Tiger Stadium
Death Valley
Location West Stadium Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70893
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Broke ground 1924
Opened November 25, 1924
Renovated 1994, 2006, 2011
Expanded 1931, 1936, 1953, 1978, 1988, 2000, 2014
Owner Louisiana State University
Operator Louisiana State University
Surface Celebration Bermuda Grass[1]
Construction cost $1,816,210.58 (1936 horseshoe)[2]
($28.8 million in 2020 dollars[3])
$60 million (renovations)
Architect Wogan and Bernard[4]
Trahan Architects (renovations)
Tenants LSU Tigers football (NCAA) (1924–present)
New Orleans Saints (NFL) (2005) (Four games)
Capacity 12,000 (1924-1930)
22,000 (1931-1935)
30,000 (1936)
46,000 (1937-1952)
68,000 (1953-1961)
67,508 (1962-1965)
67,510 (1966-1973)
67,720 (1974-1976)
67,744 (1977)
76,092 (1978-1983)
76,869 (1984-1985)
77,542 (1986)
78,882 (1987)
80,140 (1988-1992)
80,150 (1993)
79,940 (1994-1999)
91,600 (2000-2004)
92,300 (2005)
92,400 (2006-2010)
92,400 (2011-2013)
±100,000 (2014-future)[5]

Tiger Stadium is an outdoor stadium located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is best known as the home stadium of the Louisiana State University football team. Prior to 1924, LSU played its home games at State Field, which was located between the old Federal Arsenal in Baton Rouge, and the new Louisiana State Capital Building.

Tiger Stadium opened with a capacity of 12,000 in 1924. Renovations and expansions have brought the stadium's current seating capacity to 92,400, making it the tenth largest stadium in the NCAA and the seventeenth largest stadium in the world. When filled to capacity, Tiger Stadium ranks as the sixth largest "city" by population in the state of Louisiana.


Tiger Stadium is well known nationally for having among the best game day atmospheres in college football as well as being one of the most difficult places for an opposing team to play. In the 1980s, a reporter called Tiger Stadium "DEAF Valley," as a play on words relating to Clemson's "Death Valley," which was coined as such in the 1940s by an opposing coach.[6]

Despite being 14–2 at Tiger Stadium, famed Alabama head coach Bear Bryant once remarked that "Baton Rouge happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team. It's like being inside a drum."[7] In 2001, ESPN sideline reporter Adrian Karsten said, "Death Valley in Baton Rouge is the loudest stadium I've ever been in."[8] In 2002, Miami (Ohio) coach Terry Hoeppner said of Tiger Stadium, "That's as exciting an environment as you can have ... we had communication problems we haven't had at Michigan and Ohio State."[8] In 2003, ESPN's Chris Fowler called LSU his favorite game day experience.[8] In 2009 former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stated on Sean Hannity's Fox News show that "Unfair is playing LSU on a Saturday night in Baton Rouge."

Survey after survey has concluded that Tiger Stadium is the most difficult place for a visiting team to play, including surveys by the College Football Association in 1987, The Sporting News in 1989, Gannett News Service in 1995, and Sport Magazine in 1998.[8] More recently, in 2007, ESPN named Tiger Stadium "the scariest place to play," saying that "Tiger Stadium is, by far, the loudest stadium in the country."[9]

In 2009, ESPN writer Chris Low listed Tiger Stadium's Saturday night atmosphere as unsurpassed in the country, ranking it No. 1 out of the conference's 12 stadiums.[10]

LSU prefers night games in Tiger Stadium with its opponents, but television coverage requires that many contests be played in the afternoons. The university is conflicted over maximizing its potential to win to needed advertising revenues from television coverage. As explained by Chet Hilburn in The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football, "The Tigers are apt to win more games at night in Tiger Stadium but the university takes in much more revenue for a day game televised by CBS because of the Southeastern Conference contract with the network is so lucrative."[11]

In 2008, as Alabama narrowly defeated LSU, Wright Thompson of described Tiger Stadium as "the best place in the world to watch a sporting event."[12]

Construction and seating capacityEdit

With an official seating capacity of 92,542, Tiger Stadium is the sixteenth largest stadium in the world by capacity. It is the tenth largest stadium in the NCAA and the fourth largest in the Southeastern Conference, behind Neyland Stadium at Tennessee, Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama, and Sanford Stadium at Georgia.

