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Ohio Stadium
"The Shoe"
"The Horseshoe"
"The House that Harley built"
Skorry-ohiostadium 6048.jpg
Location 411 Woody Hayes Dr, Columbus, OH 43210
Coordinates 40°0′6″N 83°1′11″W / 40.00167°N 83.01972°W / 40.00167; -83.01972Coordinates: 40°0′6″N 83°1′11″W / 40.00167°N 83.01972°W / 40.00167; -83.01972
Broke ground August 3, 1921
Opened October 7, 1922
Owner Ohio State University
Operator Ohio State University
Department of Athletics
Surface FieldTurf (2007- )
Natural grass (1990-2006)
Artificial turf (1970-89)
Natural grass (1922-69)
Construction cost $1.34 million
Architect Howard Dwight Smith
Class of 1907
Capacity 102,329[1]
Record attendance 106,033
Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAA) (1922-present)
Columbus Crew (MLS) (1996-99)
Ohio Glory (WLAF) (1992)
Ohio Stadium
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Coordinates: 40°0′6″N 83°1′11″W / 40.00167°N 83.01972°W / 40.00167; -83.01972Coordinates: 40°0′6″N 83°1′11″W / 40.00167°N 83.01972°W / 40.00167; -83.01972
Built/Founded: 1921-22
Added to NRHP: March 22, 1974
NRHP Reference#: 74001494 [2]

Ohio Stadium (also known as The Shoe, The Horseshoe or The House that Harley Built), is the home of the Buckeyes football team at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, United States. The stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on March 22, 1974. [3]

Ohio Stadium also provided a home to the Columbus Crew of the MLS from the league's inception in 1996 until soccer-specific Columbus Crew Stadium opened in 1999. With a capacity of 102,329, it is the third largest stadium in the NCAA and the sixth largest non-racing stadium in the world. Ohio Stadium is also a concert venue; U2, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Metallica are among the many acts who have played at Ohio Stadium.

The stadium does not have field lights that function. When night events do occur, special lighting must be temporarily installed, usually by Musco Lighting (as in the 2005 game against Texas and the 2006 nationally televised game with Michigan).



As early as 1913, Ohio Field at High Street and Woodruff Avenue was unable to contain the crowds attracted to many Buckeye home football games. This lead to faculty discussion of moving the site elsewhere and building a new facility. The growing popularity of football in Ohio led to the design of a horseshoe-shaped stadium, conceptualized and designed by architect Howard Dwight Smith in 1918. A public-subscription Stadium Campaign to fund the project began in October 1920 and raised over $1 million in pledges by January 1921, of which $975,000 were actually honored. [4]

The stadium was completed in 1922 by E. H. Latham Company of Columbus, with materials and labor from the Marble Cliff Quarry Co. at a construction cost of $1.34 million and a total cost of $1.49 million. The stadium's original capacity was 66,210. This was astronomical in size at the time. Upon completion, it was the largest poured concrete structure in the world. Many university officials feared that the stadium would never be filled to capacity. [4]

Smith employed numerous revolutionary architectural techniques while building the stadium. At the base is a slurry wall, to keep out the waters from the Olentangy River. The stadium sits on the flood plain, giving it a precarious, but beautiful setting. Instead of building a large bowl, like the previously constructed Yale Bowl or later at Michigan Stadium, Ohio Stadium was designed to have an upper deck that would hang over part of the lower deck, giving Ohio Stadium its "A", "B", and "C" decks. Instead of employing numerous columns like those at Harvard Stadium, Smith designed double columns that allow for more space between columns. The rotunda at the north end of the stadium, which is now adorned with stained glass murals of the offensive and defensive squads that comprise the Buckeye football team,[5] was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. The rotunda also features yellow flowers on a blue background, which, according to legend, is due to the outcome of the dedication game against the University of Michigan in 1922. [6]


The rotunda at night.

The first game in the stadium was against Ohio Wesleyan University on October 7, 1922, and brought a crowd of around 25,000, left people concerned because the stadium was half empty. This concern was put to rest at the stadium's formal dedication against Michigan on October 21, which the Wolverines won. The crowd was announced at the game to be 72,000, but no one is really sure how many people made it into the stadium. This attendance mark was broken in a game against Michigan in 1925 when 90,411 came out to support the Buckeyes; this is also the last time standing-room-only tickets were sold for a game. [4]

The stadium itself did not regularly sell out until after WWII, and in the 1920s and 1930s most games only drew in 20,000 or 30,000 fans with many more attending the annual game against Michigan. The 1935 contest with Notre Dame was a sellout, with over 81,000 in attendance.

