will be a year we have seven home games, which is something we strive to do as often as possible. So this will not take a home game away from the Tucson community or the business community here in Tucson which we know depend heavily on home football games for support in the local economy.  It’s something we will be able to talk about in the coming years and we just really appreciate BYU’s willingness to be involved in this.”

“It is an important area for our fan base, we have a lot of alums up there. It is the second-largest fan base for us. It’s also an area for all of our sports, especially football, that we recruit a lot to. I know Coach Rodriguez, from the time he came to the University of Arizona, he said our number one recruiting priority is the state of Arizona. Obviously, with the population base in Maricopa County, it will send a great message to our fans, recruits and future students the importance of that market for us. We couldn’t be more pleased to have the partnership with The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority with Tom Sadler and Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton, who has strong ties to the University of Arizona as he was our former president, in allowing for this game to become a reality. When ticket information becomes available in the coming years, it will be something that, with the Fiesta Bowl’s strength in numbers, will help us secure a great atmosphere and a great experience for our student-athletes and fans.”

“Tucson is our foundation. We have to be strong in southern Arizona. The fans here mean so much to us so this agreement gives us an opportunity to not have a negative impact there. We are the University of Arizona and we have such a strong alumni base in the Phoenix market that is so critical. We have talked for the last several years about the opportunity to play in the Phoenix area. We also know BYU has a strong following in Arizona and we have a great relationship with their athletic director Tom Holmoe and Bronco Mendenhall. We appreciate their openness to putting this together. It gives us another chance to strengthen who we are throughout the state of Arizona and get to another part and show our fan base how much we appreciate their support year round. We are very pleased with this announcement for what it means to our football program and our fans.”

Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
“I think it’s going to be a great regional rivalry but also a national rivalry with a lot of national interest in both programs. I have a tremendous amount of respect for BYU and Bronco (Mendenhall) is a friend of mine. I don’t like to play friends but I think it’s going to be a great series for both institutions and both fan bases. For us, to have a home game in 2018 and going to Phoenix in 2016 where we have so many alumni and so many recruits, is a win-win all the way around.”

“Bronco (Mendenhall) made a great point in that he mentioned the great regional interest but we all aspire to have national interest as well. We think of our program and institution that no matter where you’re at in the country, if you watch us and like how we play and get a chance to visit Tucson, Arizona, you are going to love it. So this is going to be another opportunity to expose our program and expose what we’re all about at our university. I know our fans and our players will be excited about it as well.”

BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe
“We are trying to play these neutral games and we have a few of these on the docket in the future. We actually played the University of Oklahoma in the first college game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium a couple years back. You can’t really call that neutral because they had 35,000 or 40,000 fans from Oklahoma but we probably had 18,000-20,000 in Texas for that game. When people think that it’s a neutral venue in Arizona, I’m sure Arizona fans will come out but outside of the state of Utah, there are more members of the LDS faith in California and then Arizona is right behind that. Our fans will come out in big numbers there. They will come from Arizona, California, Utah and the surrounding areas. It is a great opportunity to match-up with the Wildcats but to have great home fan base at a neutral venue.”

“It is a beautiful venue. The last time I was there was for the national championship game between Oregon and Auburn, the way they set it up there was fantastic. They have flexibility there with seating and its very fan friendly. There will be good ticket prices and great seat availability. The people at the Fiesta Bowl have been so good and so hospitable about putting this together. It’s going to be a great venue with two great teams with the fans coming together and I think you’re going to see more of this across the nation.”

BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall
“It’s a great game for us. The regional nature of the game makes complete sense. Coach Rodriguez is a fantastic coach and an offensive mastermind; he is doing some great things there with the Wildcats. Our experiences of playing at the University of Arizona besides the new stadium we are playing at, both of those venues are very exciting for us. We have a ton of church members and a ton of alumni and we are looking to play the best teams on the biggest stages we can and it will be an awesome experience for us as well.”

“We love being exposed in that particular area but again the national exposure in the venue we’re playing in. That exact same year we are playing at FedEx Field against West Virginia as well. So our program at this point is playing the best teams on the biggest stages and we’re looking forward to competing. As many people we can get to watch as well with our intriguing style of play and our unique individuals that come here is a win-win for both institutions and both coaches and I think it will be great for the fans.”

The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority President/CEO Tom Sadler
“I want to thank both intuitions for allowing us to participate in this announcement. We would like to congratulate both institutions for putting this together. We certainly appreciate the opportunity to host this event in 2016 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The University of Phoenix Stadium was built not only to host the Arizona Cardinals football club, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl but to bring events of this nature here. At this particular time, this is the first one we have on the books but we couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to bring out the fans from both teams, treat the student-athletes, coaches, administration to a first-class experience at what I think is a world-class facility. Again I want to thank both athletic directors and football coaches to allow for this thing to get put together, we are very excited.”

To view the Google+ Hangout, including some fun exchanges with former BYU & NFL tight end Chad Lewis and former Arizona & NFL linebacker Tedy Bruschi, CLICK HERE.