NRG Stadium

NRG Stadium
Former names Reliant Stadium (2002–2013)
Address 1 NRG Parkway
Location Houston, Texas
Coordinates 29°41′5″N 95°24′39″W / 29.68472°N 95.41083°W / 29.68472; -95.41083Coordinates: 29°41′5″N 95°24′39″W / 29.68472°N 95.41083°W / 29.68472; -95.41083
Public transit Reliant Park
Owner Harris County
Operator SMG World
Executive suites 196
Capacity 71,795[1] (expandable to 80,000 for concerts)
Record attendance 80,020 – George StraitThe Cowboy Rides Away Tour, March 17, 2013[2]
Surface UBU Sports Speed Series S5-M[3]
Broke ground March 9, 2000
Opened August 24, 2002
Construction cost US$352 million
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)
Houston Stadium Consultants (Architect-of-Record) a joint venture with Lockwood Andrews Newnam and Hermes Architects.
Structural engineer Walter P Moore Engineers and Consultants
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[4]
General contractor Manhattan/Beers (a joint venture)
Houston Texans (NFL) (2002–present)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (2003present)
Texas Bowl (NCAA) (2006–present)
Houston Cougars (NCAA) (2013)

NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) is a multi-purpose stadium, in Houston, Texas, United States. NRG Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,795, a total area of 1,900,000 square feet (180,000 m2) with a 97,000 sq ft (9,000 m2) playing surface.

The stadium is the home of the National Football League's Houston Texans, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Texas Bowl, host to many international soccer matches for the USA National Soccer Team, and other events. The stadium served as the host facility for Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004 and WrestleMania XXV on April 5, 2009.

NRG Stadium is part of a collection of venues (including the Astrodome), which are collectively called NRG Park. The entire complex is named for NRG Energy under a 32-year, US$300 million naming rights deal in 2000.

The stadium was constructed at the cost of $352 million.[5][6] NRG Stadium is the first facility in the NFL to have a retractable roof.[7]

NRG Stadium will host Super Bowl LI in 2017.[8] It also hosted all 10 of the University Interscholastic League's Texas high school football championship games at the conclusion of the 2015 season.


The Houston NFL Holdings group came to Populous (then HOK Sport) to begin the schematic design for the first-ever NFL retractable roof football stadium in 1997. The intention was to create a football stadium to replace the Astrodome that would operate like an open-air facility but have the intimacy and comfort of an indoor arena. With the design for football and the square footage requirements of the rodeo, the building was designed in the 1,900,000-square-foot (180,000 m2) range.[6] Groundbreaking for the stadium was on March 9, 2000 and the building was officially topped off in October 2001.[9] The stadium opened on August 24, 2002, with a preseason game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans which the Dolphins won 24–3.[10] The stadium hosted its first regular season NFL football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans on September 8, 2002.[11] Construction was completed in 30 months.[12] The first rodeo was held in the stadium in February 2003.[9]

During a Texans preseason game on August 30, 2012, against the Minnesota Vikings, an intoxicated fan fell to his death from an escalator.[13]

On March 19, 2014, the stadium was renamed NRG Stadium, after NRG Energy, the parent company of Reliant Energy.[14]

During the 2015 season, a permanent artificial surface was installed at NRG Stadium. The Texans had used a natural surface since the stadium opened, using a system of trays of sod similar to one used at Giants Stadium in its experiment with using a grass surface. In recent years, the stadium installed artificial turf to be used during high school and college games while keeping the grass for Texans games. After the Texans' home opener, complaints about the field conditions finally led to the installation of the artificial surface for Texans games.

Hurricane Ike damage

On the night of September 12–13, 2008 the stadium sustained damage from Hurricane Ike forcing the Houston Texans home opener scheduled for September 14 to be postponed. Part of the roof cladding came off, and there was wind and water damage to other sections of the stadium. There were also large pieces of debris inside the stadium from the hurricane and the stadium authority declared that the stadium did not suffer significant structural damage except for the roof and the Texans would be able to play all of their 8 home games at Reliant Stadium with the roof open.

