|Former names||Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium (1975)
|Location||1200 Featherstone Road
Pontiac, Michigan 48342
|Broke ground||September 19, 1973|
|Opened||August 23, 1975|
Re-opened April 17, 2010
Triple Investment Group
|Operator||Triple Sports & Entertainment|
|Construction cost||$55.7 million
($242 million in 2013 dollars)
|Architect||O'Dell/Hewlett & Luckenbach|
|Structural engineer||Geiger Berger Associates|
|General contractor||Barton Malow|
(Football & soccer: 80,311
largest crowd: 93,682
for Pope John Paul II
|Detroit Lions (NFL) (1975–2001)
Detroit Pistons (NBA) (1978–1988)
Michigan Panthers (USFL) (1983–1984)
Detroit Express (NASL) (1978–1980)
Cherry Bowl (NCAA) (1984–1985)
Motor City Bowl (NCAA) (1997–2001)
Detroit Mechanix (AUDL) (2012)
The Silverdome (formerly known as the Pontiac Silverdome) is a domed stadium located in the city of Pontiac, Michigan, USA, which sits on 127 acres (51 ha). It was the largest stadium in the National Football League (NFL) until FedEx Field in suburban Washington, D.C. opened in 1997.
The Silverdome hosted the Detroit Lions of the NFL (1975–2001), the Detroit Pistons of the NBA (1978–1988), the Detroit Express of the NASL (1978–1980), the Michigan Panthers of the USFL (1983–1984), the Cherry Bowl, from 1984–1985, the Motor City Bowl, from 1997–2001, the MHSAA football state finals, from 1976–2004 and four first-round games during the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
For the World Cup games, a natural grass surface capable of growing inside the dome was developed and installed by a team from Michigan State University. This grass surface was laid upon wooden pallets atop the artificial turf that is usually used. It was the first time that World Cup games were played indoors. The Silverdome also hosted the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl XVI on January 24, 1982, and the 1988 and 1991 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament Midwest Regionals.
On March 29, 1987, the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania III established for the record attendance of 93,173, the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America. The record stood until February 14, 2010 when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game broke the indoor sporting event record with an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium.
- 1 History
- 2 Significant events
- 3 References
- 4 External links
The idea of a major sports complex was part of a dream of C. Don Davidson, a Pontiac, Michigan native and star high school athlete. Davidson, upon graduating from Pontiac Central High School in 1947 and completing active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, attended North Carolina State University on a football scholarship. After earning a masters degree in urban planning and architecture, Davidson began his career as an architect and was recognized for several government and city projects throughout the south including Florida's Jacksonville International Airport. He returned to Pontiac in 1965 and was shocked to see the deterioration of the city of Pontiac and its lack of a future plan. Davidson embarked upon what would eventually become an obsession for him to see his beloved city succeed. In 1965-66, he was hired as a professor of architecture and urban planning at the University of Detroit under the direction of Bruno Leon, Dean of the school of architecture.
As part of an ongoing, comprehensive study by his architecture class on urban renewal for the city of Pontiac, Davidson met with various city and state authorities including William Clay Ford, owner of the Detroit Lions, to discuss the possibility of a new stadium, made it a college class project to find a suitable site for a new stadium and even started his own weekly newspaper known as The Pontiac Times, to help promote his vision. After much controversy and sparring with Detroit city officials, Pontiac was chosen over several other sites including the Michigan Fairgrounds, Walled Lake and the Detroit Riverfront as the best place for construction of what would become known as the Pontiac Silverdome. Already having a stadium concept as part of his master plan for the city, Davidson was interviewed and ultimately hired as chief project designer for the stadium project by the architectural firm of O'dell, Hewlett & Luckenbach. Initial designs included a dual stadium complex for both football and baseball that was later scrapped due to high costs. Davidson was pleased to see a part of his vision for the city of Pontiac accomplished in the building of the 80,000-seat sports complex. Completed in 1975 as the Pontiac Metropolitan Stadium, at a cost of $55.7 million, the Silverdome seats 80,311. It contains 102 luxury suites and 7,384 club seats.
