The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan authorized $3,000 in 1890 for the purchase of land to build a new football field. The following May, they added $4,500 more "for the purpose of fitting up the athletic field." Regents Field opened for the 1893 football season. The first home game at Regents Field was a 6–0 victory over the Detroit Athletic Club on October 7, 1893.
When it opened, Regents Field had a single wooden bleacher section that seated 400 people. The bleachers burned down in 1895 and were replaced the following year with a new covered grandstand seating 800. Because of the demand for tickets, additional open bleachers seating about 6,000 were built adjoining the covered grandstand. The Athletic Association also had "one thousand circus seats and materials for sloping platforms which will permit 8,000 more people to view a football game." Bleachers were later constructed along the south side of the field and the end zones, bringing capacity to over 15,000. The largest crowd ever at Regents Field was for the second to last game at the old stadium. By one account, 17,000 fans watched the Wolverines defeat Wisconsin in the 1905 homecoming game.
In the 1890s a three dollar membership in the Athletic Association gained students admission to all athletic events. By 1904 a general admission ticket cost $3.00.
Michigan compiled an overall record of 87–2–3 at Regents Field from 1893 to 1905. Between 1901 and 1904, Fielding H. Yost's "Point-a-Minute" teams went 44–0 at Regents Field, outscoring their opponents 2,821 to 42.
In 1904, the Wolverines beat the undefeated University of Chicago team (coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg) at Regents Field. Portions of the game and several panoramic shots of the field were filmed by the Edison Manufacturing Company in one of the earliest successful attempts to film a football game. (See External links to view the film.)
- Bentley Library Article on Regents Field
- History of Michigan Stadium
- Edison Film of 1904 Football Game at Regents Field, Part 1
- Edison Film of 1904 Football Game at Regents Field, Part 2