Some of the most popular stadiums in all of college football are considered to be much more than venues for sporting events; they are shrines to the game. These include places such as; Ohio Stadium, Michigan Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Neyland Stadium. They’re all noteworthy places in college football history that have been around for more than half a century.
In fact, these stadiums did not cost all that much to build the first time around. For instance, Utah State’s Romney Stadium cost $3 million to build in 1968. This is equal to around $20 million when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, it cost $35,000 to build Grant Field on the Georgia Tech campus in 1913. This would total $830,000 if the money were adjusted for inflation.
Many stadiums that have been introduced in recent years cost much more to build. This is because the design standards for such modern properties tend to be higher and also because they are more likely to come with the latest technology built right into them. For instance, it took years for the University of Texas to have a massive high-definition scoreboard installed in their old stadium, while the University of Minnesota had one ready to go for the opening of the TCF Bank Stadium in 2009.
This listing of the most expensive stadiums in college football was compiled based on two factors. First, there is the total amount of money used to build the stadium with inflation taken into consideration. Second, there is the additional amount used to carry on extensive renovations to keep a place viable instead of moving elsewhere. For instance, at a cost of $2.3 million to build in 1926, Northwestern’s Ryan Field isn’t expensive enough to make this list. However, with inflation, plus a $20 million renovation project it underwent in 1996, it comes out with a total cost of $54.3 million.
Note: Stadiums that also house NFL teams like Gillette Stadium (Massachusetts/New England) and Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Panthers and Steelers) are not included.
10. Beaver Stadium – Penn State – $105 Million
Beaver Stadium has been in operation for a little more than fifty years. PennState’s home in University Park can hold 106,572 people, but it can only fit around 46,000 when the original $1.6 million version of the stadium was built. Nearly $90 million has been spent on the stadium in the past decade and there are plans to spend around $10 million on a new high-definition scoreboard that will be at least 100 feet long.
9. Jones AT&T Stadium – Texas Tech – $115 million
It cost $400,000 to build Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock in 1947. Texas Tech has engaged in many renovation projects over the years including a $25 million project to add a Spanish Renaissance-inspired façade on the stadium’s eastern end. The stadium has a large video board, but the double-T scoreboard that has been in the stadium since 1978 can still be found there to this very day.
8. Neyland Stadium – Tennessee – $137 million
Neyland Stadium was built in Knoxville for $42,000 in 1921. It could only fit 3,500 fans at the time. The stadium has been progressively expanding over the years to where it can now hold 102,455 people. Much of this entailed a large press box and suite area on the side of the stadium and even a club space that has a view of the Tennessee River. The stadium is one of the most popular in the SEC today.
7. High Point Solutions Stadium – Rutgers – $166 million
High Point Solutions Stadium was built in 1993 but it’s near the location where Rutgers played the first college football game in 1869. The $102 million expansion project for the stadium includes a large growth of club seats, the southern end being closed off with brand new seats and a football center. About $85 million of the funds being used come from bonds to finance the process of getting the stadium ready.
6. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium – Louisville – $193 million
Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium is a rarity as it’s a college football stadium that opened after 1995. It opened in 1998 and received $5 million from the Papa John’s pizza company for the naming rights. Around 13,000 seats were added alongside a new high-definition scoreboard during the past couple of years. These changes to the stadium helped to bring it to a total value of $193 million.
5. Ohio Stadium – OhioState – $212 million
Ohio Stadium, or the Horseshoe, has housed OhioState football games since 1922. It cost $18.7 million to build when you adjust the original $1.3 million cost into 2013 dollars. It could fit 66,000 people when it first opened. A $194 million renovation project was undertaken a few years ago with a majority of the cost covered by club seats and suite sales. Today the stadium and its famed rotunda are still on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
4. Michigan Stadium – Michigan – $238 million
Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor can fit 109,901 people but it could only fit 82,000 back in 1927. It cost $950,000 to initially build the stadium, a total that equals $13 million today. The 2007 renovation project cost more than $200 million to complete and was done as a means of allowing the stadium to become more accessible. A new scoreboard was added during the project. The stadium has also developed support for outdoor ice hockey games.
3. Husky Stadium – Washington – $287 million
A total of $280 million was spent recently on the new renovation project to modernize the Husky Stadium, a field in Seattle that has hosted Husky football since 1920. The field was lowered by a few feet, the roofing surfaces on the standards was replaced, permanent seats were added all around, new amenities were added and the old running track on the outside was removed. The stadium opened up in 2013 after being closed for two years.
2. Alamodome – UT-San Antonio – $301 million
It cost $186 million to build the Alamodome in 1993. This total equals out to $301 million today. The UTSA has used the stadium since 2011 but the stadium has been home to many other football events over the years. These include the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, three New Orleans Saints games in 2005, the Alamo Bowl and San Antonio Texans CFL football in 1995 during the Canadian league’s attempt to expand into the United States.
1. TCF Bank Stadium – Minnesota – $330 million
The TCF Bank Stadium was built in 2009. In addition to hosting Golden Gophers football, it will house the Minnesota Vikings for the 2014 and 2015 seasons while a new stadium for the team is built. The TCF Bank Stadium cost $330 million because of many things like its artificial playing surface, a 108-foot-long scoreboard, a massive brick façade and many items designed to support the stadium’s LEED credentials. It can also expand to fit 80,000 people as needed.
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