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Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
"DKR"
DKR 2008 longhorns.jpg
Former names Memorial Stadium
Texas Memorial Stadium
Location Austin, Texas
Coordinates 30°17′1″N 97°43′57″W / 30.28361°N 97.7325°W / 30.28361; -97.7325Coordinates: 30°17′1″N 97°43′57″W / 30.28361°N 97.7325°W / 30.28361; -97.7325
Broke ground 1924
Opened November 27, 1924
Owner University of Texas
Operator University of Texas
Surface FieldTurf (2009- )
Natural grass (1996-2008)
Artificial turf (1969-95)
Natural grass (1924-68)
Construction cost $ 275,000
Architect Herbert M. Greene
Capacity 100,119
Record attendance 101,357
November 21, 2009
vs. Kansas
Tenants
Texas Longhorns (NCAA) (1924-present)

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (formerly just War Memorial Stadium, Memorial Stadium, and Texas Memorial Stadium), located in Austin, Texas, has been home to the University of Texas Longhorn football team since 1924. The stadium has delivered a great home field advantage with the team's home record through the 2009 season being 342-91-10 (77.8%).[1] The current official stadium seating capacity of 100,119[2] makes the stadium the largest football venue by seating capacity in the state of Texas, the largest in the Big 12 Conference, the fourth largest non-racing stadium in the NCAA and the United States, and the seventh largest non-racing stadium in the world.

While DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium has the largest seating capacity in the state of Texas, the NFL Dallas Cowboys' new stadium, Cowboys Stadium, has an overall capacity of 111,000 due to a seating capacity of 80,000 plus party plazas capable of accommodating up to 31,000 standing spectators.

The DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium attendance record of 101,357 spectators was set on November 21, 2009, when Texas beat Kansas 51-20.[3] Since the beginning of the 2009 season (6 total home games), Texas has not had a home game with less than 100,000 in attendance.

The stadium has been expanded several times since its original opening. The University's most recent project, a $27 million expansion and renovation project to the south end zone facilities, was completed in August 2009. For the 2009 season, 4,525 permanent bleacher seats were constructed, which allowed the stadium to become the first football stadium in Texas capable of seating in excess of 100,000 persons[4] and brought the stadium to its current seating capacity.

Contents

Memorial dedication

In 1923, former UT athletics director L. Theo Bellmont (the west side of the stadium is named in his honor), along with thirty student leaders, presented the idea of building a concrete stadium to replace the wooden bleachers of Clark Field to the Board of Regents. Heralded as "the largest sports facility of its kind in the Southwest" upon its completion in 1924, the first unit of the stadium consisted of the east and west stands with a seating capacity of 27,000. It was designed as a dual-purpose facility with a 440-yard (400 m) track surrounding the football field. The stadium was financed through donations from both students and alumni. The estimated cost of the structure was $275,000.

The student body dedicated the stadium in honor of the 198,520 Texans — 5,280 of whom lost their lives — who fought in World War I. A statue, representing the figure of democracy, was later placed atop the north end zone seats of the stadium. In World War II, the University lost many former players, including former coach Jack Chevigny. The Athletics Council rededicated the newly enlarged stadium on September 18, 1948 prior to the Texas-LSU game, honoring the men and women who had died in the war. On November 12, 1977, a small granite monument was unveiled and placed at the base of the statue, during the TCU-Texas game. The ceremony rededicated Texas Memorial Stadium to the memory of all alumni in all American wars.

The University of Texas honored legendary football coach Darrell K Royal, who led Texas to three national championships and eleven Southwest Conference titles, by officially naming the stadium after him in 1996. Additionally, the University established the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Veterans Committee, composed of alumni who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf Wars. The committee is charged to forever dedicate the stadium in the memory of, and in honor of, UT students and alumni who gave their lives for their country. Each year, one home football game is designated as Veterans Recognition Day, commemorating the "memorial" aspect of the stadium and to honor the memory of war soldiers.

A panorama of the game between the 2005 National Champions and Colorado on October 15, 2005; Texas won 42-17.
Smokey the Cannon (lower left) is in the eastern section of the north end zone. The 2007 expansion brought the seats closer to the field
so the cannon was relocated to the southeastern corner of the stadium.

