Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium is a multi-purpose sports stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The stadium celebrated its grand opening on August 24, 2008, in a game against the Buffalo Bills and its ribbon-cutting ceremony August 16, 2008. It replaced the RCA Dome as the home field of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The stadium was built to accommodate for the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.

HKS, Inc. is the architectural firm responsible for the stadium’s design, with Walter P Moore working as the Structural Engineer of Record. The stadium features a retractable roof and window wall, thus allowing the Colts to play both indoors and outdoors. The surface is FieldTurf. The elements of kinetic architecture will provide for quick conversion of the facility to accommodate a variety of events.

On February 28, 2006, Indiana native Forrest Lucas announced that his company, Lucas Oil, had purchased the naming rights for $121 million over 20 years.

The retro look to the new stadium is a result of Indianapolis's liking towards the historic fieldhouse appearance of sports venues from decades ago.Conseco Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Pepsi Coliseum are other examples of large sports venues (both new and old) around the city with the same type of design.


Seating capacity for football games is 63,000; an increase of more than 5,000 over the RCA Dome. For football, the stadium can be expanded to a capacity of 70,000 for large events, such as the Super Bowl. The stadium's basketball configuration can exceed the 70,000 minimum seating capacity required to host the NCAA Final Four. Unlike most basketball contests played in dome facilities, the court at Lucas Oil Stadium will be placed in the center of the facility instead of one of the end zones.

Lucas Oil Stadium offers 137 luxury suites, including 8 field suites, as well as 12 super suites. In addition, the Quarterback Suite offers 200 seats for a unique shared suite experience.

The stadium contains two massive Daktronics high definition scoreboards, each one 97 feet (30 m) wide and 53 feet (16 m) tall, which are situated in the northwest and southeast corners of the stadium

Mechanized retractable roof

Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof designed by Uni-Systems that divides lengthwise into two retractable panels, with each half sliding down the sloping roof of the stadium into the open position. The stadium roof is gabled, with the peak running down the center of the field, paralleling the sidelines. A cable drum drive system drives the retractable roof panels up and down the sloped track. Rather than dragging the 1½" diameter galvanized cables across the fixed roof, this system’s patented design lays the roof cable down, and then picks it back up. In nine minutes, the roof panels will simultaneously move to the open position at the touch of a button. To guard the stadium’s interior from weather conditions the roof is designed with a large cap that will run the length of a sealed overlap between the parting roof panels. Just beneath the sealed overlap is a large trough, finalizing the retractable roof’s layers of protection. It is the only retractable roof in the country with two moving panels that will meet in a peak above the center of the stadium. The roof boasts the largest opening—a 4.5-acre (1.8 ha) hole to the sky—of all current and planned NFL stadiums with retractable roofs.

The Lucas Oil Stadium retractable roof system is operated by 32 cables, each 1½” in diameter, with galvanized right and left hand lay. They were manufactured specifically for this project by Wire Rope Corporation of America and furnished by The Tway Company Inc. located in Indianapolis. The lengths vary from 232’6” to 245’ and include a Johnson Wedge Socket installed on one end that terminates the cables at the roof peak 288’ above the stadium floor.

The home team determines if roof is to be opened or closed 90 minutes before kickoff. The roof remains open unless precipitation or lightning is within the vicinity of the stadium, the temperature is below 40°F, or wind gusts are greater than 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), in which case the roof is automatically closed. Once the roof is closed, it may not be reopened.

"Lucas Oil Stadium's retractable roof was open for the first regular season game, but closed on the second because of the possibility of thunderstorms," said Pete Ward, Colts senior executive vice president. The new stadium is not waterproof, he said. The field has no drainage and speakers, scoreboards and other electronic equipment are exposed, so the Capital Improvement Board closely monitors pregame weather. Because there was a 30 percent possibility of "pop-up" storms and the roof requires 12 minutes to close, the decision was made at 2:30 to close the door.

Moveable window wall

A large windowed gate at one end of the stadium allows additional light while closed and allows for a more open feel while open. It was the largest movable glass wall in the world until Cowboys Stadium was completed.The transportable window wall is 244 feet (74 m) by 88 feet (27 m), and composed of six 88 ft (27 m) × 38 ft (12 m) glass-clad panels. Each panel rides on a steel rail while the wall opens and closes, and is supported by two hardened steel wheels. The window separates at the center, with three panels amassed on each side when in the open position. The six wall panels move simultaneously during opening and closing in only six minutes. Window seals were installed, fully shielding spectators from any weather conditions. When in the closed position, the perimeter of each wall panel is sealed with rain-tight, air-tight seals.

