Ford Field
Ford Field is an indoor American football stadium located in Detroit, Michigan, USA that is the current home field of the NFL's Detroit Lions. It is across the street from Comerica Park, the home field of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. It regularly seats 65,000, though it is expandable up to 70,000 for football and 80,000 for basketball. The naming rights were paid for by Ford at $40 million over 20 years; the Ford family (including Lions owner William Clay Ford, Sr.) holds a controlling interest in the company.

Ford Field was originally planned to be an outdoor stadium, simultaneously with Comerica Park, which opened in April 2000, as part of a public project to replace Tiger Stadium and the Pontiac Silverdome. Ford Field was constructed after Comerica Park, opening in 2002. It cost an estimated $430 million to build, financed largely through private money, public money, and the sale of the naming rights. The stadium's design incorporates a six-story former Hudson's warehouse, which was constructed in the 1920s. Hammes Company, a real estate development company in Middleton, Wisconsin, developed the new stadium, as well as the warehouse. The presence of the warehouse allows for a seating arrangement that was unique among professional American football stadiums at the time of Ford Field's opening. The majority of suites at Ford Field are located in the Hudson Warehouse along the stadium's southern sideline, as are the lounges that serve the premium club seats on that side of the field. The bulk of the grandstand seats are located along the northern sideline and both endlines, with gaps in the stadium's upper half at the southwest and southeast corners. The upper deck on the stadium's northern sideline also contains one level of suites and a smaller section of club seating. A similar design was implemented at the renovated Soldier Field, albeit with the use of a new structure (as opposed to an existing building) to house four levels of suites. Unlike most indoor stadiums, Ford Field allows a large amount of natural light to reach the FieldTurf field, thanks to immense skylights and large glass windows at the open corners. The windows along the ceiling are frosted to mimic the automotive factories that are prevalent in Metro Detroit. The southwest corner provides the seating bowl and concourse with sunlight year-round and also offers fans a view of downtown Detroit. To prevent the stadium from becoming an overly imposing presence in the Detroit skyline, the playing field and lower bowl (100 level) were set below street level, similar to the design at adjacent Comerica Park. Ford Field is one of the few venues in the NFL that has end zones in the east and the west (the others being Arrowhead Stadium, Sun Life Stadium, the Georgia Dome and Cleveland Browns Stadium). The NFL has a rule against this type of construction, due to the sunlight which can be a major distraction to the players on the field. The NFL had to give permission for the east/west end-zone construction, because the Hudson's warehouse would have required alterations otherwise. The natural light is not a distraction to the players in a day game, because the light only reaches as far as the sidelines, leaving the field still properly lit with the combination of artificial stadium lighting and sunlight.

Major events
Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006 as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 21”“10 to win their 5th Super Bowl championship in front of 68,206 in attendance. It also marked the final game in the 13-year career of Detroit native and 10-year Steelers running back, Jerome Bettis. Madonna played to a sold-out Ford Field on November 18, 2008, as part of her record-breaking Sticky and Sweet Tour. On April 1, 2007, Ford Field hosted World Wrestling Entertainment's WrestleMania 23. This event set a Ford Field attendance record of 80,103. It was the first WrestleMania held in the Detroit area since 93,173 fans set a world indoor attendance record at the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III in 1987. The stadium is home to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl featuring a top Mid-American Conference team and a Big Ten Conference team. It has also hosted the annual Mid-American Conference Championship Game since 2004. On December 13, 2003, Ford Field hosted the largest crowd ever to attend a basketball game up to that time, as 78,129 people packed the stadium for the Basketbowl, where the University of Kentucky defeated Michigan State University, 79”“74. The University of Detroit Mercy and Ford Field hosted the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament regional semifinal and final games (March 28 and 30, 2008), hosted the 2009 Final Four (April 4 and 6, 2009), and the 2010 Frozen Four (April 8 and 10, 2010). For the 2008 NCAA Basketball tournament, the court was placed in the center of the football field rather than in an end of the stadium. This was the first time this configuration was used for NCAA Tournament play with the new 70,000 seat capacity rule in effect. The MHSAA Football Finals take place on Thanksgiving weekend, typically drawing over 60,000 fans. The stadium is also used each fall to host the MCBA finals, where Michigan high school marching bands compete to be the best in the state. Ford Field has been the site of several neutral-site regular season college football games, including Michigan State vs. Florida Atlantic in 2010 and Western Michigan vs. Illinois in 2008. On December 13, 2010, the Minnesota Vikings played a home game at Ford Field against the New York Giants after the Metrodome's inflatable roof collapsed due to a rip in the roofing material caused by heavy snow accumulation. The roof failure forced the already postponed game to be moved elsewhere and after deliberations the NFL chose Ford Field. It was the first ever regular-season Monday night game in Ford Field. Field Painter Paul Kurdi had to paint the "Norsman" on the center of the Lions home field to ensure swift event assurance for the Football game to feel like Minnesota. The Lions last played at home on Monday Night Football in 2001 at the Pontiac Silverdome. Kid Rock held his 40th birthday party at Ford "40" Field to kick off the tour of his new album Born Free on January 15, 2011. Ford Field will host two group stage matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament on June 7, 2011. Panama will play Guadeloupe in the first match, and the United States will play Canada in the second match.

Photo gallery

References and further reading
  • Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1891143247.

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