American Football Database
NRG Stadium
LocationOne Reliant Park Houston, Texas 77054
OwnerHarris County, Texas
OperatorSMG World


72,744 – Wrestling Events
Broke groundMarch 9, 2000
OpenedAugust 24, 2002
Construction cost$352 million
($430 million in 2022 dollars[1])
ArchitectHOK Sport (Populous since 2009)[2]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore Engineers and Consultants
Main contractorsManhattan / Beers (a joint venture)
Houston Texans (NFL) (2002–present)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (a.k.a, HLSR) (2002–present)
Bayou Bucket (NCAA) (2004)
Texas Bowl (NCAA) (2006–present)
WrestleMania XXV (WWE) (2009)
Final Four (NCAA) (2011)

NRG Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Houston, Texas. NRG Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,500, a total square footage of 1,900,000 square feet (176,516 m2) with 97,000 sq ft (9,012 m2) of natural grass playing surface. NRG Stadium is part of a collection of venues (including the Reliant Astrodome), which are collectively called Reliant Park. The stadium was constructed at the cost of $352 million.[3][4] Reliant Stadium is the first facility in the NFL to have a retractable roof.[5] The entire complex is named for Reliant Energy under a 32-year, US$300 million naming rights deal in 2000. The stadium is the home of the National Football League's Houston Texans, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Texas Bowl, host to many international soccer matches for the USA National Soccer Team, and other events. The stadium served as the host facility for Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004 and WrestleMania XXV on April 5, 2009.


The Houston NFL Holdings group came to Populous (then HOK Sport) to begin the schematic design for the first-ever NFL retractable roof football stadium in 1997. The intention was to create a football stadium to replace the Astrodome that would operate like an open-air facility but have the intimacy and comfort of an indoor arena. With the design for football and the square footage requirements of the rodeo, the building was designed in the 1,900,000-square-foot (176,516 m2) range.[4] Groundbreaking for the stadium was on March 9, 2001 and the building was officially topped off in October 2001.[6] The stadium opened on August 24, 2002 and hosted its first football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans on September 8, 2002.[7] Construction was completed in 30 months.[8] The first rodeo was held in the stadium in February 2003.[6]

Hurricane Ike damage

On the night of September 12–13, 2008 the stadium sustained damage from Hurricane Ike forcing the Houston Texans home opener scheduled for September 14 to be postponed. Part of the roof cladding came off and there was wind and water damage to other sections of the stadium. There were also large pieces of debris inside the stadium from the hurricane and the stadium authority declared that the stadium did not suffer significant structural damage except for the roof and the Texans would be able to play all of their 8 home games at Reliant Stadium with the roof open. The Texans home opener against the Baltimore Ravens was initially postponed one day from Sunday, September 14, 2008 to Monday September 15, but when the extent of the damage from Hurricane Ike became known, the NFL rescheduled the Texans & Ravens game to week 10 (November 9, 2008), which was to have been the bye week for the Ravens and the Texans scheduled home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. That game was rescheduled to week 8 (October 26), which was to have been the bye week for both the Texans and Bengals. The Bengals bye week was moved from October 26 to November 9, originally scheduled for the Ravens. Both the Texans and Ravens took their unexpected bye week in week 2, the weekend Hurricane Ike hit East Texas and the Gulf Coast, despite the fact that both teams were preparing that whole week to play that game as scheduled. The stadium reopened on October 5, 2008 when the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts and hosted three additional home games in October. The stadium was repaired by Houston-based rope access inspection and construction firm Reel Group Americas on February 13, 2009.

