Stanford Stadium: Iconic Venue for Football and Major Events


Stanford Stadium, located in Palo Alto, California, has been the home of Stanford Cardinal football since 1921. The stadium has a seating capacity of 50,424 and features a natural grass field.

Key Points

  • Stanford Stadium is an iconic college football venue in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to the Stanford Cardinal
  • The stadium has undergone renovations to improve seating, add video boards, and enhance the fan experience
  • Stanford Stadium has also hosted Olympic soccer, World Cup matches, and Super Bowl XIX

A Historic Venue

Stanford Stadium was built in just 4 months back in 1921, with an original seating capacity of 60,000. The stadium was funded by alumni donations and featured an innovative design for its time:

  • Built into an earthen berm to reduce costs and provide seismic stability
  • The excavated dirt was used to create the baseball field now known as Sunken Diamond
  • An early example of a bowl-shaped stadium design

Over the years, Stanford Stadium has undergone several renovations and upgrades. The most significant renovation occurred in 2005-2006, which reduced seating capacity to 50,000 but greatly enhanced the fan experience:

  • New aluminum seating throughout the stadium
  • Improved sightlines
  • Installation of two high-definition video boards
  • New concession stands and restrooms

Hosting Major Events

In addition to being the home of Stanford football, the stadium has hosted several major sporting events over the years:

  • Venue for Olympic soccer matches during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
  • Hosted World Cup matches in 1994 (men’s) and 1999 (women’s)
  • Site of Super Bowl XIX between the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins in 1985

The Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium was a landmark event that spurred several innovations due to the limitations of the older stadium at the time:

  • First Super Bowl to have abundant corporate tents and hospitality venues
  • Introduced extensive stadium decor to spruce up the venue
  • First to provide seat cushions to every spectator

Gameday Experience

Attending a Stanford football game at the stadium offers a classic college gameday experience. The stadium is known for its beautiful setting amidst the Stanford campus and tree-lined hills. Other gameday traditions include:

  • Tailgating in the nearby fields and parking lots
  • Performances by the lively Stanford Band
  • The team entering the field by running out from the locker room through an arc of spectators

Stanford Stadium is accessible by public transportation, with shuttle buses connecting from nearby Caltrain stations on gameday. On-site parking is limited, so public transit or ridesharing is encouraged.

A Bay Area Icon

For nearly a century, Stanford Stadium has been a prominent fixture in Bay Area sports. Some notable facts and figures:

  • The stadium was built in just 4 months in 1921
  • It was the site of Herbert Hoover’s acceptance of the 1928 Republican presidential nomination
  • Stanford Stadium has hosted college football, Olympics, World Cup, and Super Bowl events
  • The venue is known for its stunning setting in Palo Alto

The stadium is a point of pride for Stanford University and has been the scene of many memorable moments in Cardinal football history. From its founding to today, Stanford Stadium remains an iconic sporting venue in the San Francisco Bay Area.


What is the seating capacity of Stanford Stadium?

The current seating capacity of Stanford Stadium is 50,424. The capacity was reduced from the original 60,000 during renovations in 2005-2006 to provide more comfortable seating and improved amenities.

What major events has Stanford Stadium hosted?

Stanford Stadium has been the venue for Olympic soccer in 1984, World Cup matches in 1994 and 1999, and Super Bowl XIX in 1985. It is also the home stadium for Stanford Cardinal college football.

Can you tailgate at Stanford football games?

Yes, tailgating is permitted in designated areas near the stadium before Stanford football games. Fans often gather in the nearby fields and parking lots to socialize and get ready for the game.

How do you get to Stanford Stadium on gameday?

Stanford Stadium is accessible via public transportation on gamedays. Special shuttle buses run from the nearby Palo Alto and Stanford Caltrain stations to the stadium. Driving and parking on-site is limited, so using transit, rideshares or walking is recommended.

What is the playing surface at Stanford Stadium?

Stanford Stadium features a natural grass playing field. The field has a drainage system and is well-maintained to provide excellent footing and performance for football games.


About the author

Krystal Collins is deeply immersed in the San Francisco community, embracing its vibrant culture and adventurous spirit. As an active participant in the city’s diverse neighborhoods and outdoor scene, she brings authoritative insights into San Francisco’s rich cultural heritage, lively parks, scenic beaches, and distinct neighborhoods. Her first-hand experiences with transportation, local dining, and community events provide her with an authentic understanding of daily life in the city.