The Texans home opener against the Baltimore Ravens was initially postponed one day from Sunday, September 14, 2008 to Monday, September 15, but when the extent of the damage from Hurricane Ike became known, the NFL rescheduled the Texans & Ravens game to week 10 (November 9, 2008), which was to have been the bye week for the Ravens and the Texans scheduled home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. That game was rescheduled to week 8 (October 26), which was to have been the bye week for both the Texans and Bengals. The Bengals bye week was moved from October 26 to November 9, originally scheduled for the Ravens. Both the Texans and Ravens took their unexpected bye week in week 2, the weekend Hurricane Ike hit East Texas and the Gulf Coast, despite the fact that both teams were preparing that whole week to play that game as scheduled.

The stadium reopened on October 5, 2008 when the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts and hosted three additional home games in October.

The stadium was repaired by Houston-based rope access inspection and construction firm Reel Group Americas on February 13, 2009.

Design and technology

Street view

The stadium was designed by the architectural firms of Hermes Reed Architects and Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam who were teamed to create the Houston Stadium Consultants (HSC). The architects of Populous (then HOK Sport) and the HSC worked together with engineers from Walter P Moore and Uni-Systems to design the stadium utilizing the principles of kinetic architecture.[6][15] The facility offers a sense of transparency, with its fabric roof and expansive areas of glazing. At night, the building appears to glow from within. The extensive use of glass provides an open-air feel to the concourses, which are open to the field of play. NRG Stadium has over 7,000 club seats, 186[16] luxury suites, and multiple lounges and bars.[7] The stadium can be configured to utilize a 125,000-square-foot (11,600 m2) space for meetings, specialty functions, exhibits, and concerts.[5]

One of the most notable aspects of the design is the stadium's retractable, fabric roof. The roof mechanization consists of two large panels that split apart at the 50 yard line, lying over and above each end zone when fully retracted. 10 parallel, tri-chord trusses ride on two parallel rails, each supported by a large, 675 feet (206 m)-long super-truss. Roof operation is controlled in the stadium press box via computer, containing live images of the travel path of each roof panel; plus, furnishing live feedback from all roof components throughout the operation. The roof panels can be opened or closed in as little as 7 minutes, moving at a speed of up to 35 feet (11 m)-per-minute.[17]

One bleacher section behind the north end zone, called the "Bull Pen", is the designated fan section for the hometeam. The fans in the Bull Pen interact directly with the action on the field, helping to create and implement fan traditions, songs, chants, and other elements of the game-day experience for spectators all over the stadium. Fans in the Bull Pen are encouraged to stand throughout the game, sing, cheer, and otherwise support the team in an enthusiastic manner.[18]

In 2011, Reliant updated their logo and therefore had to update their signage all over the stadium.[19]

In December 2012, it was announced that, in order to help bring the Super Bowl back to Houston, the stadium's end zone displays would be replaced with the largest digital displays in any professional sports venue. The video screens were revealed August 16, 2013 and are the second largest of their kind, at a total of 14,549 square feet of screens. This tops the previous record of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This has since been topped by the digital display boards located in EverBank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, now home to the largest digital display boards in any stadium in the world.[20][21]

Stadium usage


American football

The Houston Texans have played their home games at NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) since their inception in 2002. The annual calendar consists of 8 regular season and 2 pre-season games, plus any playoff games the Texans host. The first game played was on August 24, 2002, in front of 69,432 in attendance as the Texans hosted the Miami Dolphins in their first preseason game. The first regular season game was played on September 8 of that year, where the expansion Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19–10 in front of 69,604. The first Monday Night Football game in Texans history was held on December 1, 2008 at Reliant Stadium. Playing in front of a then-franchise-record crowd of 70,809, the Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 30–17. Since then that record crowd has been broken in the next 2 Texans home games of that season. Their December 7 home game against the Tennessee Titans saw a then-record crowd of 70,831 and the December 28 home finale against the Chicago Bears drew then a current franchise-crowd record of 70,838. That record was broken on November 23, 2009, when a record crowd of 71,153 were in attendance during the Texans second ever Monday Night Football game against Houston's former NFL team, the Tennessee Titans. The Texans home finale of the 2009 season against the New England Patriots on January 3, 2010 drew 71,029.

