The Lucas Oil Stadium is the home of NFL franchise the Indianapolis Colts. Unlike so many newer stadiums in the National Football League, this venue sits right in the downtown area of its city, Indianapolis. The Stadium is built just yards from the site it replaced, which was the old RCA Dome.
Soccer outfit the Indy Eleven also now play here, although there are plans for a new purpose-built stadium to be constructed for the United Soccer League team soon.
Never known under any other name, the rights to the stadium’s title were sold, even before it was built, to Lucas Oil Products. They paid some $122 million for a 20-year deal, a sum that has gone some way towards paying the initial $720 million construction cost.
While the futuristic-looking new stadiums now being built are fascinating in their own way, this one has a very different design which gives it a unique character. It has an insulated, brick-inlay façade and in that sense is somewhat like a larger modernised version of Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
History of the Lucas Oil Stadium
The roots of this stadium lie in the Colts’ old home field, the Hoosier Dome (later named the RCA Dome). The Colts had played there for some twenty-four seasons from 1984 to 2007.
The RCA Dome was essentially part of the Indiana Convention Centre. It had been agreed that, with a new plot found very close by for the Colts’ new home field, that this stadium would be demolished and the convention centre expanded.
The stadium was financed with combined funding from the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis and the Colts. Marion County also raised taxes on food, car rental, hotels and other areas to help to pay for what was seen as an important local project.
Architectural company HKS was given the contract to design the stadium and they came up with a great feature – the venue’s retractable roof and a large window at one end of the ground. This design allows both the Colts and the Indy Eleven to play their games either indoors or outdoors.
Finally, the Lucas Oil Stadium – as it became known following the major sponsorship deal struck by the owners – was opened for business in 2008 and the Colts have played there ever since.
After the Lucas Oil Stadium was opened, the Teflon-coated fibreglass roof on the RCA Dome was deflated, having previously been held up by air pressure. The Dome was then imploded in December of 2008, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
Important Facts and Stats
The Lucas Oil Stadium with its red-brown brick-trimmed exterior was designed to fit in with the aesthetic of the area and to match other great local sports venues. Some of its more important statistics and facts are:
- Opened: August 16, 2008. Work had begun on the project in September 2005.
- Initial Cost: $720 million, equivalent to some $870 million in 2020 money.
- Owner: The State of Indiana, via their Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority.
- Capacity: 67,000 for NFL games, expandable to 70,000 which is also the limit for basketball games.
- Playing Surface: Shaw Sports Momentum Pro, a synthetic surface. From its opening until 2018, the popular FieldTurf surface was used.
Major Events at the Lucas Oil Stadium
Super Bowl XLVI was held here in 2012 when the New York Giants beat New England Patriots 21-17. More than 41,000 were also in attendance for a 2013 International Champions Cup match between Chelsea and Inter Milan.
The stadium is also used for many annual events, such as:
- The Bands of America regionals
- The Drum Corps World Championships
- Monster Jam.
Some major gigs have also been hosted on huge world tours. Knoxville’s Kenny Chesney performed here in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015.
Other music acts who have performed in the stadium in front of crowds of up to 55,000 per night include:
- Tim McGraw
- One Direction
- Taylor Swift
- Camila Cabello
- Charlie XCX
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