When the stadium opened in 1924, the seating capacity was 12,000, with grandstands on both sides of the playing field. In 1931, 10,000 seats were added to the existing grandstands.

In 1936 capacity was more than doubled when the north end zone was enclosed with a 24,000-seat addition. Money was not allocated in the state budget for the seating expansion, but money was allocated for dormitories. To bypass the legislature and increase his beloved school's stadium capacity, Governor Huey P. Long ordered that dormitories be built in the stadium, with seating above the student living quarters.[13] Until the early 1990s, the West, North and South Stadium dormitories were featured as part of student housing at LSU. The dormitories were later converted to office space for Athletic Department staff and faculty and studios for the College of Art & Design's Fine Arts graduate students.

File:LSU Tiger Stadium west side.jpg

The horseshoe was eliminated in 1953 by the addition of the south grandstands increasing capacity to 67,720. Unlike the existing stadium structure, they were double-decked in order to fit within the space provided. The first of the two upper decks was added to the west side of the stadium in 1978 to bring capacity to approximately 78,000.[8]

The stadium was upgraded multiple times in the 1980s beginning with replacement of bench seats with chair back seats and waterproofing of the east and west stands in 1985. The playing surface was moved eleven feet to the south to center the field in 1986. The north and south ends of the stadium were waterproofed and chair back seats added in 1987 to bring those sections up to date with the 1985 improvements. Also in 1987 the press box was redecorated, a few more seats were installed at the upper portion of the west lower stands, and all seating within the stadium was renumbered using a uniform seat-width. By the end of the 1980s the stadium held 80,150 spectators.[8]

The official capacity of the stadium was lowered to 80,000 in 1994 when a section of seating was removed for renovations to the visiting team locker room. The east upper deck seating 11,600 was completed in 2000 and brought total capacity to 91,600. The west upper deck was torn down at the end of the 2004 season, and construction began on "The Stadium Club." The new suites contain over 3,200 special amenity seats as a well as a state-of-the-art press box. The "Paul Manasseh Press Box" has been named for and dedicated to the memory of the long-time and popular sports information director. Construction on this addition was scheduled to be completed by the beginning of September 2005, but delayed due to Hurricane Katrina. Construction was completed for the 2006 season, bringing the stadium's capacity to 92,400.[8]. A small number of club seats were added before the 2011 season, increasing the capacity to 92,542.[14]

During construction on the west side, a then-record-breaking crowd of 92,664 fans packed Tiger Stadium in a game against Auburn on October 22, 2005, as LSU defeated Auburn in overtime 20-17.[8] On October 6, 2007 a new record was recorded when 92,910 fans watched as the #1 ranked Tigers defeated the #9 Florida Gators 28-24.[15] A record-breaking attendance of 93,039 was again set on November 8, 2008 when #1 Alabama defeated #16 LSU in overtime 27-21. The record was breached yet again on October 10, 2009 when the #1 ranked Florida Gators came in to Tiger Stadium and defeated #4 LSU 13-3. The attendance was 93,129. The current record of 93,374 was set on November 3, 2012 when #5 LSU lost to #1 Alabama 21-17.

On April 27, 2012, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of a $80 million dollar south end-zone upper deck expansion that will add 6,900 seats and bring the total capacity of Tiger Stadium to approximately 100,000, making it the 7th-largest college football stadium in the country. Construction will begin after the conclusion of the 2012 football season and be completed in the summer of 2014.[16]


Tiger Stadium was the site of the legendary "Earthquake Game" against Auburn in 1988. LSU won the game, 7-6, when quarterback Tommy Hodson completed a game-winning touchdown pass to running back Eddie Fuller in the waning seconds of the game. The crowd reaction registered as a legitimate earthquake on the seismograph in the Louisiana Geological Survey office on campus.[17]

Other famous moments:

  • The Billy Cannon touchdown run on Halloween night in 1959 when #1-ranked LSU scored late in the game to win against #3 Ole Miss by a score of 7-3;[18]
  • The last-second Bert Jones touchdown pass in 1972 against Ole Miss. LSU was down 16–10 with four seconds left in the game when Jones made an incomplete pass. At the end of the play, fans looked at the clock which surprisingly showed one second remaining. LSU used the last second of the game for a touchdown pass from Bert Jones to Brad Davis. According to Ole Miss lore, a sign was put up at the Louisiana–Mississippi border reading "You are now entering Louisiana. Set your clocks back four seconds.";[19] and
  • On October 11, 1997, #14 LSU upset #1 Florida with a 28–21 victory.[20]

