Ford Field: RIT’s Biggest Stage in the University’s Athletic History
Detroit stadium has hosted a Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and WrestleMania
April 7, 2010
by Bob Finnerty
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Frank Ritter Ice Arena seating capacity on the RIT campus: 2,100.
Ford Field capacity in downtown Detroit: 80,000.
When the Rochester Institute of Technology men’s hockey team takes the ice at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the NCAA Frozen Four, it will be shattering Tiger athletic attendance records. Nearly 40,000 fans are expected to fill Ford Field, reconfigured for hockey for the first time. RIT’s largest sporting event in university history took place this past October when 7,421 Tiger fans packed the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester for a game during Brick City Homecoming.
NCAA officials are promising fans they will have a good view of the national semifinal game versus the University of Wisconsin in the cavernous football stadium, home to the Detroit Lions.
“We have spent a lot of time looking to make sure this championship is true to the integrity of what the Frozen Four means to the four teams playing in it, and all the student athletes,” Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions president, told The Detroit News. “We wanted to make sure this was a great championship, and part of that is making sure we have great sightlines, and we’re going to have that.”
Nice viewing, but will it be loud? Challenge to the Corner Crew: We can’t hear you …!
Not only are the Tigers making school history by playing in the Frozen Four for the first time, but also they will be a part of NCAA history with the largest hockey crowds ever for the championship weekend.
Ford Field opened in 2002 at a construction cost of $430 million. By comparison, it took $25 million to build the Gordon Field House, which opened in 2004.
Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL (Pittsburgh Steelers victory over the Seattle Seahawks) and last year’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four (North Carolina, champion). The stadium’s largest event: 80,103 fans for the World Wrestling Entertainment’s “WrestleMania” in 2007.
Ford Field, 325 miles from Ritter Arena…and home to Detroit’s new Tigers for a memorable weekend.