|Location||2000 Brush Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226|
|Broke ground||November 16, 1999|
|Opened||August 24, 2002|
|Owner||Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority|
|Construction cost||$430 million|
($525 million in 2021 dollars)
Hamilton Anderson Associates, Inc.
|Structural engineer||Thornton Tomasetti|
|General Contractor||Hunt/Jenkins/White/Olson JV|
|Capacity||Football: 65,000 expandable of up to 70,000|
|Detroit Lions (NFL) (2002–present)|
Minnesota Vikings (NFL) (2010) (One game)
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (2009–present)
Motor City Bowl (2002–2008)
Mid American Conference (MAC)
Championship Game (2004–present)
Super Bowl XL (2006)
Michigan High School Football Championship Game Divisions 1-8 (2002–present)
WrestleMania 23 (WWE) (2007)
2009 Final Four
2010 Frozen Four
UHRA Monster Jam
Ford Field is an indoor American football stadium located in Detroit, Michigan, USA, that is the current home field of the NFL's Detroit Lions. It regularly seats 65,000, though it is expandable up to 70,000 for football and 80,000 for basketball. The naming rights were purchased by Ford at $40 million over 20 years; the Ford family (including Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr.) holds a controlling interest in the company.
Ford Field was originally planned to be an outdoor stadium, simultaneously with Comerica Park, which opened in April 2000, as part of a public project to replace Tiger Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome. Ford Field was constructed after Comerica Park, opening in 2002. It cost an estimated $430 million to build, financed largely through private money, public money, and the sale of the naming rights.
The stadium's design incorporates a six-story former Hudson's warehouse, which was constructed in the 1920s. Hammes Company, a real estate development company in Middleton, Wisconsin, developed the new stadium, as well as the warehouse.
The presence of the warehouse allows for a seating arrangement that was unique among professional American football stadiums at the time of Ford Field's opening. The majority of suites at Ford Field are located in the Hudson Warehouse along the stadium's southern sideline, as are the lounges that serve the premium club seats on that side of the field. The bulk of the grandstand seats are located along the northern sideline and both endlines, with gaps in the stadium's upper half at the southwest and southeast corners. The upper deck on the stadium's northern sideline also contains one level of suites and a smaller section of club seating. A similar design was implemented at the renovated Soldier Field, albeit with the use of a new structure (as opposed to an existing building) to house four levels of suites.
Unlike most indoor stadiums, Ford Field allows a large amount of natural light to reach the FieldTurf field, thanks to immense skylights and large glass windows at the open corners. The windows along the ceiling are frosted to mimic the automotive factories that are prevalent in Metro Detroit. The southwest corner provides the seating bowl and concourse with sunlight year-round and also offers fans a view of downtown Detroit. To prevent the stadium from becoming an overly imposing presence in the Detroit skyline, the playing field and lower bowl (100 level) were set below street level, similar to the design at adjacent Comerica Park.
Ford Field is one of the few venues in the NFL that has end zones in the east and the west (the others being Arrowhead Stadium, Cowboys Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, the Georgia Dome and Cleveland Browns Stadium). The NFL has a rule against this type of construction, so that the sunlight can not be a major distraction to the players on the field. The NFL had to give permission for the east–west end-zone construction, because the Hudson's warehouse would have required alterations otherwise. The natural light is not a distraction to the players in a day game, because the light only reaches as far as the sidelines, leaving the field still properly lit with the combination of artificial stadium lighting and sunlight.
Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006, as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 21–10 to win their fifth Super Bowl championship in front of 68,206 in attendance. It also marked the final game in the 13-year career of Detroit native and 10-year Steelers running back, Jerome Bettis.
On April 1, 2007, Ford Field hosted World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania 23. This event set a Ford Field attendance record of 80,103. It was the first WrestleMania held in the Detroit area since 93,173 fans set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III in 1987.
The stadium is home to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl featuring a top Mid-American Conference team and a Big Ten Conference team. It has also hosted the annual Mid-American Conference Championship Game since 2004.
On December 13, 2003, Ford Field hosted the largest crowd ever to attend a basketball game up to that time, as 78,129 people packed the stadium for the Basketbowl, where the University of Kentucky defeated Michigan State University, 79–74.
The University of Detroit Mercy and Ford Field hosted the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament regional semifinal and final games (March 28 and 30, 2008), and hosted the 2009 Final Four (April 4 and 6, 2009). For the 2008 NCAA Basketball tournament, the court was placed in the center of the football field rather than in an end of the stadium. This was the first time this configuration was used for NCAA Tournament play with the new 70,000-seat capacity rule in effect.
The Division I NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, known as the Frozen Four, was held on April 8 and 10, 2010 with Boston College defeating University of Wisconsin to win the Championship. This has been the only time NCAA hockey has used a football stadium for the championship and resulted in the largest attendance (37,592) at a Frozen Four event.
The MHSAA Football Finals take place on Thanksgiving weekend, typically drawing over 60,000 fans. The stadium is also used each fall to host the MCBA finals, where Michigan high school marching bands compete to be the best in the state.
On December 13, 2010, the Minnesota Vikings played a home game at Ford Field against the New York Giants after the Metrodome's inflatable roof collapsed due to a rip in the roofing material caused by heavy snow accumulation. The roof failure forced the already postponed game to be moved elsewhere, and after deliberations, the NFL chose Ford Field. It was the first ever regular-season Monday night game in Ford Field. Field Painter Paul Kurdi had to paint the "Norsman" on the center of the Lions home field to ensure swift event assurance for the Football game to feel like Minnesota. The Lions hosted their first ever Monday Night Football game in Ford Field on October 10, 2011, hosting the Chicago Bears.
Ford Field hosted two group stage matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament on June 7, 2011. Panama played Guadeloupe in the first match, and the United States played Canada in the second match.
The Professional Bull Riders will bring their Built Ford Tough Series tour to Ford Field for the first time ever in March 2012. Ford Field is the second Detroit-area venue the BFTS will visit; they had visited The Palace of Auburn Hills in 2001 and 2007.
References and further reading
- Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1891143247.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- "Ford Field Facts & History". Detroit Lions. http://www.detroitlions.com/ford-field/facts-history.html. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
- Mandel, Stewart (March 28, 2008). "Mandel: The Ford Field Experiment". Sports Illustrated. http://www.fannation.com/blogs/post/172176. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
- NCAA. "Attendance Records and Sites". pages 46-47. http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/frozen_4/2010-11/2011f4att.pdf. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
|Events and tenants|
2002 – present
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
2002 – present
2008 – present
Super Bowl XL
|NCAA Men's Division I
Lucas Oil Stadium
|Host of the
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
2006 – present