Major upgrades

The old scoreboard from the north end. It was demolished to make way for the 2006–2008 expansion. The Longhorn at the very top was auctioned on eBay.[5]
  • 1926 - "Horseshoe" built on the north end for $125,000 raising capacity to 40,500
  • 1948 - Two L-shaped sections added to the east and west stands, raising seating capacity to 60,130. General contractor for this work was Farnsworth & Chambers Inc. of Houston, Texas.
  • 1955 - Lights added
  • 1969 - Upper deck added to the west side raising seating capacity to 75,504 when completed in 1972; artificial turf applied to field. General contractor for this work was a joint venture of two companies — Darragh & Lyda Inc. of San Antonio, Texas and H. A. Lott, Inc. of Houston, Texas.
  • 1977 - Track converted from 440 yards to 400 meters (437.4 yds.)
  • 1986 - The Vernon F. "Doc" Neuhaus–Darrell K Royal Athletic Center completed at the south end of the stadium at a cost of $7 million; the Center was later renamed the W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr.–V. F. "Doc" Neuhaus Athletic Center in 1997 after Royal's name was added to the stadium
  • 1996 - Replacement of the stadium's artificial turf with natural grass (Prescription Athletic Turf); installation of a Jumbotron video system; scoreboards retrofitted
  • 1997 - Fourteen stadium suites added to west side; underside of the stands remodeled, adding a concession plaza and visitors' locker room. In recognition of UT law school alumnus and benefactor Joe Jamail, the University named the football playing field Joe Jamail Field.
  • 1998 - 5,000-seat upper deck added on east side including fifty-two new stadium suites and a 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) private club room
  • 1999 - Track removed; new seats added to the west grandstand and the field was lowered seven feet to accommodate new front-row and field-level seats on the east and west grandstands, bringing capacity to 80,082
  • 2002 - Prescription Athletic Turf replaced with TifSport Certified Bermuda grass
  • 2005-08 - see below
  • 2009 - TifSport Certified Bermuda grass replaced with FieldTurf and the addition of 4,525 permanent bleacher seats in the south end zone.

2005–08 improvements

Construction of the new north endzone seating
Godzillatron as seen from the old north end

US$15 million were allocated by the Board of Regents for stadium renovations in 2006.

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West side renovations (2005-2006)

Beginning November 14, 2005, work began in Bellmont Hall — located in the west side of the stadium — to meet newer safety codes set by the Austin Fire Department. The upper deck structure received new water sealing, and the Centennial Room and eighth-floor press box were expanded.

Audio/visual improvements (2006)

Following the 2005 season, the Freddie Steinmark memorial scoreboard and Jumbotron in the south end zone was dismantled. This was done in preparation for US$8 million of audio/visual improvements, the centerpiece of which was a 7,370-square-foot (685 m2) high-definition Daktronics LED scoreboard, nicknamed "Godzillatron," located in the south end zone. The screen has a pixel resolution of 848 x 2064. The new scoreboard required the removal of the six large flag poles that previously displayed the Six Flags Over Texas. These have been replaced by smaller flags located atop the screen. Along with the new video screen, the sound system was updated and smaller video boards were installed on the east and west sides of the stadium.

At the time of its creation, Godzillatron was called the largest high-definition video screen in the world,[6][7] though it was quickly surpassed by a larger screens in Tokyo,[8][9] Kauffman Stadium[10][11] and Cowboys Stadium.[12] It is still the largest high-definition video screen in collegiate sports.[13 ] On creation, the screen was the largest HD screen in the western hemisphere if measured by square footage (7,370 sq ft), but has since been passed by the new Cowboys Stadium HD screen (11,520 sq ft).

One downside for fans is that the screen can be used to allow more obtrusive advertising to be displayed during games.[14] It has been controversial among fans because the screen includes a border of advertisements at most times.[15][16] This has led to some fans calling the new screen "Adzillatron".[17] Complaints have also been made about the scoreboard being too loud and about it broadcasting advertisements to those in the stadium, even over the top of the band playing in the stadium.[16][17] In its first usage, the portion of the new screen that was typically used for showing replays and film highlights was approximately the same size as the old video screen.[15][18] More recent games have featured a 16:9 format image centered in a ring of advertisement. Nevertheless, complaints continue about the advertising, with some fans shouting out "We won't shop/eat/bank there" when advertisements are played loudly in the stadium.[19]

Also following the 2005 season, the outdated video matrix screen in the north end zone was removed in anticipation of the upcoming renovations.

