Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
|Country||United States of America|
|Inauguration||20/10/1923 (Sooners - Washington University, 62-7)|
|Renovations||1925, 1929, 1949, 1957, 1974,1980, 1997, 2003|
|Record attendance||86,031 (Sooners - Notre Dame, 27/10/2012)|
|Cost||$ 293,000 (1923), $ 160 million (2015-2017)|
|Address||180 East Brooks Street, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA|
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – stadium description
Though the first game here was played in 1923, there were no permanent seats until 1925. This is when the massive west side was built with 16,000 capacity. By 1929 identical structure was also raised in the east. This shape prevailed for 20 years with Oklahoma Memorial Stadium name from the start, commemorating Oklahomans killed in the WWI (later also other wars).
The golden era began in late 1940s, when local football side Sooners began winning national titles. Starting in 1950 they managed to win national championship 7 times in 25 years. In 1950 the north side was enclosed, in 1959 the south end followed. However, there were never corner sections built in the south due to training fields neighbouring the stadium closely. What remained is to go up and upwards they went in 1975, when the west side’s upper deck was added.
Since then the building was left nearly unchanged for the rest of the century. For example, until 1997 there were no permanent floodlights for night games and until 2003 fans in the east were drowned in dust when entering or exiting the stadium for lack of properly paved areas.
This changed with the first major redevelopment of the 21st century in 2003. Facilities throughout the stadium were upgraded and the east side received its own upper deck with numerous corporate zones, including 27 skyboxes. This is when the stadium reached its capacity of 81,000+, but may grow to 84,000 in the summer of 2016.
The naming is an interesting issue as the fullest name would be Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at Owen Field. Gaylords are the family who contributed largely to the 2003 redevelopment and Bennie Owen was honoured in the field’s name after he wasn’t only a memorable coach, but also helped raise money himself for the initial stadium back in 1920s.
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It’s classy, expensive and will boost the stadium’s revenue immensely. But the latest plan by University of Oklahoma hardly tackles the issue of season ticket waiting list.
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