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Non-Conference Game
12 Total
Kentucky 4930 79
Michigan State 4331 74
DateDecember 13, 2003
ArenaFord Field
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJim Nantz and Billy Packer

The Basketbowl was a college basketball game between Michigan State University and the University of Kentucky held on December 13, 2003 at Ford Field, a domed American football stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Kentucky won the game 79–74, never trailing throughout the contest.[1]

The announced crowd of 78,129 set a record for verified[2] attendance at a basketball game in history.[1] While the record was broken at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which drew 108,713 to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas,[3] the Basketbowl still holds the record for attendance at a college basketball game.

The NCAA was so impressed with the massive size of the crowd that they decided in 2008 to expand the seating capacity for the Men's Division I Basketball Championship to a minimum of 70,000 starting with the 2009 Final Four, which would be held in that stadium.[citation needed]


Both schools entered into the contest with significant on-court accomplishments. Combined, both schools had won nine national championships (seven for Kentucky, two for Michigan State) and made 18 Final Four appearances (13 for Kentucky, five for Michigan State). Michigan State and Kentucky had met 20 times previously with Kentucky holding an 11–9 advantage. Michigan State had defeated Kentucky 71–67 the previous year at Rupp Arena.


The court being assembled in Ford Field.

The basketball court for the game was moved from Michigan State's Breslin Center and reassembled on the 50 yard line of Ford Field, giving the promotional title "Basketbowl: Hoops on the 50!"[citation needed] This is the same court that Michigan State won the 2000 NCAA Championship on in Indianapolis. In addition, the entire court was raised off the field by a custom stage deck installed by SGA Production Staging, Inc. to improve sight lines for those sitting in the upper bowl of the stadium.[citation needed]

Basketball attendance record[edit]

The previous record of 75,000 was held by the Harlem Globetrotters during their exhibition game at Berlin, Germany's Olympic Stadium.[4] The 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium drew a crowd of 108,713, which shattered the all-time attendance record for the sport set by Michigan State and Kentucky in 2003.[5]

"BasketBowl II"[edit]

It was announced on April 15, 2008 that Ford Field would host "BasketBowl II" between the Spartans and North Carolina as part of the ACC–Big Ten Challenge on December 3 of that year. North Carolina won the game easily 98–63.[6] The game was televised on ESPN.[7] The two teams met again in Ford Field four months later, this time for the 2009 NCAA Tournament Championship.[8] North Carolina easily defeated the Spartans in the championship as well.[9]


  1. ^ a b Associated Press (2003-12-13). "Kentucky never trails in 'BasketBowl'". Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  2. ^ The 1968 European Cup Winners' Cup final between AEK Athens and Slavia Prague, held at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, is believed to have had 80,000 in attendance, but that total was not verified at the time. "Partizan sets crowd record at Belgrade Arena!". 2009-03-05. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  3. ^ Associated Press (2010-02-14). "East wins in front of biggest crowd to watch hoops game". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  4. ^ Weber, Bruce (2015-05-22). "Marques Haynes, 89, Dies; Dribbled as a Globetrotter and Dazzled Worldwide". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "North Carolina vs. Michigan State - Game Recap - December 3, 2008 - ESPN". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Michigan State vs. North Carolina - Game Recap - April 6, 2009 - ESPN". Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  9. ^ "North Carolina Wins NCAA Championship". Retrieved 2017-08-22.