New south end zone seating and renovations (2006-2009)

A temporary bleacher section of approximately 4,000 seats was added behind the south end zone for the 2006 season. In mid-July 2006, UT announced that it had completely sold out Memorial Stadium for the 2006 season. This announcement meant that for the first time in the history of the university, tickets would not be sold on an individual game basis. The bleachers allowed a new official seating capacity of 85,123. A then DKR-TM Stadium, state of Texas, and Big 12 Conference attendance record of 89,422 was set at the September 9th game vs Ohio State University. These records stood until the first Longhorn game of the 2008 season.

The south end bleacher seating was expanded for the 2007 season to seat approximately 6,400 fans,[20 ] but the seating was reduced back to 4,000 for the 2008 season since the north end zone expansion was complete. The south end zone also became the new seating location of the Longhorn Band beginning in 2008.

It was later announced for the upcoming 2009 season that a construction project was due for completion in August 2009 in the south end zone of the stadium. Work began in late April/early May 2009 with the building of a new Football Academic Center, a new Hall of Fame, and the addition of 4,525 permanent bleacher seats that would replace the 4,000 temporary bleacher seats.[4] It was also announced that this upgrade would raise the home attendance to more than 100,000[4]. Funding for this project cost approximately $27 million dollars and also included money to change from natural to artificial grass.[21] In May 2009, the university began the process of replacing the stadium's natural grass playing surface with FieldTurf and finished in June 2009.

The south end zone bleachers can be seen under Godzillatron in this panorama
from the 2007 game against Nebraska on October 28th; Texas won 28-25.

North end zone expansion (2007-2008)

The North end zone after stadium expansion (before the 2008 season)
Exterior facade of the new north end zone seating

In 2006, regents approved a US$149.9 million expansion plan (later increased to $179 million[20 ]; includes the $15 million 2006 renovations) to include a new memorial plaza and new north end zone structure that was scheduled for completion in August 2008. The new outdoor plaza at the northwest corner is a memorial to veterans, with (the original 1924) bronze tablet honoring Texas World War I deaths, a monument, landscaping, and new stadium entry gates between two 115-foot (35 m) towers, like those in the east grandstand. The expansion also consisted of replacing the north end zone structure with a multi-level complex that includes additional seats with an upper deck, club space, suites, athletic offices, academic-advising areas and a basement with gym space. Demolition of the old north end zone began on December 8, 2006.[22] This was necessary to move the north end seating closer to the field. Extremely unpredictable weather patterns, which included historic amounts of rainfall for much of the year and sleet and snow in January and April, delayed construction several times. However, construction crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and much of the new lower deck was ready in time for the first game of the 2007 season.[20 ] An upper deck was added to the north end zone in time for the 2008 season and increased the stadium's official seating capacity from 85,123 to 94,113.[23]

A then DKR-TM Stadium, state of Texas, and Big 12 Conference attendance record was set on November 27, 2008 when 98,621 saw #4-ranked Texas defeat unranked rival Texas A&M 49–9.

The north end zone expansion completed in 2008 combined with the south end zone expansion completed in 2009 have brought the official seating capacity to 100,119 and allowed an attendance record of 101,357.

Future south end zone expansion

The final planned phase of the stadium's expansion includes the construction of permanent seating and an upper deck in the south end zone, completely enclosing the playing field. The stadium's seating capacity is expected to be in excess of 115,500 once the south end zone is fully enclosed, which would mean DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium would surpass Penn State's Beaver Stadium, the largest football stadium in North America.[24] However, the date of the final construction phase to fully enclose the south end zone has not been set nor have any funds been raised.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ http://www.texassports.com/facilities/royal-memorial-stadium.html
  2. ^ "Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium". TexasSports.com. University of Texas at Austin. 2009. http://www.texassports.com/facilities/royal-memorial-stadium.html. Retrieved 8 October 2009.  
  3. ^ http://www.texassports.com/facilities/royal-memorial-stadium.html
  4. ^ a b c http://www.mackbrown-texasfootball.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/021309aab.html
  5. ^ "Longhorn light". eBay. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8832343017&category=37753. Retrieved 2006-06-06.  
  6. ^ Kilian, Ryan (5 September 2006). "Colt McCoy silences critics as Longhorns roll over North Texas". http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2006/09/05/Sports/Colt-Mccoy.Silences.Critics.As.Longhorns.Roll.Over.North.Texas-2256711.shtml. Retrieved 2006-09-08.  
  7. ^ Maher, John. "That's one big Bevo of a scoreboard". Austin American-Statesman. http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/longhorns/05/10texfoot.html. Retrieved 2006-05-11.  
  8. ^ "World's Largest HDTV". Luxist. http://www.luxist.com/2006/07/27/worlds-largest-hdtv/. Retrieved 2006-10-07.  
  9. ^ "Giant Video Screen Constructed at Tokyo-area horse track". Pink Tentacle. http://www.pinktentacle.com/2006/07/giant-video-screen-constructed-at-tokyo-area-horse-track/. Retrieved 2006-10-07.  
  10. ^ Daktronics, Inc. (10/03/2007). "Royals Fans to Watch Highlights and Replays on World’s Largest HD Display". http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071003005103&newsLang=en. Retrieved 7 December 09.  
  11. ^ Murph, Darren (May 18, 2009). "Kansas City Royals to get 'world's largest' HD LED scoreboard". Engadgethd.com. http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/10/03/kansas-city-royals-to-get-worlds-largest-hd-led-scoreboard/. Retrieved May 22, 2009.  
  12. ^ MJD (June 12, 2008). "Jerry Jones aims to make all Cowboys' fans blind by 2010". Sports.yahoo.com. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Jerry-Jones-aims-to-make-all-Cowboys-fans-blind?urn=nfl,87574. Retrieved November 28, 2008.  
  13. ^ Daktronics. "Texas Longhorns Choose Daktronics for HD Video Display at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium". Daktronics. http://www.daktronics.com/dak_news.cfm?articleID=527. Retrieved 2006-05-10.  
  14. ^ O'Keeffe, Kevin (2006-07-01). "New scoreboard brings the "Wow!" factor to football stadium". http://www.texassports.com/index.php?s=&change_well_id=2&url_article_id=4499. Retrieved 2006-07-13.  
  15. ^ a b Salinas, Andy (2006-09-05). "New screen's ad coverage disappoints some students". The Daily Texan. http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2006/09/05/TopStories/New-Screens.Ad.Coverage.Disappoints.Some.Students-2256782.shtml.  
  16. ^ a b Robbins, Kevin (2006-09-03). "Godzillatron roars to life - Fans get first look at scoreboard to end all scoreboards, still a work in progress". Austin American-Statesman. http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/longhorns/09/03/3texscoreboard.html.  
  17. ^ a b Soltan, Margaret (2006-07-03). "After its Premiere, Godzillatron Renamed By UT Fans: It's Now Adzillatron". http://margaretsoltan.phenominet.com/2006/09/after-its-premiere-godzillatron_03.html. Retrieved 2006-07-13.  
  18. ^ Blair, Alex (September 6, 2006). "Colt McCoy, Godzillatron make their career debuts on Saturday". The Daily Texan. http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2006/09/05/Sports/Colt-Mccoy.Godzillatron.Make.Their.Career.Debuts.On.Saturday-2256730.shtml. Retrieved 2006-09-07.  
  19. ^ Suzanne Haliburton (5 October 2006). "Questions on TX-OU, petitioning NCAA for eligibility". Austin American-Statesman. http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/longhorns/10/06/6asksue.html. Retrieved 2006-10-07.  
  20. ^ a b c "UT says stadium construction on schedule". http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/longhorns/08/01/0801stadium.html. Retrieved 2007-08-01.  
  21. ^ http://www.utsystem.edu/FPC/currentProjectSelection.cfm?projectID=1267
  22. ^ Cabenero, David (11 December 2006). "Improvements to Royal-Texas stadium begin - Project adds more seating, space for archives of physical culture". The Daily Texan. http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2006/12/11/TopStories/Improvements.To.RoyalTexas.Stadium.Begin-2531530.shtml. Retrieved 2006-12-11.  
  23. ^ "Utility Infielder: Another stadium set for demolition". San Antonio Express-News. 24 September 2008. http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/page2/29657234.html. Retrieved 2008-10-20.  
  24. ^ "Magician kept UT-OU at Cotton Bowl". DallasNews.com (Dallas Morning News). April 20, 2007. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/colleges/texas/stories/042107dnsposherrington.37809c1.html. Retrieved 2007-10-30.  >

Sources

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