Ford Field

Ford Field is a domed American football stadium located in Downtown Detroit. It primarily serves as the home of the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), as well as the annual Quick Lane Bowl college football bowl game, state championship football games for the MHSAA, and, as of 2018, the MHSAA State Wrestling Championships. The regular seating capacity is approximately 65,000, though it is expandable up to 70,000 for football and 80,000 for basketball.

Ford Field
Ford Field in 2015
Ford Field
Location within Wayne County
Ford Field
Location within Michigan
Ford Field
Location within the United States
Ford Field
Location within North America
Address2000 Brush Street[1]
LocationDetroit, Michigan[1]
Coordinates42°20′24″N 83°2′44″W
Public transit Grand Circus Park
OwnerDetroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority[2]
OperatorDetroit Lions[3]
CapacityFootball: 65,000 (expandable to 70,000)
Basketball: 78,000
Record attendanceWrestleMania 23: 80,103 (April 1, 2007)[4][5]
Broke groundNovember 16, 1999[1]
OpenedAugust 24, 2002[1]
Construction costUS$500 million
($696 million in 2018 dollars[8])
ArchitectRossetti Architects
Hamilton Anderson Associates, Inc.
Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz Architects[1]
Project managerHammes Company[9]
Structural engineerThornton Tomasetti[1]
Services engineerSmithGroup[1]
General contractorHunt/Jenkins/White/Olson JV[1]
Detroit Lions (NFL) (2002–present)
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (NCAA) (2002–2013)
Quick Lane Bowl (NCAA) (2014–present)

The naming rights were purchased by the Ford Motor Company for $40 million over 20 years; the Ford family holds a controlling interest in the company, and a member of the Ford family has controlled ownership of the Lions franchise since 1963.


Planning and construction

In 1975, the Lions moved to the Pontiac Silverdome after playing at Tiger Stadium from 1938–1939, 1941–1974.[10][11] By the mid 1990s, they began exploring the possibility of returning to the city of Detroit in order to build a new stadium.[12] On August 20, 1996, the Lions announced their intention to build a new stadium in Downtown Detroit. On November 5, 1996, voters approved a referendum for the stadium.[1][12]

Groundbreaking for the stadium occurred on November 16, 1999 as part of a downtown revitalization plan for the city of Detroit, which included Comerica Park.[1][13]


The stadium's design incorporates a former Hudson's warehouse, which was constructed in the 1920s.[14] The warehouse was converted to office space and currently has Campbell Ewald and Bodman as tenants.[15]

The presence of the warehouse allows for a seating arrangement that's unique among professional American football stadiums. The majority of suites are located in the warehouse along the stadium's southern sideline, as are the lounges that serve the premium club seats on that side of the field.[1][14] The bulk of the grandstand seats are located along the northern sideline and both end-lines, with gaps in the stadium's upper half at the southwest and southeast corners. The upper deck on the stadium's northern sideline also contains one level of suites and a smaller section of club seating. A similar design was implemented at the renovated Soldier Field, albeit with the use of a new structure (as opposed to an existing building) to house four levels of suites.[14]

Unlike most domed stadiums, Ford Field allows a large amount of natural light to reach the field, thanks to immense skylights and large glass windows at the open corners.[16] The windows along the ceiling are frosted to mimic the automotive factories that are prevalent in Metro Detroit. The south entrance provides the seating bowl and concourse with sunlight year-round and also offers fans a view of downtown Detroit.[12][17] To prevent the stadium from becoming an overly imposing presence in the Detroit skyline, the playing field is 45 feet below street level, similar to the design at adjacent Comerica Park.[12][18]

Ford Field is one of the few venues in the NFL that has end zones in the east and the west. There is no NFL rule for field construction in roofed venues regarding sunlight distracting players on the field.[19] The east–west end zone design accommodated the Hudson warehouse location. The natural light is not a distraction to the players in a day game, because the light only reaches as far as the sidelines, leaving the field still properly lit with the combination of artificial stadium lighting and sunlight.

