|Location||451 South 1400 East |
Salt Lake City, Utah
|Broke ground||November 1997|
|Opened||September 12, 1998|
|Owner||University of Utah|
|Operator||University of Utah|
|Surface||FieldTurf - (2002-present)|
Natural grass (2000-01)
|Construction cost||$50 million|
($67.4 million in 2022 dollars)
|Structural engineer||Reaveley Engineers + Associates|
|Services engineer||Van Boerum & Frank Associates, Inc.|
|General Contractor||Layton Construction|
|Tenants||Utah Utes (NCAA) (1998-present)|
Real Salt Lake (MLS) (2005-08)
Rice-Eccles Stadium is an outdoor college football stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the campus of the University of Utah. It is the home field of the Utah Utes of the Pacific-12 Conference. It served as the main stadium for the 2002 Winter Olympics; the Opening and Closing Ceremonies were held at the stadium, which was temporarily renamed "Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium".
When Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, it was obvious that Rice Stadium, the largest outdoor stadium in Salt Lake City, was not suitable to serve as the main stadium. The concrete, timber, and earth-fill facility had been built in 1927 and was showing its age. In 1996, U of U athletic director Chris Hill announced plans to renovate Rice Stadium into a new facility that would be up to Olympic standards. It was initially expected to take three years to completely overhaul the facility.
However, in 1997, Spencer Eccles, a Utah alumnus and chairman of Utah's biggest bank, First Security Corporation (now part of Wells Fargo), announced that the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation would donate $10 million toward the project. In recognition of this gift, the U of U received permission from the Eccles family to add George Eccles's name to the stadium alongside that of Robert L. Rice, who had funded the original renovation project to Rice Stadium in 1972. Before it was called Rice Stadium, it was called Ute Stadium, which opened in 1927 with a Utah win over Colorado Mines.
Immediately after the final home game on November 15, fittingly a 31–14 victory over Rice, most of Rice Stadium was demolished for the renovation. All that remained of the old stadium were the stands in the south end zone, built in 1982. The stadium did not miss a football season, as the project was timed not to disrupt the 1997 home schedule. The new stadium was ready less than 10 months later for the 1998 home opener, a 45–22 win over Louisville on September 12. The stadium now seats 45,807 and has a 6-story press box, as in 2014 a row of bleachers has been added in the standing room areas on the east, west and north sections of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Forty ADA seats were also added for a total of 790 new seats, bringing the capacity of Rice-Eccles Stadium to 45,807 (from 45,017). There will still be space for standing room behind the new row of bleachers.
In June 2010, the U of U accepted an invitation to join the Pacific-10 Conference (which changed its name to the Pacific-12 Conference shortly after the Utah Utes and the Colorado Buffaloes joined)  and began playing in the conference during 2011-2012 season. It is expected that Rice-Eccles Stadium is to be expanded and the locker room facilities upgraded. This claim was furthered when both KSL.com and the Deseret News reported that the University was seriously considering expanding the stadium by at least 10,000 seats, which would bring the total stadium capacity to anywhere between 55,000 to 60,000.
Olympic Cauldron Park
Immediately south of the stadium is the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Cauldron Park. The park contains a 2002 Winter Olympic museum, the Olympic cauldron, Hoberman Arch, and other memorabilia from the games.
When the stadium reopened in 1998, its surface was SportGrass, a hybrid of natural grass and artificial turf. Earlier, Rice Stadium had been among the first facilities to use SportGrass. A full natural grass was installed in 2000 for two seasons, then was covered by asphalt blacktop for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in February.
2002 Winter Olympics & Paralympics
During the 2002 Winter Olympics, the stadium served as the venue for the Opening Ceremony on February 8, 2002, and for the Closing Ceremony on February 24, 2002. In order to host the ceremonies, the grass field was paved over with asphalt and a stage was constructed, scoreboards were removed, flags and Olympic livery were installed, temporary seating was brought in (allowing more than 50,000 spectators), and the 2002 Olympic cauldron was installed atop the southern bleachers. For the duration of the games, the stadium was temporary renamed the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium. Through broadcasts from the stadium an estimated 3.5 billion people worldwide watched the Opening and Closing Ceremonies on television. The opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Paralympics was also held in the stadium on March 7, 2002.
The Rolling Stones played here three times: In October 1994, when the venue was known as Rice Stadium and during their Voodoo Lounge Tour, in 2002 during their Licks Tour and 2006 during their Bigger Bang Tour.
U2 were scheduled to kick off the 3rd leg of their 360° Tour here, on June 3, 2010, but was postponed, due to Bono's emergency back surgery. They returned on May 24, 2011, with The Fray as their opening act.
Real Salt Lake
Rice-Eccles Stadium was also the home field of the Major League Soccer franchise Real Salt Lake from 2005 until October 2008, when Rio Tinto Stadium was opened in the suburb of Sandy, south of Salt Lake City.
Rice-Eccles Stadium replaced Rice Stadium, the former home field of the Utah Utes football team. The first Utes game at the stadium was a 45–22 victory over the Louisville Cardinals was held on September 12, 1998 with 44,112 in attendance. The Utes had a 53–16 record at the stadium through the 2009 season.
|1||October 25, 2014||8:00 pm||#20 USC||W 24–21||47,619|
|2||September 11, 2003||5:45 pm||California||W 31–24||46,768|
|3||November 6, 2010||1:30 pm||#4 TCU||L 47–7||46,522|
|4||November 22, 2008||4:00 pm||#14 BYU||W 48–24||46,488|
|5||August 28, 2014||5:30 pm||Idaho State||W 56–14||45,925|
|6||September 6, 2014||1:00 pm||Fresno State||W 59–27||45,864|
|7||September 27, 2014||6:00 pm||Washington State||L 27–28||45,859|
|8||September 2, 2010||6:30 pm||#15 Pittsburgh||W 27–24OT||45,730|
|9||November 6, 2008||6:00 pm||#11 TCU||W 13–10||45,666|
|10||September 15, 2012||8:00 pm||BYU||W 24–21||45,653|
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- "Rice-Eccles Stadium". Reaveley Engineers + Architects. Archived from the original on May 13, 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20030513003907/http://www.reaveley.com/html/projectpages/riceeccles.htm. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- "Benjamin L. Davis, P.E.: Notable Projects". Van Boerum & Frank Associates, Inc.. http://www.vbfa.com/team_benjaminldavis_notable_vbfa.html. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
- "Rice-Eccles Stadium". University of Utah. 2009. http://utahutes.cstv.com/trads/utah-trads-ricestadium.html. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
- Topographic map from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
- 2002 Winter Olympics official report. Volume 1. p. 101.
- KSL-TV (June 17, 2010). "University of Utah accepts invitation to join Pac-10". KSL-TV. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=635&sid=11210641. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
- Riley Roche, Lisa (December 16, 2002). "Cauldron site under construction". Deseret News. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/954340/Caldron-site-under-construction.html. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
- "AbTurf wars: U. of U., BYU to get new fields". Salt Lake Tribune. 2009. http://www.sltrib.com/utahutes/ci_12511121. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
- Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2002). Official Report of the XIX Olympic Winter Games. p. 101. ISBN 0-9717961-0-6. http://www.la84foundation.org/6oic/OfficialReports/2002/2002v1.pdf. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
- Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2001). Official Spectator Guide. p. 187.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rice-Eccles Stadium.|
- University of Utah - official university site - Rice-Eccles Stadium
- Continuum Winter 1998: History of Utah's football stadiums
- Utah Utes.com - official athletics site - Rice-Eccles Stadium
- Google Maps
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Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)
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