Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium
The stadium on the night of October 29, 2011
|Former names||War Memorial Stadium (1924–47)|
Memorial Stadium (1948–76)
Texas Memorial Stadium (1977–95)
|Location||405 East 23rd Street|
Austin, Texas 78712
|Operator||University of Texas at Austin|
|Record attendance||103,507 (USC Trojans v. Texas Longhorns, September 15, 2018)|
Natural grass (1996–2008)
Artificial turf (1969–1995)
Natural grass (1924–1968)
|Broke ground||April 4, 1924|
|Opened||November 8, 1924 (first game)|
November 27, 1924 (dedication)
|Renovated||1955, 1977, 1986, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2013|
|Expanded||1926, 1948, 1964, 1968, 1971, 1997–1999, 2006–2009, 2019-2020|
($4.02 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Herbert M. Greene|
|General contractor||Walsh and Burney|
|Texas Longhorns (NCAA; 1924–present)|
Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium (formerly War Memorial Stadium, Memorial Stadium, and Texas Memorial Stadium), located in Austin, Texas, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, has been home to the Longhorns football team since 1924. The stadium has delivered a home field advantage with the team's home record through November 17, 2018 being 374–117–10 (76.4%). The current official stadium seating capacity of 100,119 makes the stadium the largest in the Big 12 Conference, the eighth largest stadium in the United States, and the ninth largest stadium in the world.
The DKR–Texas Memorial Stadium attendance record of 103,507 spectators was set on September 15, 2018, when Texas played The University of Southern California (Texas 37–14 victory).
In 1923, former UT athletics director L. Theo Bellmont (the west side of the stadium is named in his honor), along with 30 student leaders, presented the idea of building a concrete stadium to replace the wooden bleachers of Clark Field to the Board of Regents. Heralded as "the largest sports facility of its kind in the Southwest" upon its completion in 1924, the first unit of the stadium consisted of the east and west stands with a seating capacity of 27,000. It was designed as a dual-purpose facility with a 440-yard (400 m) track surrounding the football field. The stadium was financed through donations from both students and alumni. The estimated cost of the structure was $275,000.
The student body dedicated the stadium in honor of the 198,520 Texans – 5,280 of whom lost their lives – who fought in World War I. A statue, representing the figure of democracy, was later placed atop the north end zone seats of the stadium. In World War II, the University lost many former players, including former coach Jack Chevigny. The Athletics Council rededicated the newly enlarged stadium on September 18, 1948 prior to the Texas-LSU game, honoring the men and women who had died in the war. On November 12, 1977, a small granite monument was unveiled and placed at the base of the statue, during the TCU-Texas game. The ceremony rededicated Texas Memorial Stadium to the memory of all alumni in all American wars.
The University of Texas honored legendary football coach Darrell K Royal, who enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1943, played at the University of Oklahoma under legendary Coach Bud Wilkinson, and who led Texas to three national championships and eleven Southwest Conference titles, by officially naming the stadium after him in 1996. Additionally, the University established the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Veterans Committee, composed of alumni who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf Wars. The committee is charged to forever dedicate the stadium in the memory of, and in honor of, UT students and alumni who gave their lives for their country. Each year, one home football game is designated as Veterans Recognition Day, commemorating the memorial aspect of the stadium and to honor the memory of war soldiers.
Renovations and expansions
The stadium has been expanded several times since its original opening.
- 1926 – "Horseshoe" built on the north end for US$125,000 raising capacity to 40,500.
- 1948 – Two L-shaped sections added to the east and west stands, raising seating capacity to 60,136. General contractor for this work was Farnsworth & Chambers Inc. of Houston.
- 1955 – Lights added.
- 1964 – Minor seating expansion added 780 seats, bringing capacity to 60,916.
- 1968 – Seating expansion added 5,481 seats, bringing capacity to 66,397.
- 1971 – Upper deck added to the west side raising seating capacity to 77,809; artificial turf applied to field. General contractor for this work was a joint venture of two companies: Darragh & Lyda Inc. of San Antonio and H. A. Lott, Inc. of Houston.
- 1977 – Track converted from 440 yards to 400 meters (437.4 yds.).
- 1986 – The Vernon F. "Doc" Neuhaus–Darrell K Royal Athletic Center completed at the south end of the stadium at a cost of $7 million; the Center was later renamed the W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr.–V. F. "Doc" Neuhaus Athletic Center in 1997 after Royal's name was added to the stadium.
- 1996 – Replacement of the stadium's artificial turf with natural grass (Prescription Athletic Turf); installation of a Jumbotron video system; scoreboards retrofitted;
- 1997 – 14 stadium suites added to west side; underside of the stands remodeled, adding a concession plaza and visitors' locker room. In recognition of UT law school alumnus and benefactor Joe Jamail, the University named the football playing field Joe Jamail Field. Stadium capacity reduced by 2,297 seats, bringing capacity to 75,512.
- 1998 – Upper deck added to the east side including 52 new stadium suites and a 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) private club room. A total of 3,959 seats were added, bringing capacity to 79,471.
- 1999 – Track removed; new seats added to the west grandstand and the field was lowered seven feet to accommodate new front-row and field-level seats on the east and west grandstands, bringing capacity to 80,082.
- 2002 – TifSport Certified Bermuda grass replaced Prescription Athletic Turf.
- 2005 – Bellmont Hall, located in the west side of the stadium, was upgraded to meet newer safety codes set by the Austin Fire Department, the upper deck structure received new water sealing, and the Centennial Room and eighth-floor press box were expanded at a cost of $15 million.
