What’s the oldest NFL stadium?

Soldier Field

The oldest NFL stadium is Soldier Field, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, on the Near South Side lies a multi-use stadium known as Soldier Field.

The stadium, which was first used in 1924, has hosted the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer (MLS) since 1998 and the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) since 1971. With a 61,500 football capacity, Soldier Field is the NFL’s tiniest venue. The oldest stadium in the NFL and MLS is Soldier Field.

The interior of the stadium was reconstructed as part of a significant remodeling project in 2002, modernizing the building but reducing its seating capacity, ultimately leading to its delisting as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

In the past, a number of other sports teams have called Soldier Field their home, including the University of Notre Dame football club and the NFL’s Chicago Cardinals.

It served as the site of the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999, and numerous CONCACAF Gold Cup triumphs. It hosted the Special Olympics’ first World Games in 1968 and its second World Games in 1970. Large gatherings including speeches by Amelia Earhart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. have also occurred on other significant occasions.

On December 3, 1919, Chicago-based architectural firm Holabird & Roche was chosen to design the stadium, which broke ground on August 11, 1922. The stadium cost $13 million to construct (equivalent to $207 million in 2021), a large sum for a sporting venue at that time (in comparison, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum had cost less than US$1 million in 1923 dollars).

On October 9, 1924, the 53rd anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the stadium was officially dedicated as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, although it had hosted a few events before then, including a field day for Chicago police officers on September 6, and the stadium’s first football game, between Louisville Male High School and Austin Community Academy High School, on October 4. On November 22, the stadium hosted its first college football game, in which Notre Dame defeated Northwestern University 13-6.

On November 11, 1925, the stadium’s name was changed to Soldier Field, in dedication to U.S. soldiers who had died in combat during World War I. Its formal rededication as Soldier Field was held during the 29th annual playing of the Army–Navy Game on November 27, 1926. Several months earlier, in June 1926, the stadium hosted several events during the 28th International Eucharistic Congress.

The stadium’s design is in the Neoclassical style, with Doric columns rising above the East and West entrances. In its earliest configuration, Soldier Field was capable of seating 74,280 spectators, and was in the shape of a U. Additional seating could be added along the interior field, upper promenades, and on the large, open field and terrace beyond the north endzone, bringing the seating capacity to over 100,000.