Tiger Stadium first opened its gates to fans in the fall of 1924 as LSU hosted Tulane in the season finale. Since the first game in Tiger Stadium, LSU has gone on to post a 354-138-18 (.716) mark in Death Valley.[8] Moreover, Tiger Stadium is also known for night games, an idea that was first introduced in 1931 against Spring Hill (a 35-0 LSU victory). In 2006, LSU celebrated its 75th year of playing night football in Tiger Stadium. LSU has played the majority of its games at night and the Tigers have fared much better under the lights than during the day. Since 1960, LSU is 201–59–3 (.773) at night in Tiger Stadium compared to a 20–22–3 (.476) record during the day over that span.[8] LSU lost its first Saturday night game since 2009 against Alabama on Saturday November 3, 2012. The Crimson Tide defeated LSU 21-17 on a 28 yard screen pass from AJ McCarron to TJ Yeldon with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Hurricane KatrinaEdit

File:New Orleans Saints at Tiger Stadium.jpg

Tiger Stadium at LSU served as a temporary relocation site for the New Orleans Saints for four games of the 2005 NFL season after Hurricane Katrina damaged the Superdome and left much of New Orleans under water. The Saints, however, utilized only 79,000 of Tiger Stadium's seats (the new west side upper deck, which was still under construction, was closed for Saints games). The Saints' first two games in Baton Rouge came on the Sunday immediately following an LSU home game, meaning field crews had to repaint the field to NFL standards immediately following the completion of LSU's games, both of which kicked off at 7 p.m. Due to the time crunch, the NFL granted LSU's request to start the Saints' games in the late slot (3:05 p.m. CST).

The Saints went 0-4 in Tiger Stadium. The first game saw the triumphant return of Nick Saban, who led LSU to the national championship two years earlier. Saban's Miami Dolphins defeated the Saints 21-6. The Saints subsequently lost to the Chicago Bears (20-17), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3) and Carolina Panthers (27-10).

Although none of the Saints' four Baton Rouge dates came close to selling out, the NFL exempted the Saints from the league's blackout rules following Katrina, and the games were televised locally by WAFB and WGMB.

Notable gamesEdit


  • October 3, 1931: LSU plays Tiger Stadium's first night game and defeat Spring Hill 35-0.
  • October 31, 1959: Billy Cannon returns a punt 89 yards for a touchdown as LSU down undefeated Ole Miss, 7-3.
  • November 25, 1961 and November 20, 1965: The Tigers rout archrival Tulane 62-0 twice to go along with a 1958 victory over the Green Wave at Tulane Stadium by exactly the same score.
  • November 8, 1969: LSU coach Charles McClendon defeats his mentor, Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the first time. However, the Tigers' 20-15 victory is their last at home over the Crimson Tide until 2000.


  • December 5, 1970: The Tigers take out two years of frustration against Ole Miss and quarterback Archie Manning, crushing the Rebels 61-17 to win the SEC championship. Manning is sacked late in the second quarter by LSU defensive tackle Ronnie Estay for a safety.
  • November 20, 1971: Tigers avenge a prior year loss by defeating Notre Dame, 28-8, in the Irish' first visit to Baton Rouge.
  • November 4, 1972: Bert Jones makes a last-second touchdown pass to Brad Davis, giving LSU a comeback victory against Ole Miss, 17–16.
  • September 11, 1976: LSU plays No. 1 Nebraska, led by future NFL quarterback Vince Ferragamo, to a 6-6 tie. The Tigers miss an opporutnity to win when Mike Conway's 44-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds sails wide.
  • September 29 and November 10, 1979: LSU loses two games to top-ranked teams, 17-12 to Southern California and 3-0 to Alabama, in coach Charles McClendon's final season.


  • November 20, 1982: With a thick fog enveloping the playing surface, the Tigers crush Florida State 55-21 to earn their first Orange Bowl berth since 1973. As time winds down, oranges rain down from the stands.
  • October 8, 1988: In "The Earthquake Game", Tigers beat Auburn 7-6.
  • October 9, 1993: Tigers suffer their worst loss in 100 seasons of football, 58-3 to Florida.
  • October 11, 1997: Unbeaten and ranked #1, Florida loses to LSU 28-21. This marks the first time in Tiger Stadium history that the goal posts are pulled down.


