Ohio Stadium is Home to More Than Just the Buckeye Football Team

By Kevin Harrish on July 31, 2016 at 8:31 am
The Horseshoe houses more things than just Buckeye football.

Wednesday night, Ohio Stadium played host to international soccer clubs Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain as part of this season's International Champions Cup.

For many Buckeye fans, a soccer field inside the confides of The Horseshoe was an odd site, but it wasn't the first time Ohio Stadium has been used for something other than Buckeye football games, or as a soccer venue for that matter.

Ohio Stadium has been the host of many events throughout its nearly-century long history; it's not just for Buckeye football. Let's take a look back at the different functions The Horseshoe has served during its lifespan.


Wednesday night was not the first time soccer has been played inside The Horseshoe. From 1996-98, the Columbus Crew called Ohio Stadium home.

Nice ponytail.
The Columbus Crew in the 'Shoe.

Given that it was not intended to be a soccer venue, it had its issues. Due to the track surrounding the field, the field was the smallest in Major League Soccer measuring 62 yards in width and 106 yards in length, and at the time there was no permanent lighting at the stadium.

Because Major League Soccer crowds are much smaller than that of Buckeye football games, B Deck, C Deck, and the seats in the south stands were closed to fans making official capacity 25,243.

The Crew played their first 48 games in the 'shoe before moving a few miles north to Mapfre Stadium, which provides a more intimate, soccer friendly atmosphere.


Ohio Stadium has been the site for numerous concerts, utilizing it's enormous capacity to draw equally enormous crowds.

The Horseshoe hosted its first concert in 1988 when Pink Floyd played in front of over 63,000 fans. Since then, Ohio Stadium has played host to Billy Joel and Elton John, Pink Floyd once again, Metallica, the Rolling Stones (twice), U2, One Direction, and others.

Most recently, the stadium has been used for Buckeye Country Superfest in the summers of 2015 and 2016, drawing crowds totaling over 90,000 across the multi-day event.

Non-Buckeye Football

With a football field already in the 'shoe, it's no wonder quite a few non-Buckeye football games have been played within its walls.

Beginning in 1982, Ohio High School Athletic Association football championship games were played in Ohio Stadium. The first year, only the division I and III championship games were played in the horseshoe, but from 1983-89 all five divisions played their championship games in Columbus.

The championship games were held outside of Columbus from 1990-2013, but Ohio Stadium was once again the host for all divisions in 2014 and 2015.

The Cleveland Browns also took the field in the 'Shoe during the summer of 2015 for a preseason intra-squad scrimmage, where former Buckeyes Donte Whitner, Terrelle Pryor and Brian Hartline returned to the field in Ohio Stadium for the first time since their college careers – although Pryor did not play due to a hamstring injury.

The Browns are slated to return to Columbus again on August 6th for another preseason scrimmage. This time, Pryor will be the lone former Buckeye on the roster after the departures of Hartline and Whitner.


During the football offseason, Ohio Stadium regularly hosts varsity lacrosse games for both the male and female Buckeye teams – weather permitting. If the temperature drops too low or water falls from the sky, the teams are forced to play inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Since 2008, Ohio State has held a lacrosse game immediately preceding the annual football spring game, capitalizing off of the large crowds the football scrimmage draws. The annual "Showdown in the 'Shoe" draws enormous crowds by college lacrosse standards. The event broke NCAA attendance records in its first three years, peaking in 2010 with 31,078 announced guests – a number which grew to over 50,000 by the final whistle.

Showdown in the 'Shoe
Ohio State's annual Showdown in the 'Shoe (photo via Ohio State athletics).

Ohio Stadium also hosted the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Quarterfinals in May, where No. 3 seed Notre Dame faced off against No. 7 seed Towson.


Ohio Stadium housed the track team as well as the football team for most of its history. From 1923-2001, the Buckeye track and field teams competed in The Horseshoe, seeing legendary performances from the likes of Jesse Owens and Mal Whitfield.  

In 2001, the track was removed and the track and field teams moved up the road from Ohio Stadium to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.


Ohio Stadium was once home to the Buckeyes, quite literally.

From 1933 to 1999, Ohio Stadium featured dorm rooms housing around 350 students. The dorms were introduced during the Great Depression to provide students with low-cost living, provided the student participated in basic housekeeping, maintenance or food preparation.

Despite much opposition from the student body, the dorms were closed in 1999 to make room for new luxury boxes (what do you know, the University making money at the expense of the students!), and the low-cost housing program was moved to Mack Hall.

Ohio Stadium may be the Home of the Buckeyes, but that's certainly not all it is. And with recent trends, as well as the recent addition of permanent lighting, it's likely we'll see even more massive events take place between its ancient concrete walls.

What's next? Time will tell, but with the success of the International Champions Cup, more soccer games may be on the horizon. Perhaps even a World Cup, or at least a major international match (we know how the USMNT fares in Columbus – now let's add 70,000 more fans).

The NHL has even internally discussed hosting a Winter Classic hockey game in Ohio Stadium, similar to the game that took place in Michigan Stadium in 2014.

Whatever it may be, history has proven it will be a success. Buckeye fans are always itching for an excuse to hang out in the 'Shoe and send a few extra O-H-I-Os around the stands.

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