Design and technology

The stadium was designed by the architectural firms of Hermes Reed Architects and Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam who were teamed to create the Houston Stadium Consultants (HSC). The architects of Populous and the HSC worked together with engineers from Walter P Moore and Uni-Systems to design the stadium utilizing the principles of kinetic architecture.[4][9] The facility offers a sense of transparency with its roof fabric and expansive areas of glazing. At night, the building glows from within.[10] The extensive use of glass provides an open-air feel to the facility's concourses, which are open to the field of play. Reliant Stadium has over 7,000 club seats, 166 luxury suites and multiple lounges and bars.[5] The stadium can be configured to utilize a 125,000-square-foot (11,613 m2) space for meetings, specialty functions, exhibits and concerts.[3] With 12,000 tons of air conditioning capacity, the stadium is the largest indoor air-conditioned space in Texas and, other than multi-terminal airports, is the state's largest public assembly space.[8] One of the most notable aspects of the design is the fabric retractable roof. The roof mechanization consists of two bi-parting large panels that part at the 50 yard line, lying over each end zone when in the resting position. Ten parallel tri-chord trusses ride on two parallel rails, each supported by a large supertruss 675 feet (206 m) long. Roof operation is controlled in the stadium press box from a personal computer, containing live images of the travel path of each roof panel, as well as live feedback from all roof components throughout the operation. The roof panels are able to open or close in as little as 7 minutes, moving up to 35 feet (11 m) per minute.[11]One}}</ref>] </ref>One One bleacher section behind the north end zone, called the "Bull Pen", is the designated fan section for the team. The fans in the Bull Pen interact directly with the action on the field and help to create and implement fan traditions, songs, chants and other elements of the game-day experience to create a positive atmosphere for the team and everyone in attendance at the game. Fans in the Bull Pen are encouraged to stand throughout the game, sing, cheer and otherwise support the team in an enthusiastic manner.[12]

Stadium usage


American football

The Houston Texans have played their home games at Reliant Stadium since their inception in 2002. The annual calendar consists of 8 regular season and 2 pre-season games, plus any playoff games the Texans might host. The first game played was on August 24, 2002, in front of 69,432 in attendance as the Texans hosted the Miami Dolphins in their first preseason game. The first regular season game was played on September 8 of that year, where the expansion Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19–10 in front of 69,604. The first Monday Night Football game in Texans history was held on December 1, 2008 at Reliant Stadium. Playing in front of a then franchise-record crowd of 70,809, the Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 30–17. Since then that record crowd has been broken in the next 2 Texans home games of that season. Their December 7 home game against the Tennessee Titans saw a then record-crowd of 70,831 and the December 28 home finale against the Chicago Bears drew then a current franchise-crowd record of 70,838. That record was broken on November 23, 2009, when a record crowd of 71,153 were in attendance during the Texans second ever Monday Night Football game against Houston's former NFL team, the Tennessee Titans. The Texans home finale of the 2009 season against the New England Patriots on January 3, 2010 drew 71,029. On September 26, 2010 against the Dallas Cowboys drew 71,456, the largest crowd ever to see a Texans game at Reliant Stadium. Reliant Stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004 where the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29 in front of 71,525 in attendance.

File:Reliant stadium houston.jpg

Inside Reliant Stadium during a Houston Texans game


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a co-tenant of Reliant Stadium. "The building is as much for the rodeo as it is for the National Football League," according to Leroy Shafer who is assistant general manager of the rodeo's marketing department.[13] The rodeo is held three weeks in March, each year. During this time Reliant Stadium also hosts an event on the Xtreme Bulls tour, the bull riding-only tour that is part of the PRCA, who also hosts the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The stadium includes a service area level to house rodeo livestock. The bulls, broncs, steers and roping calves are housed in the north end of the stadium under the lower bowl. Loading and unloading dock space to support the rodeo is located on the north end of the stadium. During rodeo performances, rolling doors will separate the dock into two receiving areas to isolate the food and concession deliveries from the rodeo equipment and livestock deliveries. A 42-foot (13 m) concert performance stage is located at the south end of the stadium during rodeo events and is moved into the center of the facility by a hydraulic drive system for rodeo concert performances.[13] During the 2008 rodeo, Miley Cyrus performed a concert before 73,459 rodeo attendees on Sunday, March 9.[7]

File:Reliant Stadium Houston Rodeo.jpg

Interior of Reliant Stadium at the 2006 rodeo

College football

College football's Texas Bowl is annually hosted at the stadium. The stadium hosted the Houston Bowl before the Texas Bowl's inception and also hosted both the 2002 and 2005 Big 12 Championship Games. The 2005 game featured Houston native Vince Young at quarterback for the University of Texas and led the Longhorns to a 70–3 rout of the University of Colorado in front of 71,107 . The University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Southern University, and Prairie View A&M University each have played selected home games at Reliant Stadium. The Bayou Bucket was held in Reliant Stadium in 2004, and the East-West Shrine Game was held there in 2007. The first-ever Texas Bowl in December 2006 featured a game between Rutgers University and Kansas State University, with Rutgers winning, 37–10. The stadium will also host the "Battle of the Piney Woods" starting in 2010. It is one of the oldest football rivalries in Texas featuring Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin. The series is scheduled to run until 2013.


