Ohio Stadium Could Grow By 2,500 Seats

By Kyle Rowland on May 31, 2013 at 7:09a
South stands will have a different look in the coming years.

The Columbus Dispatch has reported that Ohio Stadium could grow by 2,500 seats in the near future. The department of athletics will send a proposal to the board of trustees next week seeking approval for the project. The estimated cost is $9 million with a target date of 2014. 

“We are presenting to the board next week an expansion adding 2,500 seats to the south end zone,” Smith, who is on vacation, said in a text message.

The Dispatch article cites sources saying the seats would go over the ramps in the southeast and southwest corners, where the home and visiting locker rooms are located. The Horseshoe's last major expansion was the project from 2000-2001 when the seating capacity jumped from 89,841 to 101,568. The current capacity is 102,329.

Growing by 2,500 seats would take it to 104,829, behind only Michigan Stadium (109,901) and Beaver Stadium (106,572). 

The stadium underwent cosmetic changes during this offseason to repair and upgrade concrete. It was also announced that permanent lighting would be added in 2014 or 2015. 


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Poison nuts's picture

Please keep it looking like a horseshoe & feel free to add all the seats you can...The minute it starts to detract from the horseshoe aesthetic, I'm no longer for it.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Kurt's picture

If the people in those new seats wear black it'll be as if they were never there, and the shoe aesthetic will remain in tact.

FROMTHE18's picture

could just extend the south stands upwards on each side of the scoreboard...I understand the money aspect of more seats but its college football and I think tradition should be more important than some extra change in the pocket...Ohio Stadium is not only important to OSU, but its a historical landmark...IMO, leave her be.

osu07asu10's picture

Did you watch many buckeye game prior to the national championship season of 2002?

I'm not trying to be a smart ass...the Ohio Stadium you see today is no where near the "original" Ohio stadium. Any renovation made to the stadium won't jeopardize it's place as a historical landmark, nor will the additional seats make the stadium any less tradition rich

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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buckeye56's picture

Tradition be damned. At the end of the day it all goes back to if the question involves Ohio State, the answer is money.

faux_maestro's picture

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

sirclovis's picture

I always thought OSU should add another deck to the south stands to make it look similar to the rest of the stadium. Since adding the new scoreboard, its not looking like this will happen that anytime soon.

But if they did Iwould have to imagine that would add at least 10,000+ seats which would obiviosuly make Ohio stadium the largest in college football.

osu07asu10's picture

They actually had renderings done about 5-7 years ago that would have added seats like they are proposing (over the tunnels) and then also permanent lighting and an additional seating ring above C-Deck that would have put capacity at an estimated 115,000.
I hope that the extra seating and permanent lights are modular steps in getting to 115k.

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bukyze's picture

At about the same time, someone came out with a study that said if each bleacher seat was narrowed by 2 inches (same width as Lambeau), Ohio Stadium would fit an extra 22,000 seats.

osu07asu10's picture

Interesting, do you have a link for that?

I was referencing a study done for athletic department (internally). To my knowledge, the standard bleacher seat in Ohio Stadium measures 14 inches across, I believe the minimum allowed. 
Assuming that 100k of the 103k that sit in the shoe sit in bleachers (which is a very liberal estimate knowing that 15,000 have chair backs) and they reduced from 14" to 12" in seat width, that would create an additional 200,000 linear inches of seating space, or approximately 16,650 additional 12" wide seats.
I'd be interested to see that though.

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741's picture

Please, no thank you to this idea. I already have to contend with four fat guys who take up the space of 5-6 "standard" ass allocations in my row in a section of A deck. Thank god for my bolted on seat backs. Even with those it's trouble enough to keep these people from encroaching on my space.

doofenshmirtz's picture

Guess my question is this, 9 mill for 2500 seats, what would 5000 seats cost instead, or 10000 seats?  If you are going to do the work, might as well do it for real and not this onsey-twosey crap. 
Also, maybe instead of adding to the south end, they should add to the east side and make the new seats actually worth the cost of a ticket.

KBonay's picture

My thoughts exactly.  It doesn't make economic sense @ $3,600/seat.  Even at, say $500/season, that would still be over 7 years to pay it back.  You would think to endure all the construction fees, it would be for a much larger expansion.

willshire58's picture

With attendance around the country declining, does this even make sense? I'm not sure that OSU has seen a huge decline in stadium attendance, but if that trend does make its way to Columbus I don't think this is a smart move.

otrain2416's picture

It doesn't if you were any other school. OSU is not apart of the group whose attendance is declining. In fact, we set the stadium record for the largest crowd last year vs Nebraska. If you look here you can see our attendance from last year. We consistently were putting 105k in the stadium with our lowest game being UCF 104,745. Our stadium capacity is technically only 102,500 I believe so 2500 more seats isn't a bad move. However if ticket prices keep rising I do see our attendance going down.

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Yup. One of the largest sets of alumni and the biggest fan base in the land according to the Nate Silver article. If Gene Smith keeps up with his promise of getting rid of most cream puff games in favor of the Oregon's, Texas's, and Oklahoma's of the world, demand will continue to far exceed supply.
Plus with the switch to semesters, the students come back earlier right? So there are no longer three games before the students get back on campus. That drives demand for the "preseason" games as well.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

willshire58's picture

I was at almost every home game last year so I know that the stadium has been packed. You mentioned the ticket price increase which is my main concern, along with the home viewing experience being as good as it is. A buckshot from a couple days ago mentioned that even the SEC is seeing declines in attendance for a myriad of reasons. It appears as if OSU is in its own 'bubble' and is immune to this trend, but if the bubble bursts and the trend continues this isn't a good move.  