Reliant Stadium hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII on February 1, 2004 where the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29 in front of 71,525 in attendance.

It will be the host for Super Bowl LI in 2017.

Reliant Stadium hosted the Texans' first playoff game in franchise history on January 7, 2012, with Houston defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 31–10 in an AFC Wild Card game, drawing 71,725, the largest crowd ever to see a Texans game at Reliant Stadium.

Interior of Reliant Stadium during a Texans game


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (or RodeoHouston) is a co-tenant of NRG Stadium. "The building is as much for the rodeo as it is for the National Football League," according to Leroy Shafer who is assistant general manager of the rodeo's marketing department.[22] The rodeo is held three weeks in March, each year. During this time NRG Stadium also hosts an event on the Xtreme Bulls tour, the bull riding-only tour that is part of the PRCA, who also hosts the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The stadium includes a service area level to house rodeo livestock. The bulls, broncs, steers and roping calves are housed in the north end of the stadium under the lower bowl. Loading and unloading dock space to support the rodeo is located on the north end of the stadium. During rodeo performances, rolling doors will separate the dock into two receiving areas to isolate the food and concession deliveries from the rodeo equipment and livestock deliveries. A 42-foot (13 m) concert performance stage is located at the south end of the stadium during rodeo events and is moved into the center of the facility by a hydraulic drive system for rodeo concert performances.[22]

On February 25, 2012, the PBR brought its premier bull riding tour, the Built Ford Tough Series, to Reliant Stadium for the first time ever. It was the first time that a PBR event was a part of RodeoHouston.[23][24] In addition, it was their first event in Houston in 11 years, after having previously held an event at the Compaq Center annually between 1998 and 2001.

Interior of Reliant Stadium at the 2006 rodeo

College football

College football's Texas Bowl and Texas Kickoff are annually hosted at the stadium. The first-ever edition of the Texas Bowl featured a game between Rutgers University and Kansas State University, with Rutgers winning, 37–10. The stadium hosted the Houston Bowl before the Texas Bowl's inception and also hosted both the 2002 and 2005 Big 12 Championship Games. The 2005 game featured Houston native Vince Young at quarterback for the University of Texas at Austin and led the Longhorns to a 70–3 rout of the University of Colorado in front of 71,107. In addition, the East–West Shrine Game was held there in 2007.

A Bayou Classic game between Grambling State and Southern was held here in November 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina damage in their usual venue at the Superdome.

The University of Houston and Rice University have each played regular season home games at NRG Stadium in the past. The Bayou Bucket Classic was held there in 2004, and in 2011, the game was announced to be played at Reliant Stadium for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as well.[25]

The stadium also hosts the "Battle of the Piney Woods" since 2010. It is one of the oldest football rivalries in Texas featuring Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin State University. The series was originally scheduled to run until 2013, before being extended to 2017, and finally in March 2015, was made the permanent home of the series.

Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University each have played selected regular season home games at NRG Stadium as well.


NRG Stadium hosts several international club matches each year. The games are generally held in the spring and summer before the NFL season starts. The stadium hosted CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in 2005 and 2007. The Gold Cup matches in 2007 included Round 1 matches, and a quarterfinal doubleheader match. The venue's attendance record was set during a preparation match between the Mexico national team and the U.S. men's soccer team.

On February 6, 2008, USA–Mexico was held at Reliant Stadium to a capacity crowd of 70,103. The previous USA vs. Mexico match in Reliant Stadium drew a sellout crowd of 69,582 fans on May 8, 2003 and is the largest home crowd for the U.S. men's national team this decade,[26] until the USA played Mexico for a capacity crowd of 80,702 fans in Giants Stadium for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final.

On January 25, 2012 Venezuela played a friendly match with Mexico, with Mexico winning 3–1.

