Rentschler Field was originally the name of the company airfield for Pratt & Whitney that formerly occupied the site. The airfield, which began operations in 1931, was named after Frederick Brant Rentschler, who founded the aircraft arm of Pratt & Whitney and later founded its current parent company, United Technologies. It was originally used for test flights and maintenance operations, and later for corporate aviation. The 75-acre (30 ha) site was decommissioned as an airport in the 1990s, and donated to the state of Connecticut by United Technologies in 1999. A subsequent 65-acre donation by United Technologies in 2009 allowed for the construction of additional grass parking lots adjacent to the Stadium.
Pursuant to a lease agreement with the State, UConn plays all its home football games at Rentschler Field.
The New England Patriots considered moving to Connecticut and sharing a stadium with the UConn football team, in the mid-1990s. The new stadium was supposed to be built on the Connecticut Convention Center site in downtown Hartford. However, when the Patriots completed the deal for Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, the Hartford stadium plan was scaled down and the location was moved to East Hartford. The current capacity of 40,642 was designed with structure in place to expand to a 50,000-seat stadium or more, with limited rehabilitation.
Rentschler Field is owned by the State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management, while operations are overseen by the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). Global Spectrum, L.P. has managed the building on behalf of CRDA since 2013. Previously, the Stadium was managed by Bushnell Management Services (2011-2013), Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG)(2007-2011) and Madison Square Garden L.P. (2003-2007).
The stadium has hosted a number of major concerts, including Bruce Springsteen (the first artist to play the stadium, in 2003), The Rolling Stones (2005) and The Police (2007). On September 21, 2013, UConn hosted the Michigan Wolverines with a record football attendance of 42,704. Over 2,000 temporary seats were added to the venue on either side of the scoreboard to accommodate the 5,000 visiting seating allotment that UConn agreed to give Michigan. The Huskies lost 24-21 to the Wolverines that game.
The Hartford Colonials were a United Football League team that played their home games at Rentschler Field. During their (2010 UFL season), the Colonials played all four home games at Rentschler, after having played one there the previous season while they were known as the New York Sentinels. Attendance at Colonials games averaged a consistent 15,000 people, third place in the five-team league behind Omaha and Sacramento. The UFL suspended the Colonials franchise in 2011 and the franchise was officially terminated when the team's former owner (Bill Mayer) was named as the new owner of a different franchise.