  • September 30, 2000: The goalposts are torn down again after LSU defeats No. 7 Tennessee in overtime, 38-31.
  • November 4, 2000: LSU beats Alabama for the first time in Tiger Stadium in 31 years (1969). The goalposts are pulled down again, but have not been touched since this game.
  • December 1, 2001: LSU defeats Auburn 27-14 to clinch the SEC West division championship and its first berth in the SEC Championship Game. Auburn is penalized before the game for jumping on the Eye of the Tiger decoration at midfield. Kicking off from the 50-yard line, LSU successfully executes an onside kick and scores a touchdown on the ensuing drive. The game is originally scheduled for September 15, but it is postponed by the September 11 attacks.
  • September 4, 2004: The start of LSU's season opener vs. Oregon State is delayed by severe thunderstorms. The defending national champion Tigers escape 22-21 in the nationally televised contest when Beaver kicker Alexis Serna misses three extra points, the last in overtime.
  • September 3, 2005: The Tigers' scheduled season opener vs. North Texas is postponed to October 29 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
  • September 10, 2005: The Tigers' scheduled home game vs. Arizona State is moved to Tempe, Arizona because LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center is serving as a triage center for victims of Katrina.
  • September 26, 2005: LSU's home opener—and first home game under coach Les Miles--is pushed back to Monday night due to the approach of Hurricane Rita, which roars ashore along the Texas-Louisiana border the morning of September 24. The Tigers lose 30-27 in overtime to Tennessee.
  • October 30, 2005: The first NFL game ever in Tiger Stadium takes place as the Miami Dolphins, coached by former LSU football coach Nick Saban, defeat the New Orleans Saints, 21-6. The Saints lose all four Tiger Stadium games, against the Chicago Bears (20-17 on November 2), against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3 on December 4), and the Carolina Panthers (27-10 on December 18)
  • September 8, 2007: The new record for the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium is set at 92,739 when the No. 2 LSU Tigers beat the No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies, 48-7.
  • October 6, 2007: A raucous crowd of 92,910 sees the No. 1 LSU Tigers beat the defending national champion No. 9 Florida Gators, in a 4th quarter comeback, 28-24, thanks to five fourth-down conversions.
  • October 20, 2007: Tigers defeat Auburn, 30–24, when Matt Flynn throws a touchdown pass, through the hands of Auburn defender Jerraud Powers in the end zone, to Demetrius Byrd with one second left, giving the home team eight consecutive victories in the LSU-Auburn series.
  • August 30, 2008: For the first time ever, the defending champions of both football subdivisions of NCAA Division I play a regular-season game, as the Tigers open their season against three-time defending FCS champions Appalachian State. Due to logistical issues related to the approach of Hurricane Gustav, the kickoff is moved to 10:06 am local time, the earliest in the history of the stadium. LSU avoids the fate of the 2007 Michigan team, who are victims of one of the biggest upsets in college football history when they open the season against Appalachian State. The Tigers score a touchdown on their second play from scrimmage, go out to a 31-0 halftime lead, and cruise to a 41-13 win.
  • November 8, 2008: A crowd of 93,039, then the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history, is on hand to witness the return of former LSU coach Nick Saban to Death Valley as head coach of the #1 ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama. With the score tied, a chip shot field goal that doesn't give Alabama the win is blocked by LSU lineman Ricky-Jean Francois as time expires and sends the stadium into an absolute frenzy. The game goes into overtime where LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee throws his fourth interception of the game. Alabama scores on their ensuing possession to win the game by a score of 27-21.
  • May 30, 2010: Tiger Stadium hosts its first concert series headlining Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.
  • November 25, 2011: LSU completes its first 12-0 regular season in school history, its first undefeated regular season since 1958, and just its third undefeated regular season overall, with a 41-17 romp over Arkansas in the Battle for the Golden Boot. The attendance of 93,108 is the second-highest in stadium history, only 21 fans behind the record set in the 2009 Florida game and 266 behind the 2012 Alabama game.
  • December 2, 2011: The Tiger Athletic Foundation announces that it is exploring expanding the south endzone of the stadium. The total capacity after expansion is not verified, but speculation is that it exceeds 100,000 bringing it near to or above the capacity of its Southeastern Conference counterparts Neyland Stadium and Bryant-Denny Stadium.[21]

