Mercedes-Benz Superdome, often referred to simply as the Superdome, is a domed sports and exhibition stadium located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It primarily serves as the home venue for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League, the home stadium for the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Bowl in college football.
Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis and the building opened as the Louisiana Superdome in 1975. Its steel frame covers a 13-acre expanse and the 273-foot dome is made of a lamellar multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet, making it the largest fixed domed structure in the world. It is adjacent to the Smoothie King Center.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome Stadium Capacity
The Superdome has a listed football seating capacity of 76,468 or 73,208 and a maximum basketball seating capacity of 73,432. However, published attendance figures from events such as the Super Bowl football game have exceeded 79,000. The basketball capacity does not reflect the NCAA’s new policy on arranging the basketball court on the 50-yard line on the football field, per 2009 NCAA policy.
The Superdome’s primary tenant is the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The team regularly draws capacity crowds. The NFL has hosted seven Super Bowls at the Superdome, most recently Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. The Superdome is scheduled to host its eighth Super Bowl in 2025. The 1976 Pro Bowl was held at the Superdome on Monday, January 26, 1976. It was the NFL’s 26th annual all-star game.
The BCS National Championship Game was played at the Superdome four times. The College Football Playoff semifinal game is played every three years in the stadium. Two other bowl games are also played there annually: the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl. The Superdome also hosts the Bayou Classic, a major regular-season game between two of the state’s historically black colleges and universities, Grambling State and Southern.
Home field Advantage
Since the Superdome’s reopening in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the increased success of the New Orleans Saints, the Superdome has developed a reputation for having a very strong home field advantage. While all domed stadiums possess this quality to some degree, the Superdome is known to be extremely loud during games, especially during offensive drives by the visiting team.
During a pregame interview before the Minnesota Vikings’ opening game of the 2010 NFL season against the Saints, Brett Favre, reflecting on the Vikings’ loss to the Saints in the 2009–10 NFC Championship Game, said of the Superdome: That was, by far, the most hostile environment I’ve ever been in. You couldn’t hear anything. It was during that loss that some of the Vikings players elected to wear earplugs, including Favre. It was the first game of the season that they had chosen to do so.
When the plaza level seats remained moveable, the capacity for baseball was 63,525 and the field size was as follows: 325 feet to both left field and right field, 365 feet to both left-center field and right-center field, 421 feet to center field, and 60 feet to the backstop. The bowl was reconfigured in a renovation from 2006–2011, which replaced the moveable seats with a pre-cast concrete deck and moved the seating closer to the field, creating 3,500 new seats in the lower bowl. This made the bowl more suitable for football, but less accommodating for baseball.
Major League Baseball exhibitions
The Minnesota Twins and the Houston Astros played an exhibition game on April 6, 1976. The New York Yankees played exhibition games at the Superdome in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. The Yankees hosted the Baltimore Orioles on March 15 and 16, 1980. 45,152 spectators watched the Yankees beat the Orioles 9–3 on March 15, 1980. The following day, 43,339 fans saw Floyd Rayford lead the Orioles to a 7–1 win over the Yankees.
Busch Challenge/Winn-Dixie Showdown
The Busch Challenge/Winn-Dixie Showdown was a college baseball tournament held in the Superdome from 1987 to 1999. LSU, Tulane and University of New Orleans played an in-state team and out-of-state teams from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas in the annual tournament. The in-state team was Louisiana-Lafayette.
The NCAA has hosted the Men’s Final Four at the Superdome five times in 1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, and 2012. The stadium hosted regional semifinals and finals in 1981 and 1990, as well as first- and second-round games in 1999 and 2001. The NBA’s New Orleans Jazz used the Superdome as their home court, from 1975 to 1979. In 1977, the Jazz set a then-record in attendance for an NBA game, with 35,077 watching the Jazz led by Pete Pistol Pete Maravich against the Philadelphia 76ers, led by fellow future Hall of Famer Julius Erving.
On October 14, 1975, the Dome hosted Muhammad Ali Appreciation Day. The Muhammad Temple of Islam 46 in New Orleans organized the activities, with Ali’s appearance as the day’s highlight. Speakers included Dr. Na’im Akbar, Wallace D. Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan. The Superdome hosted the September 15, 1978 fight some called the Ali rematch where Muhammad Ali won the world Heavyweight title for the third time by beating Leon Spinks in front of a crowd of 65,000. It was Ali’s last professional win.
The Superdome was scheduled to host a rugby union match on August 1, 2015 between English Premiership team Saracens and New Zealand’s Super Rugby team Crusaders. The match was organized by RugbyLaw, organizers of the National Rugby Football League. The match was cancelled, however, as USA Rugby, the governing body of the sport in the United States, refused to approve the artificial turf playing surface.
The first football match to be held in the Superdome, on September 5, 1976, pitted New Orleans local club teams, The Costa Rica Soccer Club and The Olympia Soccer Club. This match was immediately followed by the second soccer match to be held in the Superdome which pitted The New York Cosmos and the Dallas Tornado. The Brazilian star Pelé and Kyle Rote, Jr. led their respective teams.
The Superdome was renowned for hosting many of Mid-South Wrestling’s large, Blow Off events that were culminations of weeks or months of feuds and rivalries. Bill Watts was the promoter of this territory and gained much notoriety from promotion of his events in the Superdome. April 19, 1986 saw Jim Crockett Promotions host the first of three annual Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournaments.
In November 2019, phase one plans were approved by the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, commonly known as the Superdome Commission, for a $450 million renovation. The renovation, designed by Trahan Architects, will include atriums that will replace the current ramp system, improved concourses, and field-level end zone boxes. The first phase of work began January 2020 and includes installing alternative exits and constructing a large kitchen and food-service area.