Ohio Stadium, at 100 years, is the 10th-oldest FBS stadium; home to 466 Buckeye wins
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Stadium, one of the most recognizable venues in all of sports and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, turns 100 this week and The Ohio State University and Department of Athletics will recognize the honor around the Ohio State vs. Rutgers football game, set for Saturday with a 3:40 p.m. kick. The Big Ten Network will televise the game.
The grand and venerable Ohio Stadium opened Oct. 7, 1922, with a 5-0 Ohio State win over Ohio Wesleyan, making the 2022 season the 101st football season. But in terms of years standing, the 2022-23 academic calendar represents year No. 100.
Activities this week include the installation of a permanent historical marker near the rotunda, a Block O card stunt recreation from the original Block O location in the stadium, and an on-field honor at halftime with the family of stadium architect, Howard Dwight Smith, whose stadium design earned him the American Institute of Architects’ top award for “excellence in public works.”
A Brief Timeline
1916-17-19 – The House That Harley Built
Discussions for a new stadium were intensifying as the inadequacy of Ohio Field, Ohio State’s home for 24 years at 17th Ave. and High Street, was magnified. Interest in Ohio State football was soaring as record numbers of fans turned out to watch dazzling All-American “Chic” Harley play.
1920 – Stadium Fund Raising Campaign Launched
An extensive, statewide stadium fund raising campaign was launched during the landmark year of 1920 with a goal of reaching $600,000, considered by many at the time an unrealistic sum. However, in just a few short months, over $900,000 had been pledged.
1921 – Breaking Ground
Ohio Governor Harry Davis joined a crowd of over 2,500 to officially break ground on the massive new stadium. There was much criticism because of its capacity of over 60,000, but interest was great: more than $1 million toward the cost had now been pledged by dedicated Ohio State fans.
1922 – Ohio Stadium Opens
Ohio Stadium, a double-decked, horseshoe-shaped structure, opened on Oct. 7 with a 5-0 Ohio State victory over Ohio Wesleyan before 25,000 fans.
1922 –72,000 Fans at Dedication Game
The Ohio Stadium dedication game came against Michigan on Oct. 21. The Wolverines handed the Buckeyes their first loss in their new home, 19-0. Five years later, Ohio State would be the opponent for the Michigan Stadium dedication game, on Oct. 22, 1927.
Ohio Stadium is the fifth largest stadium in the world, according to the World Atlas, and the third-largest collegiate football stadium. Numerous renovations and construction projects over the years have seen scoreboards replaced, the track that Jesse Owens ran on removed, the field lowered, south stands bleachers renovated three times, suites added, and capacity increased and decreased to its present 102,780.
Largest Stadiums in the World
Source: World Atlas
NCAA Attendance Leader
Ohio Stadium and Ohio State football led the nation in attendance 14 consecutive years from 1958-71. In all, Ohio Stadium has been the nation’s attendance leader 20 times, most recently in 2014.
Grass. Turf. Grass. Turf.
Ohio Stadium’s field, which realized its first sponsor in 2022, Safelite, has been grass (1922-70), artificial turf (1971-89), grass (1990-2006) and artificial turf since 2007, with the brand new Shaw Sports Turf the field of choice beginning with this 2022 season.
Two Major Renovations This Century
A major, three-year renovation to Ohio Stadium was completed in 2001 at a cost of $194 million. Work included removing the track, lowering the field, adding AA deck, a CC deck addition, renovating concourses, permanent south stands, a new scoreboard and pressbox, and adding suites.
And between 2017-20, Ohio Stadium underwent a three-year, $42 million renovation project that ultimately decreased capacity to the current 102,780 by renovating suites and premium seating areas. Additional work included installing better lighting and sound, and larger TVs, in B-deck.
*Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium won/loss record does not include eight wins during the 2010 season that were later vacated by the NCAA.
Through the Years
1925 – The final college game of legendary Illinois halfback Harold “Red” Grange was on Nov. 21, 1925 in Ohio Stadium.
1928 – By September 1928, Athletic Director L.W. St. John announced the stadium debt had been paid. Total cost of the stadium was over $1.5 million.
1928 – In front of more than 72,000 fans, the Buckeyes snapped a six-game losing streak and defeated Michigan for the first time in Ohio Stadium, 19-7, on Oct. 20, 1928.
1928 – The traditional Ohio State Marching Band ramp entrance was first performed at Ohio Stadium in 1928.
1928 – The first graduation ceremony to be celebrated inside Ohio Stadium was held for Ohio State’s Spring 1928 graduating class. The date was June 1 and Ohio State University President William Oxley Thompson delivered the commencement address.
1936 – Script Ohio, one of the greatest traditions in all of college football, was first performed by the Ohio State Marching Band on Oct. 10, 1936 in Ohio Stadium.
1938 – Block O, the official student section of Ohio State athletics, was originated in 1938.
1950 – On Nov. 25, 1950, Ohio State and Michigan engage in the Snow Bowl. An early winter storm hit Columbus with heavy snow, 28 miles-per-hour winds and temperatures in the teens. The teams punted 45 times and UM won, 9-3.
1954 – The sound of the Victory Bell, located in the Southeast tower of Ohio Stadium, was first heard after Ohio State defeated California on Oct. 2.
1974 – Ohio Stadium, located at 404 West 17th Avenue, is nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in June of 1973, and in March of 1974 it became the first football stadium to be officially listed on the National Register.
1985 – Ohio Stadium had used portable lights several times to complete late afternoon starts, but the 1985 season opener vs. Pitt was the first true collegiate night game in stadium history. Kickoff was at 8:08 p.m.
1988 – Pink Floyd was the first rock concert at Ohio Stadium, playing in front of nearly 64,000 on May 28, 1988. Acts, since, to play at Ohio Stadium include: The Rolling Stones, Genesis, U2, Metallica, Beyonce and Jay-Z, and The Buckeye Country Superfest has been held five times.
2006 – One of the greatest games in Ohio Stadium history took place on Nov. 18: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan. Ohio State won, 42-39, to clinch its first outright Big Ten championship since 1984.
2014 – A 13.7 million renovation to 92-year-old Ohio Stadium included a new FieldTurf playing surface, 2,522 additional seats in the south stands, concrete water proofing and permanent lights. Capacity is now at an all-time high of 104,581 … but only until 2020.
2016 – Ohio State defeated Michigan, 30-27, in double overtime in front of a record Ohio Stadium crowd of 110,082 fans. Curtis Samuel’s game-winning, 15-yard touchdown run electrified the house after J.T. Barrett’s successful, 4th-and-1 conversion from the UM 16.