Reliant Stadium hosts several international club matches each year. The games are generally held in the spring and summer before the NFL season starts. The stadium hosted CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in 2005 and 2007. The Gold Cup matches in 2007 included Round 1 matches, and a quarterfinal doubleheader match. The venue's attendance record was set during a preparation match between the Mexican National Team and the U.S. Men's Soccer Team. On February 6, 2008, USA-Mexico was held at Reliant Stadium to a capacity crowd of 70,103 . The previous USA vs. Mexico match in Reliant Stadium drew a sellout crowd of 69,582 fans on May 8, 2003 and is the largest home crowd for the U.S. Men's National Team this decade,[14] until the USA MNT played Mexico for a capacity crowd of 80,702 fans in Giants Stadium for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. Reliant Stadium also hosted the 2010 MLS All-Star Game as English soccer giants, Manchester United won 5–2.

College basketball

The stadium has hosted the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament several times, including the 2008 South Regional Finals, the 2010 South Regional Finals, and the 2011 Final Four. The stadium is also scheduled to host the 2016 Final Four.

Professional wrestling

On April 5, 2009, Reliant Stadium hosted WrestleMania XXV, the twenty-fifth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment with 72,744 people in attendance. It was the second WrestleMania hosted in Houston (the first being WrestleMania X-Seven in the Reliant Astrodome). Fans saw Kid Rock perform and saw many great matches including John Cena defeat Edge and The Big Show, and Triple H retain his title against Randy Orton. They also saw an instant classic where fellow Texans Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker did battle in perhaps the greatest match in WrestleMania history. The Undertaker defeated Michaels after a tombstone to preserve his perfect WrestleMania win streak (17–0) and drive it up to 16 victims (he defeated Kane twice at WrestleMania).[15]

File:WrestleMania XXV - Stage.jpg

WrestleMania XXV stage at Reliant Stadium


  • On August 2, 2003, Metallica along with Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and Deftones played a concert in Reliant Stadium during Metallica's Summer Sanitarium '03 tour. It was at this concert that Linkin Park shot some footage for their DVD Live in Texas.
  • On April 7, 2005, Reliant Stadium played host to a tribute concert for the late pop-singer Selena called Selena ¡VIVE!, held on the 10th anniversary of her death. The concert was broadcast live on the Spanish-language television network Univision. The concert would earn a 35.9 Nielsen household rating making it the most watched Spanish language program in American television history.[16] A video of the finale of her now infamous 1995 concert in Houston was used as the finale of the tribute, as the late icon sang her classic Como La Flor and bid farewell to her Houston fans one last time.
  • Reliant Stadium played host to The Rolling Stones on January 25, 2003, during the band's 2002–2003 Licks Tour.
  • On October 14, 2009, the stadium played host to a U2 concert on their 2009–2010 U2 360° Tour.


  • On September 23, 2011 the Dallas Stars and The Phoenix Coyotes will play a preseason game.

Other events

The Offshore Technology Conference is held annually in Reliant Center and utilizes the stadium for exhibits. In 2006, 59,236 were in attendance which was the largest convention in Houston in 2006 and the highest attendance for the event since 1982.

See also


  1. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  2. .
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Reliant Stadium – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Reliant Stadium". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Reliant Stadium". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Houston Texans – Reliant Stadium". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Architecture of Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas, United States of America". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Quick Facts – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Quick Facts". Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Wide Open Spaces, Modern Steel Construction, July 2003". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  9. "Uni-Systems, Reliant Stadium Project Details". Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  10. "Populous – Reliant Stadium". Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  11. ["30728_EAE_reliant.pdf, Modern Steel Construction, April 2004". [ Retrieved 2008-03-30.
  12. Bull Pen – Houston Texans
  13. 13.0 13.1 Qaddumi, Thora (January 26, 2003). "Reliant Stadium: Ready to rodeo from design concept to showtime – Houston Business Journal". Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  14. "The Official Site of U.S. Soccer – Men's National Team". Retrieved 2008-03-30.[dead link]
  15. Plummer, Dale (2008-03-31). "Mayweather, Orton survive Mania; Edge, Flair don't". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  16. Univision’s Selena ¡Vive! Breaks Audience Records. Univision, November 4, 2005. Retrieved on June 6, 2006.

External links

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Houston Texans

2002 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by

Texas Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium
Host of the
Big 12 Championship Game

Succeeded by

Arrowhead Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium
Preceded by
Qualcomm Stadium
Host of Super Bowl XXXVIII
Succeeded by
ALLTEL Stadium
Preceded by
Citrus Bowl
Host of WrestleMania XXV
Succeeded by
University of Phoenix Stadium