Ohio Stadium Facts and Figures (Source: OSU Official Site)
Nestled snugly on the banks of the Olentangy River, stately Ohio Stadium is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of college athletics.
Built in 1922 at a cost of $1.3 million and renovated in 2001 at a cost of nearly $194 million, the horseshoe-shaped structure is now in its 83rd year as the home of Buckeye football.
With its present seating capacity of 101,568, Ohio Stadium is the fourth largest on-campus facility in the nation. Since the opening game against Ohio Wesleyan on Oct. 7, 1922, more than 36 million fans have streamed through the stadium’s portals.
Attending games in Ohio Stadium has become a Saturday afternoon ritual for Ohio State fans, who flock to the parking lots early to enjoy the gala atmosphere and pageantry that surrounds each and every game.
In eight home games last year, the Buckeyes set a single-season attendance record of 838,963, marking the second consecutive year that record has been rewritten.
From 1951 to 1973, the Buckeyes led the nation in attendance 21 times, including the 14 consecutive years from 1958 to 1971. Since 1949, Ohio State has never been lower than fourth nationally in average home attendance.
Unique in its double-deck horseshoe design, Ohio Stadium is both intimate and intimidating. The closeness of the seating provides a definite home-field advantage for the Buckeyes, at the same time allowing fans to view the game from unobstructed vantage points. As part of the renovation, there are now 81 hospitality suites and 2,625 club seats on the west side of the stadium. All the seats are good, including the 17,000 in the new and permanent south stands.
Prior to the construction of Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes played their games at Ohio Field. The demand for a new stadium came about during the "Harley Years" - 1916, ’17 and ’19, when Charles "Chic" Harley became the Buckeyes' first three-time All-American.
With the echoes of Harley’s legendary feats ringing throughout the state, local businessmen set about the task of raising money for a new stadium. They did so quickly, raising almost all of the $1.3 million through private donations, and construction began in 1920.
Skeptics scoffed at the thought of a 66,000-seat venue, but they were quickly quieted when an overflow crowd of 71,138 showed up for the dedication game against Michigan on Oct. 21, 1922.
Numerous upgrades have been made over the years, including the installation of artificial turf in 1970. The latter was made possible through the generous donation of Lou Fischer, who played for the Buckeyes and Coach Woody Hayes in 1950 and ’51.
A new scoreboard with state-of-the-art graphics and statistical information was added in 1984 at a cost of $2.4 million, or nearly twice that of the original stadium.
The artificial surface was replaced with natural grass in 1990. The Buckeyes currently play on P.A.T. a natural grass surface with a state-of-the-art draining system that keeps the field playable even under the worst conditions. (Note: Field Turf will be installed and replace the natural grass turf for the 2007 season.)
In 1999, the stadium underwent a three-year face-lift that was completed in time for the season opener against Akron in 2001. Thanks to a creative financing plan, no university or student monies were used during the renovation process. Instead the sale of the hospitality suites and club seats, covered 80 percent of the cost, with the remainder being covered by naming-rights gifts, monies from additional ticket availability, increased concessions and merchandise revenues and bonds.
As a result of that renovation, the Stadium is completely up to code in terms of disability seating. Additionally, aisles have been widened, rails have been added and lighting has been installed in the concourses. There are also many more restrooms and concession stands on all levels.
The stadium also has been the site of several summer concerts, including performances by Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones.
On March 22, 1974, Ohio Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. It was a fitting tribute to a building that has shaped the memories of Ohio State football since 1922. Anyone who has seen a game in the giant horseshoe understands why. There are few experiences in athletics that are more enjoyable!
Ohio State heads into the 2004 campaign with a string of 14 consecutive crowds of at least 100,000.
Ohio Stadium Quick Facts
Architect Howard Dwight Smith
Cost $1.3 million
First Game Ohio Wesleyan, Oct. 7, 1922
Dedication Game Michigan, Oct. 21, 1922
Original Capacity 66,210
Present Capacity 101,568
Largest Crowd 105,539 (Michigan, Nov. 23, 2002)
Artificial Turf Installed 1970
Grass Surface Installed 1990
Re-dedication Akron, 2001
Stadium Circumference 2,892 square feet
Stadium Length 919 feet
Stadium Width 679 feet
Stadium Acreage 14.5 acres
Stadium Height 136 feet
Height of Press Box Roof from field 183 feet
Seats in "A" Deck 27,192
Seats in "AA" Deck 8,318
Seats in "B" Deck 10,718
Seats in "C" Deck 30,878
Seats in "D" Deck 2,459
Seats in 81 Hospitality Suites 1,062
Seats in South Stands 17,248