In 1923, a cinder track was built around the football field. The stadium became home to the track and field team for OSU for many years. [4]



As time passed, minor adjustments raised the seating capacity to more than 90,000. In 1984, a new $2.1 million scoreboard was installed. The stadium was heavily renovated from 1999 to 2000. The press box was replaced, additional seating was installed above the existing upper deck, and 81 luxury suites and 2,500 club seats were added. The south end zone scoreboard was also replaced by a 90ft. x 30ft. SACO Smartvision video board that is able to show replays, highlights, animations, graphics and statistical information. Additionally, a smaller version of the south end scoreboard was added to the north end and a new LED ribbon board that runs end-zone to end-zone was added to the balcony prior to the 2009 season. The track and field-specific Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium had been built by the university nearby, thus the track at Ohio Stadium was no longer needed. The track was removed and the field of play was lowered by 14.5 feet to add additional seating closer to the field. The temporary bleachers in the south end zone were replaced with permanent seating. However, the south end of the stadium remains partially open, thus allowing the stadium to maintain its notable Horseshoe configuration. [4]

General improvements were also made in the seating and concourse areas. The result of the $194 million renovation was a capacity that rose to 101,568. Eighty percent of the cost of the renovation was funded by the sale of leases on the suites and club seats, with the remaining 20 percent funded by donations and the sale of naming rights for portions of the stadium. No public or university money was spent in the renovation process.[4]

In 1970, the natural grass field was removed, and AstroTurf was installed, complements of a generous donation by Lou Fisher in dedication to fellow football player Joseph Campanella. A plaque was placed on the South east corner in memory of Joe. In 1979, the surface was replaced with Superturf. In 1990, natural grass made its return to the Horseshoe, a special grass called "Prescription Athletic Turf." New field designs were put in place for the 1992 season and existed through the 2006 season. During that last season problems with the natural grass began to arise. After serious damage to the field during use in the spring of 2006, the field never recovered and had to be resodded. That grass never took root due to bad weather and The Ohio State University was forced to resod the field again only three weeks after the old sod was laid. The University spent approximately $150,000 to perform both soddings. Due to poor field quality, along with maintenance expense and the ability to use the field year-round, OSU decided to replace the natural grass with FieldTurf for the 2007 season. This new artificial turf looks and feels like real grass but requires minimal upkeep.

Panoramic view.

Night Football Games

Stadium lights are brought in for night games

List of Ohio Stadium Night Football Games

Game Date Result
1 September 14, 1985 Ohio State 10, Pittsburgh 7
2 September 11, 1993 #16 Ohio State 21, #12 Washington 12
3 August 28, 1997 Ohio State 24, Wyoming 10 (Thursday night game)
4 September 10, 1999 Ohio State 42, UCLA 20
5 October 6, 2001 Ohio State 38, #14 Northwestern 20
6 August 30, 2003 #2 Ohio State 28, #17 Washington 9
7 September 10, 2005 #2 Texas 25, #4 Ohio State 22
8 October 25, 2008 #3 Penn State 13, #9 Ohio State 6
9 September 12, 2009 #3 Southern California 18, #8 Ohio State 15

Largest crowds

Rank Date Attendance Result
1 09-12-2009 106,033[7] #3 USC 18, #8 Ohio State 15
2 10-25-2008 105,713 #3 Penn State 13, #9 Ohio State 6
3 11-18-2006 105,708[8] #1 Ohio State 42, #2 Michigan 39
4 09-10-2005 105,565 #2 Texas 25, #4 Ohio State 22
5 11-22-2008 105,564 #10 Ohio State 42, Michigan 7
6 11-23-2002 105,539 #2 Ohio State 14, #11 Michigan 9
7 11-20-2004 105,456 Ohio State 37, #7 Michigan 21

Ohio State has ranked in the top five for attendance for many years. When the stadium opened in 1922, the second game against Michigan drew the largest crowd to watch a game in the Midwest.

