Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Ford Field

Ford Field, located in downtown Detroit across Brush Street from Comerica Park, replaced the Pontiac Silverdome as the home of the Detroit Lions NFL football team in 2002. Plans for constructing the stadium began in August 1996. The $500 million stadium broke ground November 16, 1999, three years after Wayne County voters approved a funding referendum that paid 51 percent of the building cost, with the team, owned by the William Clay Ford family, paying the remainder. The construction took 32 months to complete. The first game played at Ford Field was a Detroit Lions preseason game against the Pittsburg Steelers on August 24, 2002, in which Detroit lost 35-22. The first regular season game was against the Green Bay Packers on September 22, 2002.

Architectural firm SmithGroup created the plans for the stadium, incorporating the former Hudson’s store warehouse, which was built on the site in the 1920s. The six-story warehouse, which flanks the southern sideline of the field, is home to 112-suite level seats. A seven-story atrium with a view of the Detroit skyline fills the razed portion of the warehouse. Unlike most domed stadiums, Ford Field allows natural sunlight to reach the field through large glass windows and skylights in the dome’s ceiling. 

Attendance capacity is 65,000 for football games and 80,000 for basketball games. The 2009 NCAA Final Four was held at Ford Field, and soccer and college hockey games have also been played there. The stadium also hosts numerous concerts, the first being the Rolling Stones on October 12, 2002, and have included local favorites Kid Rock and Eminem as well as pop icon Madonna. Other events held at Ford Field include World Wrestling Entertainment’s 2007 Wrestlemania, where a record attendance of over 80,000 was set, and monster truck rallies.

On February 5, 2006 Ford Field was the host of Super Bowl XL, where the Pittsburg Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. In 2017, Ford Field was renovated to include new video boards and sound system.



Flyer supporting the proposed Ford Field, 1996

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