Home for the Iowa football team is Kinnick Stadium, one of the 15 largest college-owned stadiums in the nation. One of college football's finest facilities, Kinnick Stadium is routinely filled on Saturdays each fall. The Hawkeyes played before a record 58 straight home sellouts during the Hayden Fry Era. The largest crowd (70,397) has been reached many times since over two thousand seats were added prior to the 1990 season. The original capacity of Kinnick Stadium was 53,000. Seats were added to the south end zone in 1956 raising the capacity to 60,000. The north end zone was enclosed and capacity increased to 66,000 prior to the 1983 season. With two more expansion projects completed since, the Stadium now seats 70,397 fans. Kinnick Stadium has 20 miles of bleacher seats and is 79 rows high on each side. Construction on the stadium was completed October 5, 1929 at a cost of $497,151,42. Original construction took six months, but it has undergone several facelifts since. Beside the expansions, an artificial surface was installed in 1972. That carpet was replaced in 1981. A natural grass playing field, Prescription Athletic Turf, was installed in 1989. The field was re-sodded just prior to the 1997 season. The five-floor press box was constructed in 1958 at a cost of $490,628,62. It is located between the 25 yard-lines on the west side of the stadium. Skyboxes, finished in 1995, are located on the stadium, third and fourth level. The electronic scoreboards were added in 1995. The main board is 76 feet by 21 feet with a large T in the middle. Kinnick Stadium has a rich history beginning with a 46-0 Hawkeye win over Monmouth in the facility's first game. The Hawkeyes tied Illinois 7-7 in the dedication game October 19, 1929. In 1972, the name was changed from Iowa Stadium to Kinnick Stadium in honor of Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick. His No. 24 jersey was retired by the school because of his success as a scholar-athlete at the University. The Hawkeyes' all-time record in Kinnick Stadium is 197-152-15. The longest winning streak is 11 games (in 1985-86). Iowa has had nine undefeated home seasons, the last in 1997. The school's
all-time attendance record was set in 1986 (472,041 fans, 7 home games)/Iowa's atttendence mark for all games was recorded in 1990 with 905,840 fans, 75,487 per-game average.
On March 10, 2004 the University of Iowa received permission from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, to proceed with planning and execution of a comprehensive renovation of historic Kinnick Stadium, the 70,000-seat game-day home of the University of Iowas varsity football program.
When completed in August 2006, Kinnick Stadium will be better equipped to meet, if not exceed, the needs of a wide and diverse group of friends and fans of the state of Iowa, the University of Iowa, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and intercollegiate athletics on college football Saturdays in Iowa City.
Improvements will range from upscale seating options and amenities available in a state of the art press box to three times the number of restrooms and more than two times the number of concessions stands available to the 70,000 fans who fill the venue six times each fall to celebrate the Hawkeye spirit and cheer the young men in black and gold to victory.
Funding for the $86.8 million project will be generated from a variety of sources, most notably a capital campaign and the leasing of private suites, and indoor and outdoor club seating options inside the stadiums new press box.
The excitement surrounding the football program at the University of Iowa is arguably at an all-time high. Back-to-back-back appearances in New Years Day bowl games highlighted by the back-to-back victories in the state of Florida have signaled that Iowas determined march to return to a position of national prominence that matches that experienced in the early 1900s under head coaches Alden Knipe and John Chalmers, the early 1940s under the direction of Eddie Anderson, the 1950s under Forest Evashevski, and the 1980s and 1990s under Hayden Fry is well underway if not accomplished thanks to the leadership of current head coach Kirk Ferentz.
This final approval on the renovation of the home of the Hawkeyes is another indication of the heightened level of excitement that currently exists for the football program at the University of Iowa. It is also a clear and powerful statement of the Universitys commitment to intercollegiate athletics at the University of Iowa because truly all student-athletes who participate in all of the varsity sport programs offered at the UI for the next 30, 40 or 50 years or more will be directly impacted by the renovation project.
Friends and fans of the University of Iowa and the Iowa football program are invited to learn more about the renovation of Kinnick Stadium, the celebration of Kinnick Stadiums 75th anniversary and their options to become directly involved.
Crazy For Kinnick
Stadium Saturdays a Part of Student Experience for 75 Years
Their Saturday morning ritual is so enjoyable that the University of Iowa seniors are almost reluctant to leave it behind when they graduate next year.
Each fall for the past three years, roommates Yasmeen Khan of Davenport, Iowa, and Katie Ebbesen of DeKalb, Ill., have sprung out of bed before dawn on football Saturdays to gear up for a Hawkeye showdown at Kinnick Stadium. They wait outside the athletic facility chatting with security guards and reading magazines until the wrought-iron gates are opened, in an effort to secure front-row seats in the student section.
