Spartan Stadium is
the home of Michigan State football. Originally dedicated as
College Field in 1923, the stadium is the 20th largest
college football stadium in the nation, and the fifth largest in
the Big Ten Conference with a stated capacity of 75,005 people.
The Early Years
Michigan State University’s football program began to outgrow its
home at Old College Field in the early 1920s, university officials
started work on a successor facility, and in fall of 1923 the 14,000
seat College Field facility was opened to Spartan football fans.
Many additions were made to this facility to keep up with the growing
popularity of the football program, starting in 1935 when capacity
was increased to 26,000 people. The stadium was re-dedicated as
Macklin Field in honor of John Macklin, who was theMSU head coach
from 1911-1915, managing to keep a 29-5 record over the five seasons he
was with the program. In 1948 MSU joined the Big Ten and nearly
doubled the capacity of the facility to 51,000 seats, and changed the
name of the facility to Macklin Stadium.
the football program continued to flourish under the coaching of
Clarence “Biggie” Munn and Hugh “Duffy” Daugherty, 9,000 seats were
added in 1956. This was followed by the addition of the upper decks of
the stadium (bringing total capacity to 76,000) and the renaming of
the facility to Spartan Stadium.
Modernization and Expansion
stadium was converted from its previous to an artificial turf
system, Tartan Turf, in 1969. In 1973, a modern scoreboard system and
public address system were added and the stadium floor was converted
to Astroturf. 10 foot by 65 foot video and scoreboard system was
added for the 1991 season. Major renovations to the stadium occurred
in 1994, reducing the capacity of the stadium to 72,027. These
renovations were designed to improve sightlines and comfort for fans,
more wheelchair accessibility, better field security, and allow for the
addition of club seating. Renovations that year also included
installing another artificial turf system, similar to that used at
the Meadowlands by the New York Giants and the Jets. In 1998 the
stadium had its sound system upgraded, and a 21 foot by 27 foot
Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video board was added to the south end zone.
2002, the playing surface was converted back to grass, allowing the
Spartan football team to play their games on a natural playing
surface for the first time since 1969. The surface was designed using
a modular system that the MSU turfgrass management program scientists
originally designed for use in the Pontiac Silverdome during the 1994
World Cup. In 2003 work began on a $64 million stadium expansion
project, which was unveiled on September 3, 2005. The addition added
twenty four luxury suites; eight hundred sixty two Club seats; new
press/media facilities; office space for University Development, the
MSU Alumni Association, and other MSU departments; new recruiting
and training facilities for the MSU Athletic Department; a “grand
entrance” to house the famed MSU Sparty statue; and an additional
3000 seats to the stadium.
Spartan Stadium Trivia
- Spartan Stadium has been ranked the 8th most scenic Stadium in the US by Mel Kiper of ESPN.
Ballparks.com. Spartan Stadium. http://football.ballparks.com/NCAA/Big10/MichiganState/index.htm . Accessed 11/4/07.
CollegeGridirons.com. Spartan Stadium. http://www.collegegridirons.com/bigten/SpartanStadium.htm . Accessed 11/4/07.
imdb.com. Trivia for Sparticus (1960).http://www.us.imdb.com/title/tt0054331/trivia . Accessed 11/4/07.
Kiper Jr., Mel. “For scenery, check out Michie Stadium”. ESPN.com. http://espn.go.com/melkiper/s/2002/0711/1404492.html . Published 3/8/2002. Accessed 11/4/07.
Latham, Krista. “Game shatters records, players’ expectations”. The State News. http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2001/10/game_shatters_records. Published 10/8/2001. Accessed 10/4/07.
Michigan State University. Spartan Stadium Field Conversion Update: The Science Behind the Sod. Published 6/10/02. Accessed 11/4/07.