Ohio Stadium at The Ohio State University
This photo was taken on 3 May, 2013, showing the stadium in preparation of the commencement ceremony with President Obama as the guest speaker on Sunday, 5 May, 2013. “Be careful with the turf.” quipped the President, “I know Coach (Urban) Meyer has big plans for fall.”
A video of the President’s speech to the graduates can be viewed here.
Ohio Stadium is an American football stadium in Columbus, Ohio, United States, on the campus of The Ohio State University. It is popularly known as “The Horseshoe” or simply “The Shoe” because of its shape. Its primary purpose is the home venue of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. From 1996–98, Ohio Stadium was the home venue for Major League Soccer team Columbus Crew prior to the opening of Columbus Crew Stadium in 1999. The stadium also was the home venue for the OSU track and field teams from 1923–2001. In addition to athletics, Ohio Stadium is also a concert venue, with U2, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Metallica among the many acts to have played there, and also serves as the site for the university’s Spring Commencement ceremonies each May. The stadium does not have permanent field lights. When night events do occur, temporary field lights are brought in.
The stadium opened in 1922 as a replacement for Ohio Field and had a seating capacity of 66,210. In 1923, a cinder running track was added and the stadium, which was later upgraded to an all-weather track. Seating capacity gradually increased over the years and reached 91,470 in 1991. Beginning in 2000, the stadium was renovated and expanded in several phases, removing the track and adding additional seating, which raised the capacity to 101,568 by 2001. Since 2007, the capacity is listed at 102,329, though crowds above 105,000 are common. It is the largest stadium by capacity in the state of Ohio, the fourth largest football stadium in the United States, and the seventh largest non-racing stadium in the world. Ohio Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on March 22, 1974.
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 2000 to 2001. 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 90 ft. x 30 ft. 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 was removed and the field of play was lowered by 14.5 feet to add 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.
In 1970, the natural grass field was removed, and AstroTurf was installed, complements of a donation by Lou Fisher in dedication to fellow football player Joseph Campanella. A plaque was placed on the southeast corner in memory of Campanella. 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 because of bad weather, and the 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. OSU replaced the natural grass with FieldTurf for the 2007 season. This new artificial turf looks and feels like real grass but requires minimal upkeep.
In March 2012 the university announced a $7 million renovation to the scoreboard installed during the 2000-01 renovation. The project began April 23 and was completed in time for the 2012 season opener on September 1.