In 1897, the city of Pasadena purchased ten acres of land located in the Arroyo Seco area of Pasadena, CA. This site turned out to be exactly what the Tournament of Roses Association needed. In 1921, it was decided that building should commence, and the structure was built with the south end open, giving the stadium a “horseshoe” shape. The design of the stadium was intended to accommodate as many patrons as possible, sitting close to the action. The first portion of the stadium was completed for less money than had been budgeted, and the seating capacity at the time was 57,000.
The stadium was given the name “Rose Bowl” by a police reporter named Harlan W. Hall, who had the Yale Bowl in mind when thinking of how an expanded structure would look.
On October 28, 1922 the first football game was played in the Rose Bowl with the University of California Bears battling the University of Southern California Trojans. The Rose Bowl was officially dedicated on January 1, 1923. The south end of the stadium was closed in 1929, giving the structure its famous, sight line-enhancing elliptical shape. With this addition, the capacity was increased to 76,000. The current official seating capacity is 92,542.
The Rose Bowl is known mainly for the New Year’s Day football game, but other events have called on the Rose Bowl to host their events. In addition to hosting five NFL Super Bowl Games, the 1994 Men’s World Cup, and the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the Rose Bowl Stadium is home to UCLA football, Fourth of July celebrations, concerts, religious services, and the world’s largest flea market (R.G. Canning). The Rose Bowl has been and will continue to be the model for stadiums throughout the nation due to the stadium’s continued emphasis on patron comfort, event scheduling and community involvement.