Original silver-like roof
The original silver-like roof was built of Teflon-coated fiberglass panels, and supported by air pressure inside the stadium. Although the roof has always been white in color as viewed with the naked eye, the stadium obtained the name "Silverdome" due to a silver-like reflection caused by the sun, mainly noticed from the sky. The roof was replaced by a new canvas fabric, reinforced by steel girders after a strong snowstorm on March 4, 1985, caused structural damage to the old roof. Because of the damage, the Detroit Pistons played the remainder of the 1984–85 season at Joe Louis Arena. The accident, and the delay in repairs, partially prompted the Pistons moving three seasons later 4 miles (6 km) north to their new, privately owned, 20,000-seat sports arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The 1985 repairs were necessitated by a collapse of the original 1975 roof around noon EST on March 4, 1985. Heavy, wet snow accumulated on the southwest corner of the dome and depressed the fabric panels low enough so that the fabric came in contact with a steel lighting catwalk that was positioned just below the inner lip of the roof's ring beam. The hole caused a loss of air pressure and the Dome deflated slowly - there were no injuries. The shift from a "dome" to "bowl" caused all the heavy, wet snow to slide down into the bowl and rupture more roof panels, collapse some precast risers in the SW upper deck, and dislodge more plastic seats "... than a Rolling Stones concert" according to Bob Haney, the Dome's Operations Manager. Crews from Owens-Corning Fiberglas, the dome's original roof installer, were on site by 1:30 pm on March 4. Repair operations began immediately but were interrupted for over a week due to high winds. During the high winds event nearly all of the remaining panels in the deflated roof, 100 in all, were badly damaged. The decision was made to replace the entire roof and incorporate some improvements to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future. Repair cost of the roof was just under $8 million.
The repairs were completed and the dome re-inflated at noon on May 28, 1985. It should be noted that a thunderstorm passed through the Pontiac area the morning the Dome was to be re-inflated and a partial inflation, or "puff", was performed so that the scheduled inflation could occur in the presence of the many city and area politicians as well as number corporate executives. The original-style, Teflon-coated fiberglass material was used to make the repairs - not canvas as described in the article. There were several snow-melting and waterproofing improvements that kept the dome inflated until January 2, 2013 - over 25 years.
Notable audience attendance numbers
The largest crowd to ever gather at the Silverdome was on March 29, 1987 for WrestleMania III, with a reported attendance of 93,173. Another notable audience attendance record had earlier been broken on April 30, 1977, when the English rock band Led Zeppelin played in front of 76,229 fans at the Silverdome. This was, at the time, a new world record attendance for a solo indoor attraction, beating the 75,962 that The Who attracted there on December 6, 1975. The Detroit Pistons also set numerous NBA attendance records during their time at the Silverdome; Regular Season, 61,983 vs. Boston, January 29, 1988; Playoffs, 41,732, vs. L.A. Lakers, June 16, 1988.
Marching band activities and events
The Silverdome was also the home to many marching band activities and events, including the Michigan Competing Band Association State Marching Band Championships until 2005, the Bands of America Regional championships from 2003 to 2005, and the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1987 and 1988. Following its reopening, the Silverdome was host to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Bands of America Pontiac Regional Championship.
Usage after Lions' move to Ford Field
The Lions moved to Ford Field at the beginning of the 2002 NFL season. When the World Hockey Association (WHA) tried to re-introduce itself, the new WHA Detroit team was slated to play its home games at the Silverdome. Plans were also mooted for a Windsor-based Canadian Football League team which could have used the dome for possible playoff games, but that team also did not materialize.
After the Lions relocated, activity in the Silverdome dropped drastically, however it still staged some events. Annually, Jehovah's Witnesses used the Silverdome from the late 1970s to 2004. Due to talk of renovation in 2004, the Witnesses opted to travel to The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, and the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo, Ohio for their District Conventions. Between 2003 and 2006, a three-screen drive-in theater operated in the parking lot; this theater reopened in 2010 before closing again on July 13, 2011.
The Silverdome hosted Monster Jam on January 7, 2006 and was used as a practice facility for the AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl XL, with the NFL adding FieldTurf, which was later donated to a local high school.
After the Lions departure, the city of Pontiac began to experience several years of serious financial problems. Due to the continued high maintenance costs of the structure, it made several unsuccessful attempts to sell the stadium. In early 2008, United Assurance Company Ltd. made the highest purchase offer to date, with a bid of $18 million to convert the Silverdome into a Hollywood-style entertainment complex, following an earlier bid of $12 million by an attorney. However, the city announced in October 2009 that the property would go to auction with no minimum bid, and that zoning regulations would be relaxed for any buyer in order to spark development. The city engaged the firm of Williams & Williams to conduct the auction in November 2009.