Reliant Stadium also hosted the 2010 MLS All-Star Game as Manchester United won 5–2.

On May 31, 2013 Mexico played another friendly, with Nigeria, which ended in a 2–2 draw.

In June 2016, NRG Stadium hosted two matches in the group stage and one semifinal in the Copa América Centenario.

College basketball

The stadium has hosted the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament several times, including the 2008, 2010 & 2015 South Regional Finals, and the Final Four in 2011 & 2016.


For the past five years NRG Stadium has played host to Monster Jam. Also, it has hosted a round of the AMA Supercross Championship since 2003, replacing the Astrodome which had been host since 1974.[27]



Other events

The Offshore Technology Conference is held annually in NRG Center and utilizes the stadium for exhibits. In 2006, 59,236 were in attendance which was the largest convention in Houston in 2006 and the highest attendance for the event since 1982.

See also


  1. Rieken, Kristie (December 30, 2014). "Texas Bowl A Hot Ticket". Associated Press. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  2. "Attendance".
  3. McClain, John. "Texans unveil new playing service at NRG Stadium". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  4. M-E Engineers, Inc. | Projects
  5. 1 2 "Reliant Stadium – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Reliant Stadium". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  6. 1 2 3 "Reliant Stadium". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  7. 1 2 "Houston Texans – Reliant Stadium". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  8. "City of Houston will host Super Bowl LI in 2017". KTRK-TV. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  9. 1 2 "Architecture of Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas, United States of America". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  10. "Texans Team History". Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  11. "Quick Facts – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Quick Facts". Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  12. "Wide Open Spaces, Modern Steel Construction, July 2003". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  13. "Man who fell from Reliant Stadium escalator was intoxicated". Houston Chronicle. September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  15. "Uni-Systems, Reliant Stadium Project Details". Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  16. /Issues/2012/08/06/In-Depth/Reliant-Stad ium.aspx
  17. "30728_EAE_reliant.pdf, Modern Steel Construction, April 2004" (PDF). Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  18. Bull Pen – Houston Texans
  19. "Reliant Rebranding". Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  20. Woodard, Brad. "Reliant Stadium will get bigger, better LED scoreboards". KHOU 11 News. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  21. Raji, Bayan. "Reliant Stadium to get widest display in pro sports". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  22. 1 2 Qaddumi, Thora (January 26, 2003). "Reliant Stadium: Ready to Rodeo From Design Concept to Showtime – Houston Business Journal". Retrieved March 31, 2008.
  23. – 2012 Houston Invitational
  24. 2012 PBR Schedule
  25. Bower, MoiseKapenda (August 31, 2011). "Rice Ready to Compete When Bayou Bucket Moves to Reliant". Fox Sports Houston. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  26. "The Official Site of U.S. Soccer – Men's National Team". Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  27. 2015 AMA Supercross media guide
  28. Univision’s Selena ¡Vive! Breaks Audience Records. Univision, November 4, 2005. Retrieved on June 6, 2006.
  29. ,RodeoHouston review: Austin Mahone and Demi Lovato
  31. "BEYONCÉ ANNOUNCES 'THE FORMATION WORLD TOUR'". Rap-Up. February 7, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  32. Template:Title=Guns N' Roses at NRG Stadium Review
  33. "Coldplay sets NRG Stadium date for summer 2017". Chron. October 7, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  34. Houston Exhibition Game Between Coyotes And Stars Cancelled
Wikimedia Commons has media related to NRG Stadium.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Houston Texans

2002 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Qualcomm Stadium
Levi's Stadium
Host of the Super Bowl
LI 2016
Succeeded by
ALLTEL Stadium
U.S. Bank Stadium
Preceded by

Texas Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium
Home of the
Big 12 Championship Game

Succeeded by

Arrowhead Stadium
Arrowhead Stadium
Preceded by
Citrus Bowl
Host of WrestleMania XXV
Succeeded by
University of Phoenix Stadium
Preceded by

Lucas Oil Stadium
Lucas Oil Stadium
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
University of Phoenix Stadium
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