In 2017, Ford Field underwent its first major renovation. The $100 million renovation included new video boards, a new sound system, updated suites, and the renovation of multiple restaurants, clubs, and bars on the property.[7]

Major events


Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006, as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 21–10 to win their fifth Super Bowl championship in front of 68,206 in attendance. It also marked the final game in the 13-year career for Steelers running back, and Detroit native, Jerome Bettis.[20][21]

The stadium was home to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl sponsored by Detroit-based Little Caesars (previously known as the Motor City Bowl and jointly sponsored by the Big Three automakers headquartered in Detroit – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors) from 2002 until 2013. It featured a top Mid-American Conference team and a Big Ten Conference team.[22] The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was replaced by the Quick Lane Bowl, featuring teams from the Big Ten Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, and backed by the Lions and Ford.[23] It has also hosted the annual MAC Football Championship Game since 2004.[24]

Ford Field has been the site of several neutral site regular season college football games, including Western Michigan vs. Illinois in 2008 and Michigan State vs. Florida Atlantic in 2010.[25][26]

On December 13, 2010, the Minnesota Vikings played a home game at Ford Field against the New York Giants after the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome's inflatable roof collapsed due to a rip in the roofing material caused by heavy snow accumulation.[27][28][29] The roof failure forced the already postponed game to be moved elsewhere, and after deliberations, the NFL chose Ford Field.[27] It was the first ever regular season Monday night game played at Ford Field.[30] The Lions hosted their first ever Monday Night Football game in Ford Field on October 10, 2011 against the Chicago Bears.[31]

A Buffalo Bills home game against the New York Jets was played at Ford Field on November 24, 2014 after a major lake effect snowstorm hit western New York, causing the game to be moved from Ralph Wilson Stadium.[32] The Bills won the game 38–3.[33][34]


On December 13, 2003, Ford Field hosted the then largest crowd ever to attend a basketball game, as 78,129 people packed the stadium for the Basketbowl, where the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Michigan State Spartans, 79–74.[35][36]

The University of Detroit Mercy and Ford Field hosted the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament regional semifinal and final games (March 28 and 30).[37][38][39][40][41] Ford Field was the site of the 2009 Final Four (April 4 and 6).[42][43][44][45][46] For the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the court was placed in the center of the football field rather than in an end of the stadium. This was the first time this configuration was used for NCAA Tournament play with the new 70,000-seat capacity rule in effect.[47]

College hockey

The 2010 Frozen Four was held on April 8 and 10 with Boston College defeating Wisconsin to win the championship. This has been the only time NCAA hockey has used a football stadium for the championship and resulted in the largest attendance (37,592) at a Frozen Four event.[48]

High school competitions

Ford Field has hosted the MHSAA football state championships since 2005. It also hosted the MHSAA individual wrestling state finals in 2018.[49]

The stadium has been used to host the MCBA finals, where Michigan high school marching bands compete to be the best in the state.[50]


Ford Field hosted two group stage matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament on June 7, 2011.[51] Panama played Guadeloupe in the first match, while the United States played Canada in the second match.[52][53]

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
June 7, 2011 Panama3–2 Guadeloupe2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C28,209
 United States2–0 Canada
December 8, 2012 United States women2–0 China PR womenWomen’s International Friendly17,371
September 17, 2015 United States women5–0 Haiti womenWomen’s International Friendly34,538

Other competitions

The Professional Bull Riders brought their Built Ford Tough Series tour to Ford Field for the first time ever on March 10, 2012.[54] Ford Field is the second Detroit area venue the BFTS has visited; they had visited The Palace of Auburn Hills in 2001, 2006 and 2007.[55][56][57]

The United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) holds multiple Monster Jam Monster Truck races at Ford Field. These races were previously held in the Pontiac Silverdome until it was closed. AMA Supercross Championship, also a Feld Entertainment competition, has competed at Ford Field from 2006 to 2008 and 2014 to 2017. The USHRA usually runs 2-3 events a year at Ford Field.

