Memorial Stadium was built in 1923 as a memorial to Illinois men and women who gave their lives for their country during World War I. Their names appear on 200 columns that support the east and west sides of the stadium.
Donations of approximately $1.7 million by more than 200,000 students, alumni and other friends of the university made the construction of Memorial Stadium possible. The Athletic Association (now known as the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics) later allocated $509,805 to the project for the construction of the south stands and other stadium additions. The drive was needed to add seats for the over 30,000 fans who were turned away from games.
The stadium opened Nov. 3, 1923, when Illinois defeated Chicago, 7-0, in a Homecoming victory. The stadium was dedicated officially Oct. 18, 1924, a day that Illinois not only defeated Michigan, 39-14, for a Homecoming victory, but Harold E. "Red" Grange accounted for six touchdowns in what remains the single greatest performance in Memorial Stadium history. In the first 12 minutes of that game, Grange ran for a total of 265 yards and scored four times against a Michigan team that had not lost in its last 20 games. He had his hands on the ball only six times and left the field before the end of the first quarter.
In the third quarter, Grange returned and ran 13 yards for his fifth touchdown, and in the final period he passed to Marion Leonard for his sixth score of the day. In 42 minutes of playing time, Grange gained a total of 402 yards, carried the ball 21 times and also completed six passes for 64 yards. Legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg called it "the most spectacular single-handed performance ever delivered in a major game."
|Top Crowds at Memorial Stadium|
|9/8/1984||78,297||Illinois 30, Missouri 24|
|10/6/1984||76,428||Illinois 22, Wisconsin 6|
|11/2/1985||76,397||Illinois 3, Michigan 3|
|10/26/1985||76,395||Illinois 38, Wisconsin 25|
|9/7/1985||76,369||USC 20, Illinois 10|
|10/5/1985||76,343||Illinois 31, Ohio State 28|
|9/14/1985||76,330||Illinois 28, SIU 25|
|10/29/1983||76,127||Illinois 16, Michigan 6|
|10/20/1984||76,101||Illinois 34, Purdue 20|
|11/3/1984||76,056||Illinois 48, Minnesota 3|
The 1994 season represented the 70th anniversary of Memorial Stadium's dedication and the historic Illinois-Michigan game. To celebrate the event, Red Grange's wife, Mrs. Margaret Grange, attended the Fighting Illini's Oct. 22 game against Michigan. She helped dedicate The Grange Rock, which sits at the north end of Zuppke Field near the Illinois locker room, as a tribute to her husband. The rock came from the same Indiana stone quarry that produced the stadium's granite columns.
During the 1980s, Memorial Stadium saw 27 consecutive sell-outs. The singlegame attendance record is 78,297 for a 1984 victory over Missouri.
In April 1985, $7 million worth of improvements began. Out of this project came installation of a new AstroTurf artificial playing surface and expansion of the football headquarters in the northeast corner of the stadium. An airtight vacuum dome completely covering the field of Memorial Stadium, more commonly known as "The Bubble," was inflated for the first time in December 1985 for the purpose of practice during the winter months. It was used for the last time during the spring season of 2000, when the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility was completed.
In 1986, Memorial Stadium was nominated among 62 other sites – including Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, the Rose Bowl and Yale Bowl – to become a national historic landmark.
|Illinois Records at Memorial Stadium|
Most Rushing Yards|
263, Howard Griffith vs. Northwestern, 11/24/1990
Most Passing Yards
Longest Rushing Play
Longest Passing Play
Longest Punt Return
Longest Kickoff Return
Longest Interception Return
Most Points Scored (Team)
Widest Margin of Victory
Most Consecutive Games Without a Loss
Most Consecutive Wins
Memorial Stadium underwent major renovations between November 1991 and August 1992. The $18 million project included the replacement of all the concrete bleachers in both upper decks as well as the replacement of the top 25 rows of the main stands. The stadium's electrical and drainage systems were also brought up to code and new restroom facilities, for both men and women, were installed in the corner towers and great halls. The project was financed through the issuance of revenue bonds by the UI Auxiliary Facilities System.
Before the start of the 1994 season, a new color matrix scoreboard was added to the north end of Zuppke Field. Renovations to the stadium surface came in the summer of 2001 with the replacement of the field's AstroTurf with AstroPlay, an artificial surface with a grass-like, non-abrasive, polyethylene fiber matrix filled with special rubber granules. The Illini played on the new surface for the first time in the 2001 home opener against Northern Illinois.