In fact, the tradition is so strong that the women, who met each other in the residence halls their first year at Iowa, are considering graduate schools close to Iowa City so that they can easily make the trek to Kinnick on game days.
“It was pretty amazing,” says Khan, of the first Iowa game she attended her first fall on campus. “I had never been to a Big Ten game and I noticed it was a big deal, so I went to check it out. I could feel something special in Kinnick Stadium. I didn’t know all the players then, so I was not as die-hard a fan as I am now, but
I could feel the support that the team got from the fans. I was drawn
into the aura.”
Thousands of UI
students, alumni, and friends have shared similar experiences at Kinnick
Stadium, which this fall is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
The revered home of Hawkeye football has been welcoming fans since 1929,
when a capacity crowd of 42,500 braved rainy, muddy conditions to attend
the stadium’s official dedication game. The contest resulted in
a 7-7 tie with the University of Illinois, but the crowd did not leave
Students had caught
wind of a new stadium at a Homecoming pep rally the previous year,
when the University athletic director announced—out
of the blue—that Iowa would get a new stadium within a year. Ground
broke the following spring and, sure enough, that fall the Hawkeyes hosted
their first contest in the new location—a 46-0 rout of Monmouth
College. The team previously competed on a field between the Iowa River
and the Main Library that accommodated about 22,000 spectators.
Since then, the
stadium has seen several increases in capacity and numerous facelifts,
including a $1.7 million overhaul in 1976, a complete renovation
of the north stands in 1983, and the installation of a natural grass
playing field in 1989. The stadium now holds 70,393—a capacity
envisioned by the stadium’s planners decades earlier.
According to an
Athletic Council document dated March 1, 1929, “the
front wall of the stands is only 20 feet from the sidelines, which means
that no seat will be so far away from the play as to miss the thrill
of the action.”
Dallas Clark, a former Hawkeye tight end from Livermore, Iowa, who was
selected in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Indianapolis
Colts, says the proximity of fans to the field benefits the players as
much as the fans.
“It’s a beautiful stadium with an awesome atmosphere. When
the players come down the stairs onto the field and hear the roar of
the fans get louder, that is the best feeling in the world,” he
says. “There is no better place to play in college football. It’s
a feeling I’ll never forget.”
Kirsten Frey (BBA ’91, MBA ’95, JD ’95), an adjunct
assistant professor in the UI Tippie College of Business, passed on grandstand
seating her first year as a UI undergraduate and instead opted to enjoy
the games from the grassy areas, often called “knotholes,” that
once anchored the northern corners of the stadium.
“I’d go with a bunch of my friends and we’d sit on
blankets. It was a blast. As far as I was concerned, going to games at
Kinnick was part of being a student at Iowa,” says Frey, a Spencer,
Iowa, native. “I’ve had season tickets all but two years
In addition to the
spectators who enjoy the action at Kinnick from the seats are those
who do so behind the scenes and even “on stage.”
Aaron Blau, a junior from Latimer, Iowa, is majoring in journalism and
sports studies and working in the UI Sports Information office. Although
he was able to attend an Iowa game during a visitation day his senior
year in high school, he now spends every game day in the press box, recording
tackles and keeping other statistics, or on the sidelines, reporting
“It’s definitely not the tailgating experience some students
have, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he says. “After
working here one week, I knew working in sports information and media
relations was what I wanted to do as a career.”
Mike Elgin, meanwhile, arrives at the stadium two hours before kickoff
and heads for the locker room. The junior from Bankston, Iowa, will be
the starting center for the Hawkeyes this fall.
“I remember my first time on the field as a player. I thought, ‘Oh
my god!’ The sea of fans in black and gold and the cheering—it
brings the players to a new level,” he says.
Students can take some credit for naming the historic stadium. Nile
Kinnick, the popular senior class president, honors student, and 1939
Heisman Trophy winner, died in 1943 when the plane he was piloting went
down in the Caribbean Sea during a Navy training mission.
In 1945, the student
council sponsored an unofficial vote on what to name what was then
known as Iowa Stadium. The ballot offered several
options, including Robert Jones Stadium (the University’s first
letter winner to die in World War II) and Memorial Stadium (after 14
UI athletes who had perished in the war). Among the write-in candidates
were Franklin D. Roosevelt Stadium, Ironmen Memorial Stadium, and Corn
Stadium. More than half of the nearly 2,000 votes cast favored Kinnick.
father resisted the effort to rename the stadium for his son, reasoning
that many died in the war. In 1972, however, the elder
Kinnick succumbed to public pressure and the University renamed the facility
To mark the building’s
anniversary, the University is planning an $87 million facelift slated
to begin this year. The renovation will
rebuild the press box and the stands in the south end zone, create a
grand entrance to the south, upgrade and expand restrooms, and widen
individual seats. Private donations and the leasing of private suites
and club seating in the new press box will fund the project.
