McMahon Stadium

McMahon Stadium /məkˈmæn/ is a Canadian football stadium in Calgary, Alberta. The stadium is owned by the University of Calgary and operated by the McMahon Stadium Society.

McMahon Stadium
McMahon Stadium aerial photo during game action, 2009
McMahon Stadium
Location in Calgary
McMahon Stadium
Location in Alberta
McMahon Stadium
Location in Canada
Location1817 Crowchild Trail NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2M 4R6
Coordinates51°4′13.18″N 114°7′17.00″W
OwnerUniversity of Calgary
OperatorMcMahon Stadium Society
CapacityCanadian football: 35,400[1] (46,020 with temporary seating)
SurfaceGrass (1960–1974)
AstroTurf (1975–2005)
FieldTurf (2006–present)
Opened1960 (~22,000)
Renovated2001 (37,317)
2005 (35,650)
Expanded1969 (~25,000)
1973 (~28,000)
1975 (32,454)
1988 (38,205)
Construction cost$1.05 million (1960 Canadian dollars)
($9.04 million in 2018 dollars[2])
ArchitectRule Wynn and Rule
Calgary Stampeders (CFL) (1960–present)
Calgary Dinos (U Sports) (1960–present)
Calgary Colts (CJFL) (1967–present)
Calgary Boomers (NASL) (1981)

The stadium is between the downtown core and the University of Calgary, north of 16 Avenue NW between Crowchild Trail and University Drive. It is within walking distance of the Banff Trail C-Train station.

It is the home venue for the University of Calgary Dinos, Calgary Colts of the Canadian Junior Football League, Calgary Gators and Calgary Wolfpack of the Alberta Football League, and the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, who played at Mewata Stadium from 1935 to 1959. The stadium also was the open-air venue (as an ice rink) for the National Hockey League's 2011 Heritage Classic match between the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens.

The stadium was also the location of the 1988 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies,[3] serving as the Olympic Stadium.


The stadium was constructed by CANA Construction on the then University of Alberta (Calgary) campus using pre-cast concrete over 100 days in 1960 for $1.05 million. It was built as a replacement for the Mewata Park Stadium.

It is named after Calgary residents Frank McMahon and his brother, George McMahon. They donated C$300,000 to the university and the citizens of Calgary, and guaranteed the balance of money for the stadium's construction.

The university acquired complete ownership of the stadium and land in 1985 after the original financing was retired (1973) and a land exchange agreement was signed with the City of Calgary.[4][5]

DT Don Luzzi scored the first TD on a fumble recovery.

McMahon Stadium Society

The stadium is operated by the McMahon Stadium Society. The society was incorporated as a non-profit society in Alberta in 1960 with its objectives to operate, improve and manage the stadium and its facilities, for sports, recreation and other useful purposes.

Its membership consists of: two persons appointed by the University of Calgary; from the City of Calgary, the Commissioner of Finance and the Commissioner of Planning and Community Services; and two other persons appointed by the four other members. The two other members were appointed by the McMahon brothers until the financing guaranteed by the McMahons was retired in 1973.

The society operates the stadium under two leases and a four-year, three-month agreement with the City of Calgary, approved on January 7, 2007.[6]


With permanent seating totalling 35,650, the stadium is the fifth-largest stadium in Canada. It was expanded in several stages from its original 22,000-seat capacity in 1960 to 38,205 in 1988.

More recent renovations in 2001 and 2005, in which luxury boxes replaced bleacher seating in the higher rows of the grandstands, reduced the capacity to 37,317 in 2001, and to its current 35,650 in 2005. In 2007, Calgary Stampeders president Ted Hellard proposed a further reduction of the stadium's capacity by approximately 4,200 seats to accommodate further luxury boxes, with renovations to be underwritten with personal seat licenses.[7]

For special events such as Grey Cup games, temporary bleachers have been built in the facility's end zones. These seats accounted for a stadium attendance record 46,020 spectators at the 97th Grey Cup, between the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders on November 29, 2009.[8]


The stadium features an infilled artificial FieldTurf field installed in 2006. Previously, the stadium installed its first AstroTurf artificial playing surface in 1975 amid concerns the original grass field (which was in place from the stadium's opening) would not withstand an intended increase in use of the stadium facilities by professional, amateur and recreational teams.

Notable events



It was the site of the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic regular season game between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens on February 20, 2011.[9][10]


The stadium was also used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics, which required major expansion of its seating area.


Other events

The stadium hosted a Billy Graham Crusade in 1981.

See also


  1. "Status of CFL Stadiums on CFLDB".
  2. Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  3. 1988 Winter Olympics official report. Archived January 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Part 1. pp. 166–73.
  4. "Stadium History". February 2, 2008. Archived from the original on February 2, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  5. "Stamps explore selling rights". Calgary Sun. May 5, 2005. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
  6. "Stadium Lease". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  7. "CFL Special Report: Stamps planning McMahon overhaul". September 1, 2007. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  8. " Schedule 2009" Archived July 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Canadian Football League. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  9. "NHL to announce outdoor games in Pittsburgh, Calgary on Friday". Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  10. MacFarlane, Steve (May 27, 2010). "Flames to host outdoor game". Calgary Sun. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  11. Retrieved September 17, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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