Year Opened: 1950
Highlights: Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center Dedication (2016);
Super Bowl VIII (1974)
Conference USA Championship Game (2013)
John F. Kennedy Speech (1962)
Rice defeats #1 Texas A&M (1957).
One of America's great stadiums and the largest on-campus facility in Conference-USA, Rice Stadium will celebrate its 69th season in 2018 and welcome the dawn of the Mike Bloomgren era as the Owls head coach.
A landmark on the college football circuit since its debut in 1950, Rice Stadium received a major upgrade to the overall fan experience in August of 2016 when the $33 million Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center opened its doors.
A spectacular upgrade for Rice student-athletes, the facility also ushered in a new era for fans thanks to the installation of new Daktronics video system.
The main video display measures 29 feet high by 49 feet wide and features a 13HD pixel layout for excellent image quality and contrast with wide-angle visibility to appeal to every seat in the stadium. The production center for the video board also allows Rice Athletics to produce network quality broadcasts, greatly enhancing the overall ability to deliver programming to fans worldwide.
The playing surface at Rice Stadium was upgraded in 2014 to Astroturf 3D60H Synthetic Turf, providing a state-of-the art foundation for the program. As part of the Rice hosting the Atlanta Falcons for their practices in advance of Super Bowl LI, the grass practice field located north of the Patterson Center also received a major overhaul.
|The original Rice Stadium sat on the corner of University and Main and is now the home of Rice's track and field and soccer teams.|
The Stadium has a storied history, borne from the University's football tradition. Fifty-three years ago, Rice fielded one of its greatest teams. The 1949 Owls, led by Froggy Williams and Joe Watson, won the Southwest Conference championship and the 1950 Cotton Bowl with a 10-1 record.
However, old Rice Stadium (now the Rice Track/Soccer Stadium) seated less than 37,000 fans. Houston's civic leaders decided the old structure was not a proper venue for the SWC champions, much less a city with a future so bright. The idea for the new Rice Stadium was born.
|John Kennedy made his famous challenge to America to place a man on the moon in a speech at Rice Stadium|
Brown & Root Constructors was the general contractor for the project and the groundbreaking was held in February 1950. Working 24-hour shifts for the next nine months, Brown & Root completed the stadium in time for the 1950 season opener in late September. In the opening game on Sept. 30, 1950, Rice defeated Santa Clara 27-7.
The Owl Club, atop the south end zone, is virtually a historical museum of the great Rice athletes and teams. The walls are filled with the photos of past Owls, forming a fitting site for many team functions. The room is also used for academic, civic and other social events.
|Super Bowl VIII|
Rice has twice matched that total of 10 wins in 1949 after moving to its new home, first in 2008 and again in 2013, with the 10th win coming as the Owls defeated Marshall to win the Conference USA Championship.
Rice Stadium has been the scene of many exciting moments in the football histories of the city of Houston and the National Football League. At various times, the stadium has served as the home stadium for the Bluebonnet Bowl, the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and the NFL's Houston Oilers.
On Jan. 13, 1974, Rice Stadium was the site of Super Bowl VIII, in which the Miami Dolphins defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. Rice Stadium is one of only three campus facilities still in operation that have hosted a Super Bowl (Sun Devil Stadium and Stanford Stadium are the others). Tulane hosted three Super Bowls at Sugar Bowl Stadium before it was torn down in the mid 1970's.
The Stadium has also held major concerts. Huge crowds were part of the excitement for the Pink Floyd, Eagles, Elton John\Billy Joel, and George Strait concerts.
More than 10,000,000 fans have watched Rice Owls football at Rice Stadium.