One of Blau’s
assignments in Sports Information was to write a six-part series on
“The stadium has such a historic feel—just knowing that
Nile Kinnick played on the same field is incredible,” he says. “When
the renovation is done, it will benefit every fan. Parents should come
down and see it—the upgrades are not just for those in the luxury
boxes. I think Kinnick Stadium will be one of the best college football
stadiums—if not the best college football stadium—in the
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz also is looking forward to the upgrades.
“New stadiums are very nice, but to me there’s something
special about the history of Kinnick. The renovation will blend the best
of the new and the past—it will be the best of both worlds,” says
Ferentz, whose first gig at Iowa was as an assistant coach under former
Iowa head coach Hayden Fry. “Kinnick has a lot of charm and character.
It’s great when it’s empty, but it’s even better on
Khan says she and Ebbesen likely will host some sort of Kinnick anniversary
party at their apartment this fall, and you can count on them to be in
the front row of each home game.
“I will be a lifelong Hawkeye fan,” Khan says. “I
want to be an old lady wearing Hawkeye earrings.”
IOWA MAY DELAY STADIUM PROJECT
March 19, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Iowa City, Iowa - Upgrades to the University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye
Arena may be slowed down as university leaders steel for statewide budget cuts, according to
university President Sally Mason.
"We certainly haven't pulled any plugs yet, but we're moving very, very slowly," Mason said.
The U of I has a $47 million renovation of Carver-Hawkeye under way. That project includes
adding premium seating and a basketball practice area, as well as updating other parts of the
building by 2011. The university plans to spend $2 million to install a new drainage system and
artificial turf at Kinnick.
Projects would be paid for with private donations, which have been a little tougher to come by
during the national economic recession, Mason said.
Athletic Director Gary Barta said in late January that the Kinnick Stadium drainage system no
longer functioned and had to be replaced before the 2009 season. He said the money for the project could come out of the athletic department's $5 million reserves.
The sliding economy has reduced state revenue, which is expected to cut up to $75 million from the 2009-10 budgets of the state's public universities and schools for the deaf and blind. The Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the schools, has asked the leaders to devise plans for making the cuts.
The university may consider eliminating low-enrollment courses, consolidating academic
programs and reducing pay across the board, she said. Six task forces are working to come up with ideas to save money. (Des Moines Register)
September 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Iowa City, Iowa - The University of Iowa's marketing contract with Learfield Communications
will net the athletics department more than $114 million by 2026, according to documents supplied to the Cedar Rapids Gazette by the University of Iowa.
In 2009, Iowa officials renegotiated a multi-media contract with Hawkeye Sports Properties - a subsidiary of Learfield Communications - that was signed in 2006. The initial multi-media contract ran through 2018. The renegotiation included a clause that allowed Hawkeye Sports Properties to sell sponsorship naming rights to the floor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and the outdoor club level at Kinnick Stadium. Mediacom acquired those naming rights last winter.
Hawkeye Sports Properties will pay Iowa's athletics department $5.807 million this year as a guaranteed annual rights fee. That number grows to more than $8 million in the 2025-26 school year. Hawkeye Sports Properties then recoups that money plus its other expenses - such as salary costs for Iowa's broadcasting crew - through attracting corporate sponsorships, the newspaper said.
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta told the newspaper through Hawkeye Sports Properties, the school has 120 sponsorships.
Through the renegotiation, Iowa will earn more than $700,000 this calendar year and nearly $44 million more through 2026.
"The contract is such between the two of us that they have a responsibility to go out and solicit corporate sponsors, and we have final approval on anything they do," Barta said.
This summer Hawkeye Sports Properties negotiated a sponsorship deal with the Iowa Lottery netting $103,000. Hawkeye Sports Properties also worked recent sponsorship agreements that included naming rights with Iowa Farm Bureau (the America Needs Farmers northwest corner of Kinnick Stadium), Hy-Vee (the annual series with Nebraska) and the Iowa Corn Growers Association (the annual series with Iowa State).
Iowa's athletics department could make even more money if Hawkeye Sports Properties reaches a revenue share hurdle of $10.1 million in sponsorship sales this year. Hawkeye Sports Properties would receive an 18 percent commission on all sales above $10.1 million.
Klatt said Hawkeye Sports Properties previously exceeded revenue share hurdles when Iowa had a radio-only relationship. Iowa and Learfield have a long-standing radio relationship spanning about 30 years.