- 2006 – A 7,370-square-foot (685 m2) high-definition Daktronics LED scoreboard, nicknamed "Godzillatron", located in the south end zone, was installed as the centerpiece of $8 million worth of audio/visual improvements. The six large flag poles that previously displayed the Six Flags Over Texas were replaced by smaller flags located atop the new screen. The sound system was also updated and smaller video boards were installed on the east and west sides of the stadium. 432 club seats were added to the west side and approximately 4,000 bleacher seats were added behind the south end zone expanding official seating capacity to 85,123.
- 2007–2008 – An expansion project costing US$149.9 million gave the stadium a new memorial plaza and new multi-level north end zone structure. The new outdoor plaza at the northwest corner is a memorial to veterans, with (the original 1924) bronze tablet honoring Texas World War I deaths, and a monument. The expansion included additional seats with an upper deck, club space, suites, athletic offices, academic-advising areas and a basement with gym space. Demolition of the old north end zone began on December 8, 2006 to move seating closer to the field. The south end zone also became the new seating location of the Longhorn Band beginning in 2008. Overall, the stadium's official seating capacity increased to 94,113.
- 2009 – A $27 million project brought a new Football Academic Center, a new Hall of Fame, FieldTurf replaced the TifSport Certified Bermuda grass, and replaced the 4,000 south end temporary bleachers with the addition of 4,525 permanent bleacher seats bringing capacity to 100,119.
- 2011 – Player locker room renovated with 135 new wide-space lockers connected to a state-of-the-art exhaust system, nutrition bar, lounge area with gaming stations, six large LED screens, and a new sound system and speakers.
- 2013 – FieldTurf installed in 2009 replaced in April 2013 to improve drainage and change the orange in the end zones to more of a "burnt orange".
- 2013 – A $62 million project that will add a practice facility for the women's volleyball team in the basement of the north end zone as well as additional athletic offices. Bellmont Hall will receive facility improvements and become an academic center for kinesiology, health education and fine arts.
- 2019 -The final planned phase of the stadium's expansion includes the enclosing of the south end zone, completely enclosing the playing field with two levels of seating (not including club seating and luxury boxes). This plan has been part of the University's master plan since at least the early 1990s, as renderings and models of a fully enclosed stadium have existed since that time. On September 20, 2018, the University announced that it will spend $175 million on the south end zone, completely closing the seating bowl. The south end zone will not mirror the north end zone and seating capacity has not been announced. On May 4, 2019, ground was broken on the "south-end zone expansion project". "The new addition is set to open for the 2021 football season."
The scoreboard measures at 81 feet (25 m) tall and 136 feet (41 m) wide with a pixel resolution of 2064 x 848. The scoreboard was installed as part of a US$149.9 million stadium renovation, $8 million of which was spent on audiovisual improvements. The new high definition screen was the centerpiece of these improvements and debuted at the start of the 2006 football season. Previously, two scoreboards were in place, one in the south end, the Freddie Steinmark Memorial Scoreboard and Jumbotron, and one in the north end, a video matrix screen. Both were removed after the 2005 season. The new scoreboard replaced the one in the south end. The north end no longer features a scoreboard as it was removed for the 2008 stadium expansion. On November 8, 2015, the UT Longhorns rededicated the scoreboard to Freddie Steinmark in a ceremony attended by many previous Longhorn players. The giant Longhorn symbol at the very top was sold on eBay.
At the time of its creation, it was called the largest high-definition video screen in the world, though it was quickly surpassed by a larger screen in Tokyo. It was also the largest HD screen in the western hemisphere until 2013 and the largest high-definition video screen in college football until 2014.
A downside for fans is that the screen can be used to allow more obtrusive advertising to be displayed during games. It has been controversial among fans because at some times a large portion (more than 50%) of the screen is being used for advertising and other non-game related graphics. This has led to some fans (including Austin American-Statesman commentator Kirk Bohls) calling the new screen "Adzillatron". Complaints have also been made about the scoreboard being too loud and about it broadcasting advertisements to those in the stadium, even over the top of the band playing in the stadium. In its first usage, the portion of the new screen that was typically used for showing replays and film highlights was approximately the same size as the old video screen. More recent games have featured a 16:9 format image centered in a ring of advertisement and score/clock related information.
|1||September 15, 2018||103,507||#22 USC||W, 37–14|
|2||November 17, 2018||102,498||#18 Iowa State||W, 24–10|
|3||September 4, 2016||102,315||#10 Notre Dame||W, 50–47|
|4||October 6, 2012||101,851||#8 West Virginia||L, 45–48|
|5||September 3, 2011||101,624||Rice||W, 34–9|
|6||September 14, 2013||101,474||#25 Ole Miss||L, 23–44|
|7||September 25, 2010||101,437||UCLA||L, 12–34|
|8||November 21, 2009||101,357||Kansas||W, 51–20|
|9||October 20, 2012||101,353||Baylor||W, 56–50|
|10||September 11, 2010||101,339||Wyoming||W, 34–7|
|11||September 19, 2009||101,297||Texas Tech||W, 34–24|
|12||October 10, 2009||101,152||Colorado||W, 38–14|
History of capacity changes
- 27,000 (1924–1925)
- 40,500 (1926–1947)
- 60,136 (1948–1963)
- 60,916 (1964–1967)
- 66,397 (1968–1970)
- 77,809 (1971–1996)
- 75,512 (1997)
- 79,471 (1998)
- 80,092 (1999–2005)
- 85,123 (2006–2007)
- 94,113 (2008)
- 100,119 (2009–present)
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