Stanford Stadium has assumed a place as one of the most beautiful and fan-friendly football facilities in the country. The venue has a cozy seating capacity of 50,424, a considerable difference from the 85,000 that existed in what was previously the largest privately owned college football facility in the United States.
When Stanford took the field against Navy on Sept. 16, 2006, it signaled the culmination of 10 months of nonstop work that began minutes after the final play of the 2005 home season to reconstruct the old stadium into the new version.
Of course, that was more than twice as long as the four months it took to build the original stadium in 1921, for $211,000. Construction was sparked by a feud with the University of California to see who could complete a new football facility first. Stanford won.
Stanford Stadium has a long and storied history. In 1928, Herbert Hoover, a former Stanford football student manager, gave his acceptance speech there upon being nominated as the Republican presidential candidate.
During the height of the Cold War, track coach Payton Jordan brought the USA-USSR dual meet to Stanford in 1962. The two-day event drew a combined crowd of more than 150,000 to a meet that ended with both teams walking arm-in-arm on a victory lap that left at least one writer calling it “the greatest track meet of all time.”
The stadium was the site of the 1985 Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, and the longtime home of the East-West Shrine all-star football game.
Stanford Stadium boasts a strong soccer tradition, including: six matches in the 1994 World Cup, including a July 4 showdown between the U.S. and Brazil; the 1999 Women’s World Cup semifinal between the U.S. and Brazil; nine matches of the 1984 Olympic tournament; the 1981 NCAA men’s soccer final; and the annual California Clasico between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy.