Ohio Stadium Expansion?

Buckeye Beast's picture
February 14, 2013 at 11:45p

I'm no expert on the subject, but architecture & stadium capacity & all those things that others may find boring are some of my interests. Based on Zach Smith's tweet about the HorseShoe changing forever & the specific use of the words "Numero Uno", I do believe that Ohio Stadium will be expanding. I happened to read many comments from people who don't think the structure of Ohio Stadium can hold more seats, so just to do something interesting, I decided to make this post explaining how I think it will be done. If we do expand the stadium, I think we'll do it the same way that Nebraska is expanding the east stands of Memorial Stadium to increase the capacity from 81,000 to 87,000. And as many would think, I do believe that expansion is most likely to take place in the south stands where the scoreboard is at. We would just build a new facade outside of the south stands, there-fore allowing the stands to expand out & grow taller in the process as seats are added to increase capacity. The old facade will most likely still exist as a large lobby when the new facade becomes the exterior of the south stands. I'm not the best at explaining this, but I hope the links below will help explain what I mean. Keep in mind that the east & west sides of Memorial Stadium were designed to resemble Ohio Stadium.



Why does it make so much sense to me?

  • Ohio State is the 3rd largest public university campus by enrollment in the country, & has the largest fan base in college football. So there's more than enough people to fill the seats.
  • Ohio State is raising ticket prices. I don't know all the specifics, but it could be used to help fund expansion, maybe that was part of the plan all along.
  • Ohio Stadium is the 4th largest stadium in college football by capacity. Who's number 1? None other than Michigan. And as we all know, we want to beat Michigan in every way we can. And when you consider we have a larger fanbase, campus enrollment & more recent success on the field, it just makes sense that we have the bigger stadium. It's likely Michigan won't consider expansion to retake that spot because they want to keep the traditional bowl structure of their stadium.
  • We've been setting spring game attendance records like crazy, the demand is high
  • It will leave no doubt that Ohio Stadium is the most intimidating atmosphere in college football by far & impress recruits. It will help the team win games by creating a more hostile environment for visiting teams & help lure more top recruits to OSU. Also, imagine if instead of simply making the south stands a taller version of what they currently are, we add another deck to the south stands. That would make Ohio Stadium a double deck stadium all the way around, imagine how insane the gameday atmosphere would be then. Visiting teams wouldn't know what to do, just all Buckeyes as far as the eye can see.

So that's my view on the subject. I hope you at least enjoyed reading this & found it interesting.

Comments Show All Comments

drumsontheside's picture

Double deck in the soulth would make sense, but it would require another renovation of the scoreboard. In order to get to the #1 spot we don't need to do much. They already are redoing all of the seats in the stadium as planned maintenence, they could probably up the number just by readjustments. 

Good thoughts, I'm interested to see how this turns out!


hodge's picture

Just a heads-up on The Big House, ol' Fielding Yost imagined that the stadium could--and would--one day seat 150,000 fans. If you look at the stadium, it's obvious that it was designed for easy expansion (which as done at the cost of making it vastly less intimidating--hence it's iconic bowl shape), where Ohio Stadium's structure is much less easy to expand upon. Bottom line here is that The Big House can pretty much expand at will; they're not really a good target in the stadium-capacity arms race. 
That said, I love the idea of a double-decked South Stands, though DRUMSONTHESIDE makes a good point--why renovate the scoreboard prior to such a massive undertaking? Perhaps the seating will go around the scoreboard, with the second deck flanking it on either side? It would be pretty rad, but I just can't see it happening. It would be a pretty sweet thing, though; might make those draconian ticket hikes a bit more justified. 
Besides, a second tier in the South Stands means more noise retention--I'm really sick of Death Valley and Autzen stealing our thunder on the merits of intimidation. 

Buckeye Beast's picture

I do get that point, if we were going to expand the south stands we should have waited on getting the new score board. But sometimes things happen that we don't expect, maybe they have a way to move it or they just don't care about spending the money. Who knows. But regardless, stadium expansion remains an interesting possibility. And I agree, I can't stand LSU, the swamp, Bryant Denny, or even Clemson being placed anywhere in our galaxy let alone our level.

Even Squirrels hate Michigan

Hoody Wayes's picture

tOSU spent $7M on that scoreboard and that was in 2012. That cost and the cost/logistics of moving a 124' x 42' LED for a south-end expansion would make its feasibility study hard to write. I don't think they want this:

I think the next move is on the east side. They'll do what Michigan did and add a bunch of luxury suites. Ohio Stadium will look like it has two press boxes.
Beyond this, significant expansion will be hard to do. Ohio Stadium has a vertical profile. The field's been dropped and the footprint has been widened. 
But if tOSU is determined, I fear a collision between $ and history resulting in this choice:
closing the south end or
building a new shoe

Buckeye Beast's picture

I think the scoreboard would stay the same, just it would have to be moved to the top of the expanded stands. I do realize it sounds rediculous. But you never know where they could find the money to make it happen, maybe boosters want to see this happen badly enough that they've come together to cover the cost of moving the scoreboard, or atleast cover part of it. But even for boosters that's allot of money that most people don't wanna give up.

Even Squirrels hate Michigan

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I think they could flare out the south stands at the A and B deck levels and cover the home/away entry ramps. This allows the Shoe to squeeze in another 5,000 to 10,000 without a MAJOR renovation to the structure, new scoreboard, etc.
I think in addition to the seating, they could add a new bank of suites and press boxes on the east side. Brings in major $$$$$. For those of us who can't (yet) buy a suite, this helps trap in crowd noise. The vertical nature of the Shoe and the press boxes at the top would make an extremely loud and intimidating atmosphere. Much more rowdy than a hole in the ground that's a big gentle sloped bowl that allows sound to dissipate.

However, I still think they're just talking about adding lights...but excited to hear the announcement regardless of what the change is.

buckeyedude's picture

I would love to see what a 150,000 seat stadium would look like if architects today designed one from scratch, as opposed to architects from 1927. I've been to the stadium in A2  many times, and if you are seated towards the top of the stadium, it's like trying to follow a hockey puck from the top of the Empire State Building. It seems like you're  a quarter of a mile away from the field.
The generic bowl(The Big Shit Howse) shape may be simple in it's design, and as a spectator you may have good sight lines, but the bigger it gets, the further you are from the action. 
And it has no character.  



Buckeyeneer's picture

Now that I think about it, a friend of mine who is close to some of the coaching staff said something about more suites being added but this would be at the expense of typical seating, causing a net loss in seats. I told her I didn't buy it, but she just shrugged and said that that is what she heard. I wonder if that is what Coach Smith's tweet was about. Perhaps they have decided to just go ahead and do an expansion as well.

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

THE Ohio State University

rightfield's picture

Go big or go home. I am for a lot more seats. Architects can figure out the details. That is why they get paid the big bucks. 130,000 seats or bust.

Its good to be the king

sarasotabcg's picture

he's talking about permanent lights (great night game atomsphere + more night games = win)

stadium expansion takes years to finish.

buckeyedude's picture

I would love to see more seats added. And not luxury suites(it's totally kewl to hate on rich people these days, isn't it?). Seats for the common man, like myself. 
But I wonder about putting in seats around the scoreboard. I wonder about the sightlines. Some of the seats now are not really good for viewing the game from two south corners by the scoreboard. Would love to see another deck added though to funnel more fan noise onto the field. That would definitely be one bad-assed and intimidating place to play, unless of course the extra tickets went to more blue-haired people with walkers.
Maybe there is going to be an seating expansion and addition of permanent lights? Why does it have to be one or the other?



hetuck's picture

I would use the LSU method of expansion. It is funded by a private athletic foundation. They own the stadium expansions and rights to the tickets. The expansions are separated from the state-owned stadium by a half inch. That means they can serve alcohol within their bounds. I could see a cantilevered, stand-alone double deck over south stands. It would require replacement of the scoreboard. Perhaps the OSU Alumni Assoc. could fill the role. Sell PSLs for season tickets to fund the construction.  

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

rampageripster's picture

If we had the same seat sizes (width) as Michigan, we would have the same capacity.  Here is a post I put on /r/cfb talking about it:

      Michigan's range from 16 inches in the student section to 18 in the top dollar areas (so anywhere from 16-18 inches depending on where you are sitting) Source
        This was all I could find about Ohio Stadium. Now, it's a message board (and BuckNuts at that), but it repeats what I was under the impression of, which is that Ohio Stasium is uniform at 18 inches.
With this information, I stand by that if Ohio Stadium used the seat spacing used in Michigan Stadium and converted the Huntington Section (the fold down seats) into bleacher seats, it would have a similar capacity to Michigan.

and the math:

let's do a little math.. (all my Ohio Stadium numbers come from Here)
there are 17,248 seats in the South Stands. Those are all students. So, each seat loses 2 inches (18 to 16). that gives us 34,496 extra inches to use. Those inches could be used to make an extra 2,156 seats.
Also, there is approximately the same number of student tickets on the north end in the actual bowl (I can't find the exact number, but here is a seating chart). So we double the new seats to 4,312.
        For the sake of our argument, we are going to assume that all the A-Deck (the lower bowl) stays at 18 inches. But, we're gonna drop the two upper bowls (B, C, and D) to 17 inches. There are 10,718 in B, 30, 878 in C, and 2,459 in D. So we get an extra inch from each seat, giving us 44,055 extra inches. That gives us 2,591 extra seats bringing our new total to 6,903.
       Now the Huntington Club is more difficult. There are 2,500 seats here (Source). Michigan has club seats, but not in the location Ohio Stadium has. Really, it's more equivalent to our B deck then anything, but not nearly as many (3,000). So, I am going to be fair and discount that section, but will round up the total new seats to what you proposed, 7,000.

So, if you wanted to have the same capacity as TSUN, just cut 2 inches off each seat and bingo #1 capacity.

Cause I couldn't go for three

Dr. House's picture

Luckily Hoke stands for all of the game because I am fairly certain he cannot squeeze his fat ass into any of the seats at their stadium.

Alhan's picture

Ugh, I'm not a large man at 5'7" and 175 lb, but I already didn't have room to move at the Michigan game this year.  I can't imagine having even less space available.  It was more shoulder room than butt room where the problem was, but it would still be much worse with smaller seats.

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Bolt's picture

I've been to that big toilet bowl of a stadium up north and it was cramped and uncomfortable as hell...and the bathroom situation was a total mess. Left with 5 minutes left in the 1st half and didn't get back until 5 minutes into the 2nd half just to go to the bathroom. If you're sitting close to the field you might as well bring a bottle to piss in because you have to walk damn near all the way back up to the top of the stadium to get out to the rotunda to take a piss (walking up the aisle all the way to the top in a single file line of people can take 15-20 minutes in itself if you're all the way down in the first couple rows). They may have made renovations to rectify the bathroom situations since the last time I was there in '07 but I hated that place while I was there.

BucksfanXC's picture

No they have not improved the bathoom situation. It takes an hour to fill and empty that place. That's the trade off with such high capacity, and the Big House is set up so poorly for entry/exit. The Roman Colesium could fill and empty faster, and that is not even a joke.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

MN Buckeye's picture

The Collosseum in Rome could empty  in 3 minutes through 80 exits, and all the seats were free.  Maybe we can learn something from this?  OK, we also do not intentionally kill people in our stadiums today . . .

BucksfanXC's picture

Count me in the column of not actually wanting to expand. I just don't see the benefits outweighing the costs. The Big House is cramped and as Hodge said, could and would top anything we could do to the Shoe. Leave it a Shoe shape, don't build up or lower the field anymore. If we really want 150,000, we'd have to start from scratch and I'd rather keep the Shoe at current capacity than get some new corporate giant stadium.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

d5k's picture

One thing I'll add:  Have you ever looked at the concrete as you walk up the stairs in the stadium?  I'm no structural engineer but it looks like the whole thing is going to fall apart at any moment and it is held together by bubble gum and rubber cement.

d1145fresh's picture

The the growing corporate interest in Columbus I could easily see a second 'pressbox' style on the East side of the stadium that would contain luxury boxes. Last year I had seat to a game at the very top of the East side of the field and it still wasn't a bad view because of how vertical the Shoe is. Also I could see adding a C deck to the south end. I think this would be pretty awesome especially if they kept it mainly for students (thus, allowing more student tickets into the game) and that would increase the intimidation factor. Moving the new scoreboard would not be that big of an issue. Especially if you have 5-10,000 more seats to increase revenue along with the price hike on current seats. You are going to be bringing in millions upon millions of dollars more each year anyways. 

RedStorm45's picture

B Deck could feasibly just be all luxury suite boxes, which would eliminate most of the seats with obstructed views.
Really though, I think everyone is reading too much into the tweet lol

TraditionCounts's picture

I don't put any stock in the idea that having more seats than the Big House somehow correlates to making the Shoe better.  Most of us have been to both stadiums.  Which one is the more intimidating?  Which one would opposing teams least want to play in in a critical game?
Michigan Stadium is a great stadium to be sure, especially since the redesign.  But The Shoe has its own tradition and character, and I love the way it makes me feel when I attend games there.  I think it's perfect just the way it is.  I don't give a rats ass if there happen to be more seats somewhere else.

