This week we are writing about some of our favorite stadiums. Monday, we covered the Big House in Ann Arbor, and yesterday it was Sun Devil Stadium. Today, it’s Ohio Stadium,located in Columbus, known as “The Horseshoe” and the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
A revolutionary design
When Ohio Stadium opened in 1922, ithad a capacity of 66,210 and was the largest poured concrete structure in the world, and because the stadiumwas built in a flood plain, it required an innovative slurry wall for the foundation. It had a “U” or horseshoe shape, when most football stadiums at that time were of a single oval bowl design. Ohio Stadium alsoutilized a two deck design, with the upper level hanging over the lower level, bringing more fans closer to the field. Most
stadiums of the time used several support columns, but the Horseshoe featured a two column design that allowed for wider concourses. The main entrance to the stadium is through a rotunda that closely resembles the Pantheon in Rome. All told, fans sit close to the field, and the stadium has a very vertical and cozy feel to it, even though it holds more than 100,000 fans.
Big crowds When the stadium opened, university officials were concerned that they would never be able to fill a 66,210 seat stadium. During that time, crowds typically only filled up about half the stadium, but standing room only tickets were sold, and attendance at a 1925 game against Michigan was announced at 90,411. During the 1940s, Ohio Stadium was expanded multiple times, increasing capacity to 78,677. It was expanded several times since then, and currently is the fourth-largest stadium in NCAA football with a capacity of 102,329. A record crowd of 106,102 was on hand in 2012 to see the Buckeyes defeat Nebraska in the Cornhuskers first visit to Columbus as a member of the Big 10.
Since it opened more than 90 years ago, the Horseshoe has hosted night games only 14 times and currently has no permanent lighting. Of those 14 games, 12 have been since the 2001, and the Buckeyes have a five-game winning streak in home night games. The fans like them as well — of the six biggest Ohio Stadium crowds, five were for night games. The popularity with the fans has been noted, as Ohio Stadium will host four night games this fall.
Flying the flag
One of the unique things about the Horseshoe is its giant flagpole located in the endzone. The flagpole is 162 feet high, and the flag that flies on it is huge.
Gameday in Columbus
Seeing a game at the Horseshoe is something I would encourage any college football fan to do. First, you have to see the Ohio State Band, it is simply outstanding. (We’ll have a blog post specifically on the The Best Damn Band in the Land a little later this summer.) You may have seen the “Dotting of the I” on TV, and it is something that is even cooler in person — the is a reason it is considered one of the best college football traditions. Another things that is unique about seeing a game at Ohio Stadium is its setting in Columbus, the 15th largest city in America. But i is just like any other college town on gameday, when the whole town is abuzz and everything that happens is happening around the home team. We’ll have a Gameday in Columbus story this fall to share our gameday experience.