Other events

On April 1, 2007, Ford Field hosted World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania 23.[5] This event set a Ford Field attendance record of 80,103.[4] It was the first WrestleMania held in the Detroit area since 93,173 fans set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III in 1987.[58]

Ford Field hosted the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Midwest Regional in 2007 and 2014.[59][60]

In 2015, Ford Field housed the large group gatherings of the ELCA Youth Gathering.[61]

On November 18, 2017, Ford Field hosted the Beatification Mass of Fr. Solanus Casey, a Capuchin Franciscan Friar who ministered at the nearby St. Bonaventure Monastery on Mt. Elliott. The near-capacity crowd was one of the largest Catholic masses in Detroit history.[62]

Ford Field will host the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship from 2018 to 2020 along with the nearby TCF Center.[63][64][65]


Date Artist(s) Supporting act(s) Tour Attendance Revenue Note(s) Reference(s)
October 12, 2002The Rolling StonesNo DoubtLicks TourThis was the first concert at the stadium.[66]
July 12–13, 2003Eminem50 Cent
Missy Elliott
95,709 / 96,707$5,257,000[67][68]
February 5, 2006The Rolling StonesA Bigger Bang68,206This concert was a part of Super Bowl XL.[69]
April 7–8, 2006Delirious?Tim Hughes
Reuben Morgan
The Mission Bell TourThe band used Paul Evans as a stand-in drummer instead of regular drummer Stew Smith who stayed at home to be with his family.[70][71]
August 26, 2006Kenny ChesneyDierks Bentley
Carrie Underwood
The Road & The Radio Tour44,836 / 44,836$3,408,357[72]
August 18, 2007Brooks & DunnFlip Flop Summer 2007 Tour47,470 / 47,470$4,112,541[73][74]
August 2, 2008Keith Urban
LeAnn Rimes
Gary Allan
Luke Bryan
Poets & Pirates Tour46,871 / 48,194$3,931,995[75]
November 18, 2008MadonnaSticky & Sweet Tour30,119 / 30,119$2,395,900[76]
August 22, 2009Kenny ChesneyMiranda Lambert
Lady Antebellum
Montgomery Gentry
Sun City Carnival Tour49,215 / 49,215$3,843,639[77]
January 15, 2011Kid RockTy Stone
Jamey Johnson
Born Free TourThis concert was part of his 40th birthday party. Among the guests were Uncle Kracker, Peter Wolfe, Reverend Run, Sheryl Crow, Cindy Crawford, Jimmie Johnson, and Anita Baker.[78][79][80]
June 11, 2011Taylor SwiftNeedtobreathe
Frankie Ballard
Randy Montana
Speak Now World Tour47,992 / 47,992$3,453,549[81][82]
August 20, 2011Kenny Chesney
Zac Brown Band
Billy Currington
Uncle Kracker
Goin' Coastal Tour48,225 / 48,225$4,169,719[83]
August 18, 2012Kenny Chesney
Tim McGraw
Jake Owen
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Brothers of the Sun Tour48,943 / 48,943$4,560,108[84]
May 4, 2013Taylor SwiftEd Sheeran
Austin Mahone
Brett Eldredge
The Red Tour48,265 / 48,265$3,969,059[85][86][87]
July 18, 2013Bon JoviThe J. Geils BandBecause We Can43,142 / 43,142$2,638,975[88]
August 6, 2013Justin Timberlake
DJ CassidyLegend of the Summer Stadium Tour42,035 / 42,035$3,968,119[89][90]
August 17, 2013Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Eli Young Band
Kacey Musgraves
No Shoes Nation Tour45,839 / 45,839$3,733,711[91]
August 16–17, 2014One Direction5 Seconds of SummerWhere We Are Tour92,428 / 92,428$8,304,416During the August 16 performance, the band performed a cover of "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus.[92][93]
May 30, 2015Taylor SwiftVance Joy
Shawn Mendes
The 1989 World Tour50,703 / 50,703$5,999,690Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Martha Hunt & Gigi Hadid were special guests.[94][95][96]
August 22, 2015Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Brantley Gilbert
Chase Rice
Old Dominion
The Big Revival Tour49,285 / 49,285$4,903,524[97]
August 29, 2015One DirectionIcona PopOn The Road Again Tour42,767 / 42,767$2,700,684This concert took place on Liam Payne's 22nd birthday.[98][99][100]
September 8, 2015AC/DCVintage TroubleRock Or Bust World Tour43,000 / 43,000TBA[101][102]
October 30, 2015Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line
Randy Houser
Thomas Rhett
Dustin Lynch
Kick the Dust Up Tour44,004 / 44,004$3,760,515[103][104][105]
June 14, 2016BeyoncéDJ KhaledThe Formation World Tour41,524 / 41,524$5,471,395This concert was originally scheduled to take place on May 29, 2016, but was rescheduled due to "scheduling changes". During the show, she dedicated "Halo" to the victims affected by the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.[106][107]
June 23, 2016Guns N' RosesAlice in ChainsNot in This Lifetime... Tour44,439 / 44,439$4,776,766[108]
October 29, 2016Luke BryanLittle Big Town
Dustin Lynch
Kill the Lights Tour39,573 / 45,000$3,418,006[109]
September 3, 2017U2BeckThe Joshua Tree Tour 201742,905 / 42,905$4,936,605Special appearance by Patti Smith at the end of the Joshua Tree portion of the set during "Mothers of the Disappeared."[110][111]
August 4, 2018Kenny ChesneyThomas Rhett
Old Dominion
Brandon Lay
The Trip Around the Sun Tour48,826 / 48,826$4,968,563[112][113]
August 13, 2018Beyoncé
Chloe X Halle and DJ KhaledOn the Run II Tour43,699 / 43,699$5,310,376[114]
August 28, 2018Taylor SwiftCamila Cabello
Charli XCX
Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour49,464 / 49,464$6,597,852[115]
September 8, 2018Ed SheeranSnow Patrol
÷ Tour47,804 / 47,804$4,481,290[116]
October 26, 2018Luke BryanSam Hunt
Jon Pardi
Morgan Wallen
What Makes You Country TourTBATBA[116]
October 25, 2019Luke BryanCole Swindell
Jon Langston
DJ Rock
Sunset Repeat TourTBATBA[117]