hetuck's picture

One fly in the ointment to cutting seat size is the money OSU gets from renting the stadium seats. I do it to ensure I get my full seat. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Tomc383's picture

I got my Architecture Degree from tOSU and I can tell you from a time-frame perspective that even if the plans are already completed, stamped and approved (hard to believe that that  could stay under wraps to this point in C'bus w/o it hitting the net at least in rumor fashion) it's virtually impossible that an expansion beyond semi-permanent scope could be completed in 12 months time. Think Crew Stadium structure, or the previous scaffolding South Stands.
If I 'm wrong you'll know something substantial is happening when/if they start digging holes for foundation work in and around south stands/scoreboard.
I agree with a previous commenter that the most likely scenario that is feasible in a 12-month window is the addition of lights (Essentially a 'bolt on' exercise to the existing structure) and quick money-grab addition of semi-perm seats to South Stands.
The movement of the Spring Game to Paul Brown Stadium gives the University roughly 5.5 months to do some heavy lifting/site work prior to the start of the season. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact it might have on Spring Commencement in Ohio Stadium.
Oh ya, one more thing.....Muck Fichigan!


buckeyedude's picture

Maybe they're just going to add about 5,000 folding chairs to the South end zone? That wouldn't take too much architechural expertise and could be done very quickly with the help of a few janitors working a little OT on friday night.



M Man's picture

Our plans for expansion are already in the works.  And I'm not at all happy about it.  They will push our seating capacity to about 125,000.  It will be done, by adding to the South end zone, above the current top row.  They will create a mezzanine walkway where the top row is now, and keep going up, up to the level of the top of the current scoreboard(s).  Two sections, as it were, each making a visual connection from the tops of the two flanking concourses, to the top of the scoreboard.
I see no reason for it, other than bragging rights, to insure that we are still the biggest.  Bigger than Tennessee, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Penn State, you name it.
Somebody did a home-made photoshop of the concept.  The image you see is not correct insofar as it depicts both ends, North and South, expanded.  The only plan now is for the South.  (Top and left in the photo.)  And for the South end, instead of that ugly repeated pileup of rows as seen from outside the stadium in this imaginary photoshop, it will be a bricked concourse, like what you see on the two current flanking structures. Continued all the way around to link the two concurses with the same bricked structure.  The North end will not be changed, and hence will not look like this photoshop. 

Buckeye Beast's picture

This is what I meant in an earlier comment, I just don't think they'd go through with such a thing for the sake of keeping the iconic bowl design. But I ran across this same picture today & I was looking to find out more about it. I actually think that it would be really neat if they did that. That would be insane, especially if they could fill the seats. Rivalry aside, fan to fan, you have to admit it's sort of cool.

Even Squirrels hate Michigan

buckeyedude's picture

Holy Shit. As I said, I've been to many games there, and in the existing stadium, the top several rows already seem too far away from the action. That is the whole purpose of building decks on top of each other: to keep fans closer to the action. I can only imagine being in the new sections and how far away they would seem from the action.
I'm not personally interested in winning a "stadium battle" with UM and I don't think Gee and Smith are either. UM can just keep adding onto the current design until they can host 500,000. That would seem like a terrorist's wet dream.
That is a pretty impressive pic though, MMan.



Poison nuts's picture

Agree BuckeyeDude, the bigger stadium pissing/pecker contest with UM is futile...If The Shoe does expand, as long as they don't take away from the horseshoe design any more than what's there now - I'm happy.
Edit: BTW - good post Beast.

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

M Man's picture

I think that the plan will be to sell the top rows of the new South endzone seats to, uh, Ohio State fans.  I suggested to Dave Brandon that we sell you guys tickets in the parking lot of Ann Arbor Pioneer High School across Main Street and Stadium Boulevard.  But he said no, the seats have to be inside the Stadium.  So there's that.

TkeBuck's picture

I think the best idea would be for each of us to sit sideways, straddle those damn cold aluminum benches, and put our arms around the gal/guy in front of us. That way, instead of having 10" of space, we'd only need five inches thereby enabling 200000 wackos to attend every smack down.

OSUinFl's picture

What will the stadium  look like after construction? Anybody have any ideal how many people Ohio stadium  will hold.

OSUinFl's picture

Will Ohio Stadium get permeant lights . I would love to see more late games and night games.

iloveu2chris's picture

Reports are saying they are hoping to expand another 2500 seats

Ugly Hour Chazz Bear's picture

Guys they're adding 2500-2600 seats and permanent lights.

I like the bux.