The Texas Longhorns warm up before Baylor at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

BEVO BEAT Football

50 in 50: Facts and figures to know about Royal-Memorial Stadium before the spring game

Posted March 1st, 2017

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In less than 50 days, Texas football will play the 2017 spring football game in Royal-Memorial Stadium.

So here are some facts and figures to know about Texas’ home stadium.

It’s all in the names

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium has had several names. When the stadium opened in 1924 it was called War Memorial Stadium. This name lasted for 23 years. In 1948, the name was changed to Memorial Stadium, that lasted for nearly 30 years, until 1977 when it was changed to Texas Memorial Stadium. In 1995, the stadium, for the time being, settled on Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to honor wars, Texas and the most legendary coach in Texas football history.

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The big game

The Texas Longhorns celebrate defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 50-47 in a second overtime at Royal-Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Texas Longhorns celebrate defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 50-47 in a second overtime at Royal-Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Largest crowd to ever see the Longhorns play at Royal-Memorial Stadium was last fall against Notre Dame when 102,315 people saw the Longhorns win. This helped make the 2016 season the seventh most attended season in program history. It also is a big reason why alcohol sales went through the roof for this game. The 50-47 double overtime win also was the biggest victory of the year and one of the best in the Charlie Strong era.

The growing stadium

The Texas Longhorns huddle prior to their game against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Texas Longhorns huddle prior to their game against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. (Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

When the stadium opened in the 1920s, the seating capacity was around 27, 000. Two years later, it went to about 40,500. Since 2009, the capacity has been a little above 100,000 people. The 2009 expansion to the stadium bumped the capacity numbers by about 6,000.

The top season

10/23/2010 - Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN - UT defensive end Eddie Jones tries to fire up the fans during the first half of the Iowa State game at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday Oct. 23, 2010.
UT defensive end Eddie Jones tries to fire up the fans during the first half of the Iowa State game at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday Oct. 23, 2010. (Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

More Longhorn fans saw Texas play at home in 2010 than any season in program history. That is also, probably, the beginning of the end for the Mack Brown era as the Longhorns went 5-7, losing at home five times. The final number was 704,580 people who saw the Longhorns play this year in Austin. However, helping the cause is Texas playing seven home games. In fact, the top three seasons all came when seven home games were played, because, you know, math. Those seasons were: 2010, 2008 and 2006.

The law of averages

05 SEPTEMBER 2009- AMERICAN-STATESMAN/RODOLFO GONZALEZ- University of Texas' #8, Jordan Shipley races to the end zone for a second quarter touchdown catch against the University of Louisiana Monroe during first half action held at Darrell K Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, September 5, 2009.
University of Texas’ #8, Jordan Shipley races to the end zone for a second quarter touchdown catch against the University of Louisiana Monroe during first half action held at Darrell K Royal -Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, September 5, 2009. (Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman)

While 2010 saw the most people, it was not the top by average. The highest average attendance for any football season came in 2009, a much, much better season and one in which Texas finished in the BCS Championship Game. Texas’ average attendance that year was 101,175 people. This also came after a stadium expansion, as well as the team entering the year with a Heisman candidate (Colt McCoy), a top 10 AP ranking (No. 2 in the land) and coming off a bowl win over Ohio State.

2005

Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman Ramonce Taylor, left, and Jamaal Charles sing the
Ramonce Taylor, left, and Jamaal Charles sing the “Eyes of Texas” following their 51-10 win over Rice on Saturday, September 17, 2005. (Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman)

The best season of football under Mack Brown, what were the attendance numbers you might ask? The stadium capacity in 2005 was a little above 80,000 (80,092), but the average attendance was  83,333. I’m sure there’s some type of math problem that can be designed to show that proportionally this season tops 2009. But this all about raw attendance numbers, and the at the end of the day, there were 20,000 less seats in the stadium 12 years ago.

1969

Hand out photo of the University of Texas football team, circa 1969. Fourteen members of that team are already in UT's Hall of Honor. Tight end Randy Peschel will become the 15th.
Hand out photo of the University of Texas football team, circa 1969. Fourteen members of that team are already in UT’s Hall of Honor. Tight end Randy Peschel will become the 15th.

OK, so you know how old school Texas fans love to talk about how great the old days were? Well, next time one them bashes Texas fans who are millennials, remind them that back in 1969, Texas fans didn’t sell out Memorial Stadium.

(Gasps).

The capacity number was 66,397 in 1969. And not once was there a sellout at the stadium. In fact, the final home game of that season against TCU yielded just 51,000 fans! Texas destroyed TCU 69-7 that day, and there wasn’t even an ACL Fest or Formula One race to deal with, so no excuses old-school Texas fans.

The average attendance that season was 59,240 people, more than 7,000 below a sellout. The biggest crowd was 65,200 people to watch Texas wallop Texas Tech 49-7.

*All attendance statistics are from the University of Texas athletics website. 

 

 

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