Unique featuresEdit

  • Student dormitories built into the stadium were inhabited until the 1980s. Today the space is used for storage.
  • Unlike most football fields, where only the yard lines ending in "0" are marked, Tiger Stadium also marks the yard lines ending in "5".
  • LSU's Tiger Stadium uniquely sports "H" style (or "offset") goal posts, as opposed to the more modern "Y" ("slingshot" or "tuning fork") style used by other schools today, although they are not the true "H" goal posts which were once ubiquitous on American football fields, since the posts are behind the uprights and connected to the uprights by curved bars. This "H" style allows the team to run through the goal post in the north end zone when entering the field. Tiger Stadium is one of only three Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools college stadiums in the nation who still uses the H style goal posts. The only other FBS stadiums that use goalposts with two posts all season are Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State and Martin Stadium at Washington State. Many other schools use the two post goals during rivalry games only to prevent them from being torn down in victory, a real safety concern in recent years. They received special permission from the NCAA prior to the November 20, 1993 game against Tulane in conjunction with LSU's football centennial; NCAA rules have since changed to permit the use of offset uprights full-time. These goal posts remained intact for the four New Orleans Saints games held in 2005, with dispensation from the NFL. Under NFL rules in place since 1967, goalposts for NFL games must be slingshot style and bright gold in color. Tiger Stadium's goalposts are white with the NFL-standard 30-foot uprights. Many schools' uprights are the NCAA-minimum 20 feet high. (LSU used the NFL-style goalposts from 1985 through the first four home games of 1993).
  • At the beginning of the 2009 season LSU unveiled a 27 X 80 Daktronics HD video Board. The $3.1-million display is situated in the north end zone and features (on the back) the football team's three national championships and (on the front) the phrase "Welcome to Death Valley" (the stadium's well-known moniker).

Top 10 Largest CrowdsEdit

Rank Attendance Visiting Team Date Result
1. 93,374 Alabama Nov. 3, 2012 Alabama, 21-17
2. 93,129 Florida Oct. 10, 2009 Florida, 13-3
3. 93,108 Arkansas Nov. 25, 2011 LSU, 41-17
4. 93,098 Auburn Oct. 22, 2011 LSU, 45-10
5. 93,039 Alabama Nov. 8, 2008 Alabama, 27-21 (OT)
6. 93,022 Florida Oct. 8, 2011 LSU, 41-11
7. 93,013 Arkansas Nov. 28, 2009 LSU, 33-30 (OT)
8. 92,969 Alabama Nov. 6, 2010 LSU, 24-21
9. 92,932 Tennessee Oct. 2, 2010 LSU, 16-14
10. 92,915 Ole Miss Nov. 20, 2010 LSU, 43-36



  1. "Celebration Comes to "Death Valley" at LSU". Sod Solutions. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  2. "History Tiger Stadium". Geaux Tiger Talk. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  3. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  4. Ruffin, Thomas F.. Jackson, Jo; Hebert, Mary J.. eds. Under Stately Oaks: A Pictorial History of LSU [The New Campus]. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-8071-2682-9. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  5. Associated Press (July 19, 2012). "LSU Tiger Stadium Expansion Gets OK from Bond Commission". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  6. Bradley, Bob (1991). Death Valley Days: The Glory of Clemson Football. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Press. p. 12. ISBN 1-56352-006-0.
  7. "No place like home". Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 Tiger Stadium
  9. "Death Valley tops list of scary venues for opposing teams". ESPN. Retrieved October 2, 2007.
  10. "My favorite stadiums in the SEC". ESPN. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  11. Chet Hilburn, The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football (Bloomington, Indiana: WestBow Press, 2012), p. 89
  12. Hilburn, p. 7
  13. Forces Shaping the Presidential and Congressional Election Campaigns in 2004
  14. Rabalais, Scott (August 2, 2011). "LSU Announces Record Ticket Sales". The Advocate (Baton Rouge). Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  15. "Primetime Drama! Undisputed No. 1 LSU Rallies Past No. 9 Florida". Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  16. "Tiger Stadium Expansion Renderings". The Advocate (Baton Rouge). Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  17. After 15 Years, LSU-Auburn Game Still An Earthshaking Experience
  18. Tiger Stadium
  19. It's title time once again
  20. LSU Notes: GameDay comes back to Baton Rouge

External linksEdit

Script error

Preceded by
Louisiana Superdome
Home of the
New Orleans Saints
(with Giants Stadium & Alamodome)

2005 (4 games)
Succeeded by
Louisiana Superdome

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