Construction took place in the winter of 2002 on the expansion of the football complex and a new state-of-the-art video replay scoreboard. Locker rooms and meeting rooms were expanded and a new sports medicine facility was built on the first floor of the Irwin complex.
In 2008, the University of Illinois unveiled a completed Memorial Stadium 'Renaissance' project that encompassed two years of work and over $121 million. The renovations to the north end zone were completed in August 2007 and the west structure, along with refurbishing of the east great hall. Among the renovation on the west side was the addition of luxury suites, indoor and outdoor club areas, and a refurbishment of the concourses. An outdoor club space, the Colonnades Club, was added under the west balcony and allows for indoor game-day hospitality, as well as outdoor chair-back seats for game viewing. In the west balcony, a three-level structure was built to house two floors of suites and an indoor club space, as well as a new press box for media seating and game day operations. The indoor club, which seats 200, has been named the "77 Club" to honor the retired number of Illinois gridiron legend Harold "Red" Grange. The premium seating areas also serve as ChampaignUrbana's premier event space, and have hosted weddings, banquets, receptions and meetings since their opening.
Also added underneath the newly enclosed north bleachers during the Illinois Renaissance project, the Illinois football complex got an expansion and refurbishing of the weight room, training facilities and meeting space. The entire project was conducted while keeping the stadium in a functioning capacity for the Illinois football team during the time of construction. The architectural firm HNTB of Kansas City, Mo., designed the renovation and Hunt Construction Managers handled the construction.
Prior to the 2012 season, a new FieldTurf Revolution surface and banners commemorating Illinois' national championships, Big Ten championships and bowl appearances were installed. The turf features the Block I logo inside an outline of the state of Illinois at midfield, similar to the design at center court of the State Farm Center floor, and alternating shades of green every five yards. For the 2013 season, a new high-definition video display measuring 36 feet tall by 96 feet wide was installed in the south horseshoe. In addition, two LED ribbon displays measuring more than 420 feet in length were added to the fascia between the seating decks on each side of the field, and additional video displays measuring 17 feet by 10 feet were mounted to the northeast and southeast towers.
Memorial Stadium has been the site of many other events, including the firstever "Farm Aid." Farm Aid was organized by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson and was held on September 22, 1985, before a crowd of 80,000 people. It raised over $7 million for America's family farmers. Performers included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and many more.
Since 1999, the University of Illinois has played host to the Illinois High School Association's championship games during Thanksgiving weekend. Starting in 2012, the IHSA finals will only be hosted at Memorial Stadium in evennumbered years after the Big Ten adjusted the conference schedule to have a regular-season game on Thanksgiving weekend. In 2002, Memorial Stadium served as the home field for the Chicago Bears while Soldier Field underwent major renovations.
Download the 2013 parking map.
Many lots are pass only lots. There are some lots available for game day purchase. These lots are Lot 44, 48, 49, and the lots in Research Park.
Parking lots are open to patrons starting at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m. on game days. This excludes any night games that Illinois might have in which parking lots will close 1 hour after the completion of the game.
Automobiles - $20.00 (Lot s 44 , 48, 49, and the lots in Research Park)
Automobiles with pull behinds - $40.00 (Lot 48 ONLY)
RV's - $40.00 (Lot 33 ONLY)
Busses - $50.00 (Pennsylvania Avenue ONLY)
Handicap Parking and ADA Shuttle Lot
A limited number of handicapped parking spaces, including van accessible spaces, are provided in the four quadrants of the State Farm Center. An ADA Shuttle Lot is also located in Research Park in the Yahoo Parking Lot off of First Street. An ADA accessible bus will provide transportation from this lot to the stadium prior to the game and after the game. The fee for all ADA parking is $20 unless you have an I FUND parking pass. A disabled license plate or handicap placard is required to park in these spaces. Use of a disabled plate or placard without presence of a disabled person in the vehicle is a violation of the State motor vehicle code.
Bus parking is only permitted on Pennsylvania Avenue. Approach this parking from Fourth Street or Lincoln Avenue. Payment is accepted on game days only. Payment must be made in cash. Bus parking is $50.00.