Ohio State holds the national spring game record, when they drew 95,722 fans for the 2009 Spring Game, on April 25, 2009. The attendance broke the previous record of 92,138 set by Alabama in their 2007 Spring Game.

Buckeye football

Script Ohio

Ohio Stadium saw its largest crowd on September 12, 2009, with 106,033 fans in attendance[9] for the Buckeyes' matchup against USC, in which the Trojans won 18–15.[10] The previous record of 105,714 was set in a 2008 contest with Penn State, which was also a Buckeyes loss, this time 13–6.[11] In 2002, Mel Kiper, Jr. ranked Ohio Stadium second in atmosphere, behind the Army-Navy Game, and quoted Beano Cook in saying "There is nothing that beats when the Ohio State Marching Band and the sousaphone player dots the 'i' for Script Ohio." [12]

The crowd attending these home games is known for creating harsh and difficult environments for opponents. University of Iowa coach Hayden Fry complained after a 1985 loss that the fans were too loud for his quarterback, Chuck Long, to call plays and suggested sound meters be used to gauge the noise level, penalizing home teams if there was too much noise. He said, "It's a realistic fact that happened. He became mentally disturbed for the first time since he's been a starter for us because of his inability to communicate."[13]

Columbus Crew

MLS games were held at Ohio Stadium between 1996 and 1999. The home opener was held on April 13, 1996 against D.C. United before 25,266 fans. Star player Brian McBride scored 2 goals and had an assist in a 4–0 rout. The field at Ohio Stadium was the smallest in the MLS, measuring only 62 yards wide by 106 yards long, limited by the track surrounding it.[14] Because of the smaller market for soccer than Ohio State football, B Deck, C Deck, and the South end zone seats were closed, leading to a capacity of 25,243. [15]

Attendance stayed strong through the first season, seeing a record audience of 31,550 September 15, 1996 win over the MetroStars, 2–0.[16] Despite the facility's size, problems like field dimensions and the lack of lighting pushed the Crew to find a new home. Jamey Rootes, Crew President and General Manager stated, 'We prefer a smaller, more intimate environment (than Ohio Stadium). . . . We've got to create a major league environment. Ohio Stadium is a great stadium, but we cannot create a major league environment in a facility that is way too big for us."[17] The Crew finished their tenure at Ohio Stadium 30–18.


  1. ^ Ohio Stadium - The Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletics Site -
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  3. ^ Impromptu Web Query
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ohio Stadium
  5. ^ Ohio State University (2001-06-05). "Motorists Insurance Gife Supports Ohio Stadium Enhancement and Renovation". Press release. Retrieved 2006-08-20. 
  6. ^ The Five Greatest Traditions Of Ohio State Football, by Mike Furlan. Retrieved on November 20, 2006.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Russo, Ralph D. (2006-11-18). "No. 1 Ohio State 42, No. 2 Michigan 39". (Yahoo Sports). Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Boxscore: (3) USC 18, (8) Ohio State 15". 2009-09-12. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (2009-09-12). "Barkley engineers winning TD drive as USC scrapes past Ohio State". Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  11. ^ Miller, Rusty (2008-10-25). "Lions score last 10 to win, 13-6". (Yahoo Sports). Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  12. ^ Kiper, Mel Jr. (8 March 2002). "For scenery, check out Michie Stadium". Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Too Much Noise". New York Times. 1985-11-07. p. B27. 
  14. ^ Merz, Craig (April 14, 1996). "Crew Routs United 4–0 in Opener". Columbus Dispatch. p. 1E. 
  15. ^ Merz, Craig (April 17, 1996). "Crew Won't Increase 'Shoe Size; for Now, Capacity Will Remain as Is". Columbus Dispatch. p. 3H. 
  16. ^ "SOCCER: Crew Wins 8th Straight; More than 31,000 Fans See Columbus' 2–0 Win Over the MetroStars". Columbus Dispatch. April 14, 1996. p. 1E. 
  17. ^ Merz, Craig (June 6, 1997). "Crew Has Home for '98 Season". Columbus Dispatch. p. 1B. 

External links

Preceded by
Ohio Field
Home of the
Ohio State Buckeyes

1922 – present
Succeeded by


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