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601 Nelson Road, Stanford, CA 94305, United States
Stanford Stadium (capacity 50,000 as of 2006) is an outdoor athletic stadium on the Stanford University campus, the home of Stanford Cardinal college football team. It originally opened in 1921 as a football and track stadium, an earthen horseshoe with wooden bleacher seating and flooring upon a steel frame. Its original seating capacity was 60,000, which grew to 85,500 by 1927 as a nearly-enclosed bowl. Immediately following the 2005 season, the stadium was completely rebuilt as a dual-deck concrete structure, without a track. Construction of the new Stanford Stadium started just moments after the last game of the 2005 football season, with spectators still in the stands to watch the demolition of the playing surface. This new renovation reduced the seating capacity from 85,000 to 50,000 and removed the track. The most striking difference is the number and configuration of seats. The colossus that seated as many as 94,000 spectators (Big Game, 1935) has been replaced by a cozier, more intimate setting with capacity for 50,000. The two-tier design creates a smaller “bowl,” which brings everyone closer to the action. The nearest fans are only 45 feet from the sideline
The 50,000 figure was conceived by athletics department officials to create more demand for tickets, and to pump up the home-field advantage that a full house produces. Leland acknowledged that Stanford’s facility was influenced by Oregon’s 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium, where sellouts are the norm and raucous, mind-bending noise rattles opposing teams. Fans won’t need to scrunch together, either. Seats in the new stadium are three inches wider and have six more inches of leg room than the old venue provided. All seats between the 15-yard lines have armrests and backrests. Stanford Stadium is quite the visually appealing sight to behold. It sits in a grove of redwoods and is built into the ground with a hillside all along the backside of the seating. Once inside, the sight is of the great green expanse, contrasting with the red seats, all cupped together by the white pillars and palm trees that stand high above the field, looking down on the action.
New conveniences and amenities are abundant. There are three additional tunnels for easier access, huge geeked-up video scoreboards at each end, up-to-code disability access and a ninefold increase in seating for the disabled. The Family Fun Zone behind the north end stands features a grassy play area and a well-equipped playground. And remember the flimsy tables and dumpy trailers that passed for concession areas in the old stadium, where buying a hot dog was a lesson in frustration? Well, SS II has more than 200 concession stands and a 1,800-square-foot souvenir shop.
Fan Author: Ari Royals / Photo Credit: Chad Kainz
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