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1 2 Total
Kentucky 49 30 79
Michigan State 43 31 74
Date December 13
Arena Ford Field
Location Detroit
Attendance 78,129
United States TV coverage
Network CBS

The Basketbowl, between Michigan State University and the University of Kentucky was the most attended basketball game in history, as measured by verified attendance. (The 1968 European Cup Winners' Cup final between AEK Athens and Slavia Prague, held at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, is believed to have had 80,000 in attendance, but that total has never been verified.[1]) It occurred on December 13, 2003 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan setting an attendance record of 78,129. Kentucky won the game 79–74, never trailing throughout the contest.[2] The NCAA was impressed with the massive size of the crowd that they decided in 2008 to expand the seating capacity for the Men's Division I Basketball Championship to a minimum of 70,000 starting with the 2009 Final Four, which would be held in that stadium.



Both schools entered into the contest with significant on-court accomplishments. Combined, both school had won nine national championships (seven for Kentucky, two for Michigan State) and made 18 Final Four appearances (13 for Kentucky, five for Michigan State). Michigan State and Kentucky had met 20 times previously with Kentucky holding a 11–9 advantage. MSU had defeated Kentucky 71–67 the previous year at Rupp Arena.


The court being assembled in Ford Field.

The basketball court for the game was moved from Michigan State's Breslin Center and reassembled on the 50 yard line of Ford Field, giving the promotional title "Basketbowl: Hoops on the 50!" This is the same court that Michigan State won the 2000 NCAA Championship on in Indianapolis. In addition, the entire court was raised off the field by a custom stage deck installed by SGA Production Staging, Inc. to improve sight lines for those sitting in the upper bowl of the stadium.

Previous record

The previous record of 75,000 was held by the Harlem Globetrotters during their exhibition game at Berlin, Germany's Olympic Stadium.

"BasketBowl II"

It was announced on April 15, 2008 that Ford Field would host "BasketBowl II" between the Spartans and North Carolina as part of the ACC–Big Ten Challenge on December 3 of that year. UNC won the game 98–63. The game was televised on ESPN.[3] The two teams met again in Ford Field four months later, this time for the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. That contest was also won by UNC.




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