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50 largest college football stadiums

  • 50 largest college football stadiums

    The 2019 college football season kicks off Aug. 24 in Orlando when the Florida Gators, who finished 10-3 last year, take on the Miami Hurricanes, who closed out the 2018 season 7-6.  The action on the field will undoubtedly be as captivating as ever for the country’s second-most popular sport. College football’s rabid television-viewing audience numbered 163 million unique fans in 2018, while 47 million people attended games last year.

    While the league is enjoying reaching a broader audience than ever before, the average in-person attendance at college football games has slumped seven times in the last eight years, with an average of 41,856 fans per game in 2018 according to CBS Sports. That news outlet reported in March 2019 these averages represent the lowest attendance numbers for the 129 Football Subdivision (FBS) teams since 1996. This has led schools to take desperate measures to keep fans in their seats, such as the University of Pittsburgh offering a free beverage to any student who stayed for the entire game. Compounding subpar attendance figures is the fact that major college football programs boast some of the largest venues in all of sports—and more empty seats create a bad perception.

    When these massive stadiums fill up, however, it makes for an incredibly raucous viewing experience that feels unique to college football. The top-10 schools all boast a seating capacity greater than 89,000, with the largest capacity exceeding 110,000 seats. To find out with teams can cram the most fans into their stadiums—and to celebrate the game’s most esteemed venues—Stacker has ranked the 50 largest college football stadiums by seating capacity. We used data from College Gridirons to order each arena. Each stadium in the top 50 holds over 58,000 fans, and eight top the 100,000-mark. Each stadium’s marquee game is also provided.

    Keep reading to find out where your favorite team falls on the list.

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  • #50. Sun Devil Stadium

    - College: Arizona State
    - Conference: Pac 12
    - Capacity: 56,232
    - Opened: 1958

    Fast facts: Constructed between two mountain buttes, Sun Devil Stadium perfectly showcases the region’s desert landscape. The stadium’s field is named after legendary head coach Frank Kush, who led Arizona State’s football program from 1958 to 1979. Sun Devil Stadium in June finished a five-year, $307 million renovation project that features a 12,000-square-foot air-conditioned club area, office space, and a 5,000-square-foot beer garden.

    Marquee game: Sept. 21, 1996 - Arizona State 19, Nebraska 0

  • #49. Carter-Finley Stadium

    - College: North Carolina State
    - Conference: ACC
    - Capacity: 57,583
    - Opened: 1966

    Fast facts: Prior to the opening of Carter-Finley Stadium, North Carolina State played its home games at Riddick Stadium, which was built in 1907 and never held over 23,000 seats. Carter-Finley Stadium underwent expansion in 1992 and 2003, bringing its number of seats to its current total.

    Marquee game: Nov. 1, 2003 - North Carolina State 51, Virginia 37

  • #48. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

    - College: Mississippi
    - Conference: SEC
    - Capacity: 58,580
    - Opened: 1915

    Fast facts: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is named after Judge William Hemingway, a professor and chairman of the university’s athletics committee, and Johnny Vaught, who coached Ole Miss from 1947 to 1970 and won three national titles. The venue underwent expansion in 2016 to make it the largest stadium in the state.

    Marquee game: Sept. 17, 1977 - Mississippi 20, Notre Dame 13

  • #47. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium

    - College: West Virginia
    - Conference: Big 12
    - Capacity: 60,000
    - Opened: 1980

    Fast facts: Known officially as Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium (or simply Mountaineer Field), the current site of West Virginia’s home games originally seated 50,000. The Mountaineers have one of the coolest traditions in college football, as the team and fans sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” after each home win.

    Marquee game: Oct. 15, 2005 - West Virginia 46, Louisville 44 (3OT)

  • #46. Boone Pickens Stadium

    - College: Oklahoma State
    - Conference: Big 12
    - Capacity: 60,218
    - Opened: 1920

    Fast facts: Boone Pickens Stadium is named after business magnate and Oklahoma State alumnus T. Boone Pickens, who donated $165 million to the school’s athletic department. The money went toward massive advancements in the school’s athletic facilities, including an expansion to the football stadium that raised its capacity to 60,218 in 2009.

    Marquee game: Dec. 3, 2011 - Oklahoma State 44, Oklahoma 10

  • #45. Memorial Stadium

    - College: Illinois
    - Conference: Big Ten
    - Capacity: 60,670
    - Opened: 1923

    Fast facts: Named after the fallen soldiers of World War I, Illinois’ Memorial Stadium opened the same year “Red” Grange—widely considered among the greatest college football players of all time—first arrived on campus. On Oct. 18, 1924, the day of the stadium’s official dedication, Grange scored six touchdowns in a 39-14 win over Michigan. That mark remains the highest-scoring individual performance in Memorial Stadium history.

    Marquee game: Oct. 18, 1924 - Illinois 39, Michigan 14

  • #44. Jones AT&T Stadium

    - College: Texas Tech
    - Conference: Big 12
    - Capacity: 60,862
    - Opened: 1947

    Fast facts: Upon the opening in 1947, Jones Stadium held 27,000 seats. That number jumped to 41,500 after an expansion in 1959, and several 21st-century expansions brought that figure to its present state. The stadium took on its current name in 2006 after SBC Communications, which donated more than $25 million to the school, officially changed its name to AT&T.

    Marquee game: Nov. 1, 2008 - Texas Tech 39, Texas 33

  • #42. Kroger Field (tie)

    - College: Kentucky
    - Conference: SEC
    - Capacity: 61,000
    - Opened: 1973

    Fast facts: Kroger Field is the newest football stadium in the SEC. Until 2015, the playing surface fittingly featured Kentucky bluegrass, but has since been changed to a synthetic turf. The 2017 season was the first featuring the venue’s current name, thanks to a 12-year naming rights deal.

    Marquee game: Oct. 13, 2007 - Kentucky 43, LSU 37 (3OT)

  • #42. Jack Trice Stadium (tie)

    - College: Iowa State
    - Conference: Big 12
    - Capacity: 61,000
    - Opened: 1975

    Fast facts: Jack Trice Stadium is named after the university’s first African American student-athlete. Trice played for the Cyclones briefly during the 1923 season before dying from injuries sustained in a game against the University of Minnesota. Iowa State in 1997 dedicated its stadium in Trice’s honor shortly after it underwent expansion.

    Marquee game: Nov. 18, 2011 - Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31 (2OT)

  • #41. Scott Stadium

    - College: Virginia
    - Conference: ACC
    - Capacity: 61,500
    - Opened: 1931

    Fast facts: Scott Stadium underwent a $25 million expansion project in 1997. It was completed in 2000, bringing the field’s capacity to its current figure. It is the fifth-oldest stadium in the ACC. Scott Stadium in 2017 added two hospitality tents under the scoreboard and two LED boards on the field level.

    Marquee game: Nov. 2, 1995 - Virginia 33, Florida State 28

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