6 Oldest Pro Sports Stadiums in the U.S.
The San Francisco 49ers lost Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens after enduring a 34-minute power outage in Mercedes–Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Opened in 1975, the Superdome is one of the oldest in the NFL. The 49ers home field, Candlestick Park is even older than the Superdome and now it has been scheduled to be demolished at the end of 2013. Candlestick Park is also the former home of major league baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. The stadium was built for the Giants, who had relocated to San Francisco from New York in 1957 as part of baseball’s “Go West” expansion to the Pacific Coast. Construction began in 1958 and the first game was played in 1960. President Richard Nixon threw out the first baseball. The stadium has also been a temporary home to Bay Area rivals the Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Raiders. The stadium was the first of its kind to be built entirely of reinforced concrete and is the only NFL stadium that was originally designed for baseball. The stadium had a reputation for being the coldest stadium in baseball and was known for its legendary wind conditions. The Beatles played their last concert in Candlestick in 1966. The stadium is one of the oldest outdoor stadiums in major league baseball or football.
Stadiums are as much a part of the lore of sports as are the players, games and teams. Here is a list of the 5 oldest outdoor stadiums in usage by major league baseball or football teams
1. Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.
Home to the NFL's Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field opened in 1957. Its nickname is the “Frozen Tundra” for the frigid conditions and often frozen playing field. The stadium nickname was a result of a game played between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. In 1967, the teams met and played in temperatures of –15°F (–26°C). The game became known as the “Ice Bowl” and Lambeau was forever after known as the “Frozen Tundra.” A popular occurrence is the “Lambeau Leap,” when a player will jump into the stands after scoring a touchdown.
2. Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.
Soldier Field is home to the NFL's Chicago Bears. The Bears are the oldest team in NFL history and the stadium is the oldest outdoor stadium in football. The field was designed to be a memorial to American soldiers who have died in war. Stadium design began in 1919 and it was opened in 1924. It was officially named Soldier Field in 1926 and the Bears began play in the stadium in 1971. Prior to 1971 the Bears played in Wrigley Field.
3. Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill.
Wrigley Field is the home of MLB’s Chicago Cubs. The stadium opened in 1914. The Cubs began playing in Wrigley Field in 1916. The NFL's Chicago Bears played there from 1921 to 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. It was named after chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. in 1926. It is the oldest National League ballpark and the second oldest active major league ballpark. Wrigley is known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand turned scoreboard, and for being the last major league park to have lights installed for play after dark, with lighting installed in 1988.
4. Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.
Fenway Park has been home to the Boston Red Sox since it opened in 1912. It is the oldest major league baseball stadium in use. The stadium is noted for its quirky features like "The Triangle," "Pesky's Pole," and most notably the famous Green Monster in left field. The Green Monster is the most noticeable feature. The wall is the highest among current MLB fields and has a manual scoreboard set into the wall. The Green Monster is famous for stopping home runs and provides an advantage against outfielders unfamiliar with how to play the balls that ricochet off the wall. In 2002-2003 the team ownership constructed a new seating section atop the wall to accommodate 274 fans. They are some of the most popular seats in the stadium.
5. Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
“Chavez Ravine” opened in 1962 and is the home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is the largest baseball stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 56,000. The stadium was 100% privately financed by Walter O’Malley. The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners and inhabitants in the early 1950s by the city of Los Angeles using eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. O’Malley moved the Dodgers to LA after he was unable to secure a new stadium deal in Brooklyn, N.Y. O’Malley wanted to build a stadium in the same location where the new Barclays Stadium stands in Brooklyn, N.Y. today. If O’Malley had his way there may not be a Brooklyn Nets (NBA) or New York Mets (MLB) team today. Built in the Los Angeles community of Chavez Ravine in Sulfur Canyon, the stadium overlooks downtown Los Angeles and provides views of the city to the south, the green tree-lined hills of Elysian Park to the north and east, and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the outfield pavilions.