Home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field serves as the replacement to the Pontiac Silverdome, which was host to the Lions, the Detroit Pistons and other big sporting events. Ford Field was opened on August 24th, 2002, after about two and a half years of construction at a cost of $430 million.
Money for the new stadium was raised through a combination of private and public funds, including the sale of naming rights to Ford at a cost of $40 million for the first twenty years of the facility’s existence. Ownership of the Detroit Lions has involved a member of the Ford family since 1963.
Ford Field is located in downtown Detroit, close to the Canadian border, across the city of Windsor. The designers used the old Hudson’s department store site to build a variety of private luxury suites and premium club seats. Similar to the O.co Coliseum, the Ford Field playing surface and bottom bowl are below street level, making the venue less conspicuous from outside the building. Originally, this stadium was intended to be an open air facility.
Detroit Lions Stadium
Over the past five seasons, the Lions have done reasonably well, posting a 22-18 record for a .550 winning percentage. They nearly had a perfect record at home in 2014, going 7-1 with their only loss coming against the Buffalo Bills in week five. Comparatively, on the road, they’ve had a record of 16-24.
The 2010 NFLPA survey of playing surfaces around the league revealed that players considered Ford Field the eighth best artificial paying surface in the NFL, a drop from fifth place for the 2008 survey. The FieldTurf Natural HD artificial turf receives plenty of natural light due to the large skylights and windows that are part of the design of the stadium.
Ford Field claims to have some of the best sightlines in the league by avoiding the usual design and construction of club, suite and premium seats, which results in a upper bowl that’s lower to the field compared to other stadiums. This was made possible by taking advantage of the old Hudson warehouse that previously occupied the land.
Date Opened: August 24th, 2002
Construction Cost: $500 million
Architect: Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz Architects; Rosetti Associates Architects; Hamilton Anderson Associates, Inc.
Capacity Attendance: 65,000
Playing Surface: FieldTurf Natural HD
Previous Detroit Lions Stadiums
Universal Stadium; University of Detroit Stadium; Tiger Stadium; Pontiac Silverdome
Other Major Events
Super Bowl XL
The Pittsburg Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 21-10 on February 5th, 2006, witnessed by 68,206 at Ford Field. Jerome Bettis, the Steeler running back who hails from Detroit, had the pleasure of winning in the town he grew up in during the last game of his career.
April Fool’s Day in 2007 brought the 23rd WrestleMania back to Detroit, attracting nearly 100,000 fans for the spectacle. WrestleMania III was the first time this event arrived in Detroit, setting an attendance record of 93,173 at the Silverdome. When it returned to Ford Field, the event set a venue record by attracting 80,103 wrestling fanatics.
Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills Home Games
Due to snow-related emergencies, both the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings had to use Ford Field as their home turf.