The north retractable window offers a spectacular view of downtown Indianapolis during games, concerts and other events due to the stadium's angled position on the city block.

Gate sponsorship

The gates leading into Lucas Oil Stadium are sponsored by four different companies. The concourse area on the ground floor past their respective gates are heavily decorated by their sponsors.


It was announced on August 8, 2006 that Drum Corps International would move its corporate offices to Indianapolis and that the DCI World Championships would be the inaugural event for the stadium, to be held at Lucas Oil Stadium every year at least through 2018. However, on April 4, 2008, it was announced that the stadium would not be complete in time, so the event was moved to Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indiana University for 2008, and was held for the first time at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2009.

The first games ever to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium occurred on August 22, 2008 and were part of the PeyBack Classic, featuring Indiana High School Football games played between Noblesville High School and Fishers High School in Game 1, followed by New Palestine High School and Whiteland Community High School in Game 2. On November 26, 2008, Cardinal Ritter High School became the first high school to win a state championship on the field, beating Sheridan High School 34-27 for the class A state title.

Lucas Oil Stadium and the city of Indianapolis made a bid to host Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. On May 20, 2008, the bid was successful, defeating Houston, Texas and Glendale, Arizona for that right. The stadium is also host to the annual NFL Scouting Combine in February.

The 2008 NFL season featured the first NBC Sunday Night Football game of the season in the stadium, as the Colts faced the Chicago Bears in a rematch of Super Bowl XLI. The Colts lost the game 29-13. Indianapolis won their first 2 NFL playoff games held at Lucas Oil Stadium, beating the Baltimore Ravens 20-3 in a 2009 AFC divisional playoff and the New York Jets 30-17 in the 2009 AFC Championship Game to reach Super Bowl XLIV.

In addition to professional football games, the stadium hosted the semifinal and final rounds of the Men's Final Four in 2010, with the Women's Final Four scheduled to be hosted there in 2016. Historically, Indianapolis has been a popular choice for the Final Four. The NCAA has their headquarters there, and the event comes on a five-year rotation. The Big Ten Conference will also play the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011.

Other events include the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the Indiana Marching Band State Finals, both major events for the city in Marching Band competitions. The Drum Corps International World Championships are scheduled to be held at the site every year through the 2018 season (with a break in 2013 for another event scheduled for the same weekend), and the Circle City Classic that is an annual American football game featuring two historically black colleges/universities (HBCUs) that is held in October.

On September 13, 2008, country music singer Kenny Chesney held the first public concert at the stadium.

Annual events
  • Drum Corps International World Championships
  • Bands of America Grand National Championships
  • Home games for the Indianapolis Colts
  • Circle City Classic
  • IHSAA Indiana State football championships
  • ISSMA band state finals
Notable past events
  • NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Finals (April 2009)
  • NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four (April 2010)
Notable future events
  • Big Ten Football Championship Game (2011)
  • Super Bowl XLVI (February 5, 2012)
  • NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four (April 2015)
  • NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four (2016)

Groundbreaking for the stadium took place on September 20, 2005. It was originally referred to as Indiana Stadium until Lucas Oil purchased the naming rights. The total cost of Lucas Oil Stadium was $720 million. The stadium is being financed with funds raised by the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis, with the Indianapolis Colts providing $100 million. Marion County has raised taxes for food and beverage sales, auto excise taxes, innkeeper's taxes and admission taxes for its share of the costs. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in food and beverage taxes in the eight surrounding doughnut counties (with the exception of Morgan County) and the sale of Colts license plates.

Each county held a vote among its commissioners, to decide whether to levy the 1% food and beverage tax proposed by Marion County. Sweetening the deal for the doughnut counties was the fact that Marion County had offered to split the extra revenue with each of them according to their individual takes. Morgan County was the only county to turn down the offer, yet in a later vote, it levied its own 1% tax - thus keeping all of its additional generated revenue.


In August 2006, a problem was discovered concerning operating costs of the new stadium. The city's Capital Improvement Board estimates that the new stadium could cost an additional $10 million more a year to operate than the RCA Dome.

The CIB is anticipating a $20 million operating deficit for Lucas Oil Stadium in 2009. Anticipated expenses are $27.7 million—far outstripping the $7.7 million CIB expects to collect from its share of revenue from stadium events. There is concern over the long-standing implications due to low rent payments by the Colts and the high percentage of revenue the Colts keep.


In November 2009, local TV station WTHR-TV revealed health code violations at the stadium's restaurants including mouse droppings and live mice, contaminated food, food at improper temperatures, and repeated usage of disposable containers.

Construction pictures
  • Early phases of construction

  • Satellite image

  • Mid-stage of construction

Building Activity

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