Buckeyeneer's picture

You are right about the bubble bursting based on ticket prices. I do note, that OSU is charging a premium for the Wisconsin game when I was putting myself in the lottery for alumni tickets. It was $116/ticket if you got the Wisconsin game and $85/ticket for the others. I opted out of the Wisconsin game. I think that they will not be that good this year with the loss of talent and loss of their coach.
$116 for a watered down Wisky (pun very much intended)? No thank you. 

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

OSUinFl's picture

It's cheaper to do construction now. If you have go back later let say 5-10 years. Materials will cost an extra 10-20 % by then and labor will be more by then.

jeremytwoface's picture

3rd largest!?
Come on! We can do better than that.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

RedStorm45's picture

Is this what the Zach Smith tweet a couple months ago was referencing?

OSUinFl's picture

I love getting  lights for late games. Forget those 12:00 games I can't make them anyway except scum.

JLP36's picture

This is a bad idea.  The athletic department should focus on getting some quality games on the schedule, not adding 2500 seats.  If the seats were going to be good seats, maybe, but these seem like they will be horrible seats from that angle. 


brandonbauer87's picture

I think they've already done a good job with future scheduling. This just happens to be a bad year because Vanderbilt backed out of a deal. 

AndyVance's picture

Brandon is right on the money - people forget that football schedules are set years, not months, in advance. And let us never forget that it was an SEC team who backed out of a deal to play the Buckeyes, leaving a much less attractive slate for this fall's campaign.

osu07asu10's picture

Seeing that Saban runs the SEC, you think he went to Franklin after his Nicky Satan comment and said, you're going to learn the ropes son, drop Ohio State so we can make fun of their SOS,...NOW!

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awwwwwwop's picture

I know your comment was facetious, but actually, David Williams, the AD, said something to the effect of: "We are trying to build a program, get to bowl games, etc. Why go take an ass whooping in the shoe for some money when it doesnt help our long term goals"

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

omahabeef1337's picture

The bigger and meaner the stadium gets, the better. Also, I'm not quite sure how the seats will go in, but they might be able to plug up the holes where sound gets out in the south endzone.
I suspect people complained when the south endzone bleachers were added, and then when the current south stands were added. It's all part of the evolution. It will alway still be The Shoe.

osu07asu10's picture


People don't realize at one point the stadium held 65k and there were no "south stands"
Then there were south stands, but a big play by the buckeyes would make you feel like you were in an earthquake.

Maybe a few other things people fail to realize about the shoe:

- The field is actually 14 feet lower than it was prior to the 2001-02 renovation.
- AA Deck used to be part of a full size track
- Last 14 rows of C - Deck (27-41) were added in 01-02
- D-Deck (West side of stadium) was added in 01-02
- All suites and the Huntington Club level were additions in 01-02 (88 suites I believe)
- Does anyone remember the "press box" prior to 01-02?
- Locker rooms for both teams were upgraded
- The exterior facade on the West Side of the stadium was done in 01-02
So see...maybe 2,500 extra seats aren't that big of a deal?

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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CowCat's picture

I remember the old press box -- it was like a big metal toolbox.
I miss it because my brother and I scratched our initials in one corner of the press box in the 70's when we were little.   Up until the renovations we could always go up and find them.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

RedStorm45's picture

Yes, those of us over the age of 14 don't need a history lesson on the last expansion.

Basso Profondo's picture

That's why I would like to see it go through, crowd noise.  The horseshoe shape will always be there (it can't be changed unless they literally knock the whole thing down to rebuild it).  Those two areas could stop some noise filtering out and create the feel of the entire field being surrounded finally.  I would like to see some renderings of the potential project, it seems pretty cool.

Bucksfan's picture

Hmm.  A bunch of the newer seats are already half-blocked by the press box.  Are the new seats going to be completely behind it?

millertime2011's picture

I'm just excited for the Tennessee trolls to comment. 

BME_Buckeye's picture

If we make these additions will the stadium still be shaped like a Horseshoe? 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


osu07asu10's picture

Nope, they're going to straighten the sides and turn it into a box

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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T4EHill's picture

Can we just get rid of Gene Smith already?!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Woody Hayes

buckeyenut10's picture

Any reasons to back up that rather ridiculous statement? 

cal3713's picture

This sentiment is simply stupid.  If you don't think OSU athletics are strong and in good shape under the direction of Smith, you're not paying attention to the things that matter.  This is the largest athletic department in the country, and we have the highest academic progress rate in the nation.  We've got spectacular facilities for almost all sports and they are regularly upgraded.  Plus the two money making sports are in prime shape... thereby funding the entire system.  People forget what an intense job Smith has.  You don't fire successful ADs just because everything isn't perfect. 
This is about on the same level as the people who thought Tressel should have been fired because he could "only" get the team to 10-2 and 11-1 with his boring style of play.

OSUinFl's picture

The  non profit sports teams are doing great. We had a ncaa tennis champ other  teams did great in there Ncaa tournaments

omahabeef1337's picture

This also makes me hope that the team can get a better entrance. Right now, they come out of the "tunnel" and just congregate in the corner of the endzone before running on the field. It would be cool to have a real tunnel. :-P

thowen79's picture

I agree, I've always thought it was kind of silly how they would stand at the end of the ramp under that goofy looking awning. It looks more like they are waiting in line at an amusement park. Maybe they could somehow have them coming out of a huge Block O and onto the field.

tdible2132's picture

I'm definitely really curious to see a picture about the proposed design.  I'm slightly skeptical, but will reserve judgement until further details come forth.

New alum's picture

Having lived in Michigan, Chicago, and NYC, I have never seen a fan base as devoted as OSU.  If you can add to the stadium without undermining the original concept I don't think you can go wrong.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

Hogan1's picture

"If you build it they will come"