DIA policy prohibits overnight parking in any of the parking lots. Please contact one of the following stores and make the management aware of your RV entering the lot for the night and what, if any, rules they need to follow during your stay.
2610 N. Prospect Ave.; Champaign
505 S. Dunlap Ave.; Savoy
Golf Cart Shuttle Service
Golf Cart Shuttle Services are available to patrons that need assistance between the parking lots and the stadium on game days. The shuttle service begins two hours prior to kickoff and runs continuously up to fifteen minutes prior to kickoff. For specific pick-up locations please see the Parking Map. The State Farm Center Shuttle will continuously circulate the four State Farm Center Quads during these same times. Shuttle service will resume at the end of each game; as soon as pedestrian traffic allows. The pre-game drop-off and post-game pick-up location at the stadium for the west side will be on Kirby Ave. near Portal 1 and for the east side will be on Kirby Ave. near Portal 6.
The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District has a football game day "TranSport Route". The Urbana route begins at the corner of Goodwin Ave. and University Ave. and will drop off near the corner of Fourth St. and Kirby Ave. with various pick up points along the route. The Champaign route begins at the Hill Street parking deck in downtown Champaign and will drop off at the corner of Fourth St. and Peabody with a pickup point at Wright & Green. The fee is $2 for a round trip. For more information call 217-384-8188 or go online at www.cumtd.com.
Ticket Sales/Pass Gate Location
Game Day Ticket Sales are located south of Memorial Stadium on Kirby Ave. half-way between First and Fourth Streets. Ticket booths open at 9:00 a.m. for morning and afternoon games and 12:00 p.m. for night games.
Will Call Tickets are to be picked up at the Athletic Ticket office located on the west side of the State Farm Center.
Press Will Call is located at the Athletic Ticket office located on the west side of the State Farm Center.
University of Illinois player guest tickets are located at the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility located NE of Memorial Stadium at the corner of Peabody and Fourth Streets.
Visiting player guest tickets are located at the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility located NE of Memorial Stadium at the corner of Peabody and Fourth Streets.
Six portal entrances will be used on game day. For direct and efficient access to your seat, please enter the stadium through the portal nearest your seat location. Entrances open one and one-half hours prior to the scheduled kick-off time. All suites and club areas will open two hours prior to kickoff and patrons may use Portal 2.
All seats are reserved in Memorial Stadium. Infants and toddlers ages two and under, are allowed to enter the stadium at a discounted ticket prices. For $5.00, fans can purchase an infant ticket, but the infant must sit in the lap of an adult during the game. Infant tickets may not be purchased for use in suites or club areas. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths located on Kirby Ave. or at Will Call located at the Athletic Ticket Office on the west side of the State Farm Center.
Restrooms are located throughout Memorial Stadium. Portable restrooms are located throughout the parking lots.
Concession stands are located throughout Memorial Stadium. Permanent concession stands located throughout the Great East and West Halls and the West Balcony will accept credit cards.
Fighting Illini merchandise is available for sale inside and outside the Great East and West Halls and in the North Stands. Merchandise is also available outside of Memorial Stadium at the large Gameday Spirit sales tent near the corner of First St. and Kirby Ave.
Programs are on sale at stands located inside the Great East and West Halls of Memorial Stadium. The cost is $5.00.
ATMs are located in the Great East and West Halls, and the Colonnades Club level.
Lost and Found
Lost and found inquiries can be made at the East and West Guest Service Centers located next to Gate 15 on the east side of Memorial Stadium and near the middle of the Great West Hall on the west side of the stadium. Once the booths have closed, inquiries can be directed to the Event Management Office located at 1700 S. Fourth St. Champaign, IL or by phone at 217-265-9274 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IEMS (Illini Emergency Medical Services) - Technicians wearing red shirts are located in the East Main Stands, East Balcony, West Main Stands, and Horseshoe in vomitories marked with red railings. These vomitories are found in sections 101/102, 104/105, and 107/108 in the East Main Stands, 203/204 and 206/207 in the East Balcony, 124/125, 127/128, and 130/131in the West Main Stands. In the North Stands the technicians are located at the stairs to sections 132/133 and 136/137. IEMS technicians will also be available in the West Balcony.
First Aid rooms at Memorial Stadium are located under section 105 on the east side, and in the southwest corner of the Great West Hall south of Gate 24. Ambulance Services are on site during all home football games.