One of the true treasures in American Sports, the historic Yale Bowl celebtarted its 80th birthday in 1994. The playing field was named the Class of 1954 after the generous gifts to support the renovation. This magnificent facility, which opened on November 21, 1914, for the Yale-Harvard game, has been the site of 569 Bulldog football games (entering the 2009 season), two seasons of NFL action, and was the main venue for the 1995 Special Olympic World Games.
The Bowl is 930 feet long and 750 feet wide, covering 12 1/2 acres. More than 320,000 cubic feet of earth was moved to form the bowl and the stadium now contains 22,000 cubic yards of concrete and 470 tons of steel. The capacity of the bowl is 64,269 (it was 70,869 before alterations) and every seat has an unobstructed view of the playing field.
The Bowl has held crowds of over 70,000 on 20 occasions, the most recent on November 19, 1983, for the 100th playing of the Yale-Harvard Game. The largest crowd to attend a Yale game at the Bowl was 80,000 for the Army game on November 3, 1923. The crowd of 73,300 which attended the Yale-Harvard showdown in 1981 was the largest at a sporting event in New England in more than 50 years.
The NFL's New York Giants and Detroit Lions brought professional footbal to the Bowl for their historic first meeting in 1960. The Giants, who played the New York Jets in a number of memorable exhibition contests during the 70's, used the Bowl as their home field in 1973 and 1974 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated.
The design for the Yale Bowl was proposed by Charles A. Ferry '71 as a replacement for Yale Field, the 33,000-seat home of the team since 1884. Work began on the project in August, 1913, with 145 men working for the Sperry Engineering Company of New Haven. The portals were constructed first, then the excavation began. Once the 30-foot walls were formed to support the top rows of seats, the nearly 30 miles of wooden-backed seats were put in place. The cost of the final product $750,000. The large scoreboard was addes in 1958, while the press box was erected in 1986.
The day after the 1993 season came to an end, the Yale Bowl playing surface got a face lift, which included new irrigation and drainage systems. With the World Games around the corner and international soccer contests and other special events being hosted on a regular basis, the Bowl is certainly among the most significant venues in the East.
Source: Yale University Sports Information Office