Sanford Stadium is home to the
University Georgia Bulldogs, however, fans from around the world may
not know that it is a football stadium. How could this be you
ask? Sanford Stadium played host to the 1996 Olympic Games for
the medal round of the finals in soccer which was watched by over
three billion people worldwide. But for those who are passionate
about their football in Athens (Georgia that is) Sanford is home to
one of the most exciting stadiums in college football. With 92,746 seats
filled to capacity every game, one of the largest on campus stadium in
the country provides a comforting environment for the Bulldogs and a
frightening experience for first time visitors.
Football has been a part of UGA since 1892, when the team played at Herty Field. In 1911, Georgia President, Dr. Steadman V. Stanford, moved
the Bulldogs games from Herty Field to a centralized location on
campus that was named Stanford Field. Georgia's rival with Georgia
Tech in the 1920s led to a new stadium being constructed for the team.
These rival games were played at Georgia Tech's home, Grant Field
because Stanford Field was not large enough. UGA wanted a stadium that
would rival Grant Field, so they began raising money for construction, led
by Dr. Stanford. Built at a cost of $360,000 Stanford Stadium opened
on October 12, 1929 when Georgia played Yale before 30,000 fans.
Perhaps the trademark of the stadium are its two most recognizable
features, Sanford Field’s famous hedges surrounding
the field and their mascot Uga, a white bulldog. The hedges have
enclosed the field since 1929 and games are often referred to
being played "Between the Hedges." Uga, the English bulldog has
been the mascot of Georgia since 1956 and is present at every
home game. Deceased Ugas are interred in a mausoleum at the
southwest corner of Sanford Stadium.
The enormous home
field advantage has not come cheap over the years, with an estimated
$71 million price tag over the years. There have been six major
expansions over the years in 1949, '64, '67, '81, '91 and 2003. These
expansions enclosed Stanford Stadium, added an upper deck and also
suites. The latest addition to Sanford Stadium was added before
the 2011 season when a new 36 feet by 73 feet HD
video/scoreboard was added. The improvements are definitely
worth the price as Sanford Stadium has finished in the top seven in
attendance 21 of the past 24 years. With the continued success of the
Bulldogs over the past few years, as well as a schedule that is
consistently filled with national contenders, these attendance figures
show no sign of letting up.