Photograph from the student section overlooking the stadium's suites.
|Former names||FIU Community Stadium (1995–2001)|
|Location||11200 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
|Owner||Florida International University|
|Operator||Florida International University|
|Record attendance||22,682 (2011 vs. Duke)|
|Surface||FieldTurf (Artificial turf)|
|Broke ground||July 24, 1994|
|Opened||September 24, 1995|
|Expanded||2001, 2008 and 2012|
|Construction cost||$3 million (Original stadium, 1994)
($4.64 million in 2015 dollars)
US$54 million (New stadium, 2007)
|General contractor||Odebrecht Construction|
|FIU Panthers (NCAA) (1995–present)
Track and Field (1995–2006)
Miami FC (USL First Division) (2009)
Florida Blacktips (FXFL) (Proposed only)
Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium (often shortened to FIU Stadium and known informally known as The Cage) is a college football stadium on the campus of Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida and the home stadium of the FIU Panthers football team. The stadium opened in 1995, replacing nearby Tamiami Field, which was used as a recreational field by the university and local high school football teams. When FIU began its football program in 2002, FIU Stadium became the home venue for the team.
The stadium was renovated in 2007. After completion of a lower level bowl in 2012, the stadium has seating capacity of 20,000. The most well-attended event at the stadium was a football game on October 1, 2011 versus the Duke Blue Devils, with an attendance of 22,682. FIU Stadium is the southernmost NCAA Division I football stadium in the Continental United States.
FIU Community Stadium
FIU Community Stadium was the first dedicated sports facility at the school, replacing Tamiami Field. Construction officially began on July 24, 1994 and the facility opened on September 24, 1995, as a 7,500-seat football and track stadium. It was built as a joint venture between FIU, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami-Dade Parks, and the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair. In anticipation of the inaugural FIU Golden Panthers football[Note 1] season in fall 2002, the university placed movable bleachers around the stadium's all-weather running track in 2001, which increased the stadium's capacity to 17,000 seats.
In 2007, the university announced a major expansion and redesign for FIU Stadium. The redesign of FIU Stadium would increase the stadium's capacity to 45,000 fans, to be built in phases. For the first phase of the expansion, the school demolished a large portion of the original 1995 stadium. The west, south and east sides of FIU Stadium were taken down and construction began on the new, permanent stadium. The expansion was completed in September 2008 for the 2008 football season. Phase one increased the stadium's capacity from 17,000 fans from 18,000, including 1,500 club seats. During construction, the 2007 FIU Golden Panthers football team played its home games in the Miami Orange Bowl.
The new facility opened for the first home game of the 2008 football season against the South Florida Bulls on September 20. The Golden Panthers lost 17–9 in front of a crowd of 16,717. The team won its first game in the new stadium on October 11, 2008 against Sun Belt Conference rival the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, 31–21. The team finished its first season in the new stadium with three wins and two losses. In 2009, the university began the second phase of the stadium expansion, which included the construction of a new football field house.
|1||22,682||October 1, 2011||FIU 27, Duke 31 (2011 Homecoming)|
|2||20,205||September 12, 2011||FIU 17, UCF 10|
|3||19,872||September 11, 2010||FIU 14, Rutgers 19|
|4||17,568||September 1, 2011||FIU 41, North Texas 16|
|5||17,378||November 12, 2011||FIU 41, Florida Atlantic 7 (Shula Bowl X)|
On October 1, 2011 FIU Stadium drew its largest attendance in school history. A crowd of 22,268 came to watch the Panthers play the Duke Blue Devils football team for the team's 2011 homecoming game. During the game, the Goodyear Blimp made its first appearance at FIU Stadium. The Miami Tower in Downtown Miami was also lit in blue and gold from September 26 to October 1, 2011 in honor of the game.
In September 2011, the university announced plans to begin the third phase of stadium expansion for the 2012 season by removing the last remnants of the original 1995 stadium on the north side to complete the bowl around the field. The expansion of the stadium could increase its capacity beyond 20,000, and it will include additional suites, press boxes, and a second stadium club. Phase three began in March.
Structure and facilities
Designed by Rossetti Architects, the stadium has a 6,500-square-foot (600 m2) Panther Club on the ground level, an upper concourse for additional fan seating and concessions, a jumbotron scoreboard, and 19 luxury suites. Seating includes chairback seats and bench seating, all with backrests. Panther fans shout "Rattle the Cage!" and fans will stomp and jump in unison on the bleachers creating a very loud reverberation throughout the steel and aluminum stadium. The Rattling of the Cage is done throughout the game, notably while the team is on defense and during cheers.
In April 2011, the field was named Alfonso Field after alumnus David F. Alfonso. The facility also includes a two-story, 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) field house, named for trustee R. Kirk Landon, which includes a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) weight room. The stadium also includes 8,500 square feet (790 m2) of locker rooms, an equipment room, a full-service athletic training facility, a ticket office, a merchandise area, and an FIU Athletics Hall of Fame.
With the removal of the track in 2007, the artificial turf field now meets the dimensions prescribed by FIFA for a full soccer field. It was the home field of Miami FC from 2007 to 2009, and it hosted parts of the 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. In 2013, the Gold Cup will be moving to Sun Life Stadium.
Miami-Dade Transit serves FIU Stadium with Metrobus lines 8, 11, 24, and 71. Bus lines 8, 11 and the 24 connect FIU Stadium directly with Downtown Miami and Brickell. For students at the Biscayne Bay Campus, the FIU Golden Panther Express offers direct bus service to FIU Stadium. FIU Stadium has multiple bike racks for fans traveling by bicycle. Parking on game days is free. Tailgate parking areas around the stadium open six hours before kickoff.
- FIU dropped the word "Golden" from its nickname starting in the 2010–11 school year.
- "Heralding the New Stadium". The Miami Herald. September 24, 1995. p. 4. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- Polansky, Risa (March 8, 2007). "FIU Plans $50 Million Stadium, Student Center". Miami Today. Archived from the original on February 6, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Duke Blue Devils vs. Florida International Golden Panthers – Box Score – October 01, 2011". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "2006 FIU Football Program" (PDF). FIU Athletics.
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- Merille, Eduardo (September 1, 2011). "Iconic Downtown Building to go Blue and Gold for Homecoming". FIU News. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- Pelegrin, Pete (September 5, 2012). "North Side Expansion of FIU Stadium". The Prowl – The Official FIU Sports Blog. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "NOTICE TO ARCHITECT/ENGINEERS – BT-842 FIU Stadium Expansion & Master Plan" (PDF). Florida International University. September 9, 2011. p. 1–3. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "FIU Rattles The City". Antisteez.com. November 30, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- Brooks, Jeff (August 1, 2007). "Odebrecht Building Expandable Stadium at FIU" (Southeast ed.). ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com. 9054.
- "Metrobus". Miami-Dade County. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Game Day Parking". FIU Athletics. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- FIU Stadium Construction – Official Website
- FIU Facilities Planning & Construction Site
- FIU Stadium construction history