Sun Bowl is an outdoor football stadium in the southwestern United States, on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso. It is home to the UTEP Miners of Conference USA, and the late December college football bowl game, the Sun Bowl. The stadium opened 57 years ago in 1963 and has a current seating capacity of 51,500.
Sun Bowl History
Sun Bowl Stadium, named for the game it hosts, was opened on September 21, 1963 with a Texas Western win over North Texas State. The opening play was a 54–yard touchdown run by Larry Durham of the Miners. The land on which the stadium sits was originally donated by the university to El Paso County, who built the stadium for the school and the Sun Bowl game.
Both had previously used Kidd Field, the school’s current track and field venue, which seats 15,000. The city had realized that the game could not expand its audience or the list of teams that it could invite without a bigger stadium, so the Sun Bowl was built in a natural bowl adjacent to the west.
Sun Bowl Renovations
The current press box was added in 1969, and the stadium reached the capacity of 52,000 in 1982 with the addition of the north end zone stands and the expansion of the east stands. The school retook control of the land and stadium in 2001, when hundreds of seats were removed as part of a re–configuration of the seating bowl to accommodate soccer, which lowered capacity to its current figure of 51,500.
The school’s Athletics Director, Jim Senter, announced on April 13, 2018 plans to renovate the Sun Bowl Stadium. The $15 million project would include luxury boxes installed in a new press facility, renovation of the concourses and premium seating added on the west side of the stadium. The renovations are projected to be completed in a 16-month timespan.
Postseason college football
Sun Bowl: The college football bowl game began 84 years ago in January 1936 and moved to the new stadium in December 1963. All games have been played in El Paso.
All-star game: On February 2, 2007, the stadium hosted the inaugural Texas vs. The Nation all-star college football game; the Nation defeated Texas 24–20.
On February 17, 2016, the stadium hosted festivities and a simulcast of the Mass held by Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, several miles away across the Rio Grande.