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  113. McCollum, Brian (August 5, 2018). "Kenny Chesney parties with 49,000 as he notches 10th Ford Field show". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  114. McCollum, Brian (March 12, 2018). "Beyoncé, Jay-Z concert to hit Detroit's Ford Field for On The Run II tour". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  115. "Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' tour headed to Detroit's Ford Field". Detroit Free Press. November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  116. Pevos, Edward (February 6, 2018). "Ed Sheeran returning to Michigan to play stadium show at Ford Field". MLive. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  117. McCollum, Brian (May 10, 2019). "Luke Bryan keeps his Detroit party tradition rolling with another Ford Field show". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 15, 2019.

Further reading

  • Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, Michigan: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1-891143-24-7.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Pontiac Silverdome
Home of
Detroit Lions

2002 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Pontiac Silverdome
Host of
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

2002 – 2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Alltel Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl XL

Succeeded by
Dolphin Stadium
Preceded by
Allstate Arena
Host of
WrestleMania 23

Succeeded by
Citrus Bowl
Preceded by
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Home of the
Minnesota Vikings

Succeeded by
TCF Bank Stadium
Preceded by
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Home of the
Buffalo Bills

Succeeded by
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Preceded by

NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals venue

Succeeded by

Lucas Oil Stadium
Preceded by
Verizon Center
Washington, D.C.
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
Preceded by
Renaissance Center
Headquarters of
Bodman PLC

2006 – present
Succeeded by
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