After reading about the auction in a newspaper, Greek-born Canadian real estate developer Andreas Apostolopoulos, CEO of Toronto-based Triple Properties Inc., submitted a winning bid of US$550,000. Real estate fees of 6% raised the price to US$583,000. The sale of the Silverdome, completed in 1975 at a cost of $55.7 million (approx. $225 million in 2012 dollars), and sold in 2009 for $583,000 was viewed by many as a symbol of the collapse of real estate prices in the Detroit metropolitan area though many local leaders and residents claimed the sale was brought about due to the incompetence of city management and their not having a vision or future plans for the stadium and surrounding area.
Reopening and future
In the Detroit Free Press on March 11, 2010, Apostolopoulos vowed "to revive the stadium as a big-event venue by investing millions of dollars".
AC Milan and Panathinaikos FC played a friendly on August 6, 2010. On January 29, 2011, professional boxer Timothy Bradley defended his WBO light welterweight title in a unification fight against WBC champion Devon Alexander. The fight was aired live on HBO World Championship Boxing, with an attendance of about 7,000. The owners have indicated that they are pursuing a possible expansion team for Major League Soccer, and may renovate the Silverdome for this purpose. The Silverdome grounds have been used for drive-in movies infrequently since 2005.
The roof was permanently deflated on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 as an energy saving measure during upcoming renovations. Plans call for a new, permanent, self-supporting roof to be installed topped with solar panels for energy production.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2013)|
- August 23, 1975 – Lions first game played, a preseason contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.
- October 6, 1975 – Lions first regular season game, a 36–10 defeat by the Dallas Cowboys on ABC Monday Night Football.
- October 12, 1975 – Lions first regular season Silverdome victory, a 27–7 defeat of the Chicago Bears.
- November 27, 1975 – Lions first Thanksgiving Day game in the Silverdome, a 20–0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
- December 6, 1975 – The Who (attended by 75,962 fans)
- December 31, 1975 – Elvis Presley (his very first New Year's Eve show, attended by 62,500 fans)
- April 30, 1977 – Led Zeppelin (attended by 76,229 fans)
- March 5, 1978 – Kenny Rogers and Dottie West hosted what was billed as the "World's Largest Indoor Country Music Show" with an attendance in excess of 60,000 fans.
- February 4, 1979 – NBA All-Star Game
- January 24, 1982 – Super Bowl XVI
- The Jacksons performed three concerts at Pontiac Silverdome on August 17, 18 and 19, 1984, during their Victory Tour.
- September 4, 1985 – Bruce Springsteen performed to a record crowd during his "Born in the U.S.A." tour.
- March 29, 1987 – WrestleMania III
- August 7, 1987 – Madonna, who lived near the dome in her childhood, performed during a stop on her Who's That Girl World Tour with 56,000 people in the audience
- September 18, 1987 – Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass
- 1988 – NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
- 1988 – NBA Finals games 3 through 5
- 1991 – NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
- January 5, 1992 – Lions first home playoff game at the Silverdome – a 38–6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
- 1992 – Metallica and Guns N' Roses brought the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to the dome on July 21, 1992, with Faith No More as their opening act.
- 1994 – Hosted World Cup games for the 1994 World Cup
- 1994 – Pink Floyd performed their classic album The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety on July 15, 1994, for the first time since 1975.
- 2000 – Metallica held New Year's Eve concert at the venue along with Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, and Sevendust
- January 6, 2002 – Final Detroit Lions game played, a 15–10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
- April 17, 2010 – "Domination In The Dome" (Monster Trucks) Grand Re-Opening of the Silverdome
- August 6, 2010 – AC Milan vs Panathinaikos football clubs In "Match of the Titans"
1994 FIFA World Cup matches
|Date||Time (EDT)||Team #1||Res.||Team #2||Round||Spectators|
|1994-06-18||11.30||United States||1–1||Switzerland||Group A||73,425|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pontiac Silverdome.|
|Events and tenants|
|Host of the
NBA All-Star Game
Super Bowl XVI
|Home of the
The Palace of Auburn Hills
|Home of the
Bands of America
Grand National Championship
Motor City Bowl
L.A. Sports Arena