Folsom Field is an outdoor football stadium in the western United States, located on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder. It is the home field of the Colorado Buffaloes of the Pac-12 Conference.
Opened 93 years ago in 1924, the horseshoe-shaped stadium runs in the traditional north-south configuration, opening to the north. The CU athletic administration center, named after 1950s head coach Dal Ward, is located at the north end.
The playing field returned to natural grass in 1999 and sits at an elevation of 5,360 feet (1,630 m), more than a mile above sea level. Folsom Field is the third highest stadium in major college football, behind only Wyoming and Air Force of the Mountain West Conference.
Gamble Field was the home of Colorado football for two decades, through 1924 mid-season. Opened as Colorado Stadium, Folsom Field has been the home of Colorado Buffaloes football since. Through the 2016 season, the Buffs have a home record of 308–169–14, a winning percentage of .642.
Colorado Stadium was renamed Folsom Field in 1944, following the death of coach Fred Folsom. He coached the Buffs from 1895 to 1902 and 1908 to 1915, compiling a 78–24–2 (.760) overall record.
In 2008, Folsom Field became the first "zero-waste" stadium in the NCAA by instituting a rigorous recycling and composting program.
When opened in 1924, the horseshoe-shaped stadium had a capacity of 26,000. A major expansion in 1956 raised the height of the stadium and increased its capacity to 45,000. In 1967, 6,000 more seats were added with the removal of the running track; the track and field team relocated to Potts Field on the East Campus.
A huge, six-level press box was added in 1968 to the top of the west side grandstand, directly in front of Balch Fieldhouse, the former home of the basketball team. Renovations continued in 1976 when the old, rickety wooden bleachers were replaced with aluminum ones, raising the capacity to 52,005.
In 2003, suites and club seating were added to the east side of the stadium, raising the capacity to 53,750. Since the 2003 renovation 137 seats with obstructed views have been removed lowering the seating capacity to 53,613.
In 2014, construction for a further expansion has started. This expansion includes a new indoor practice facility, a high performance sports center, as well as extra seating on the northeast corner of the stadium.
From 1924 through 1970, the playing surface at Folsom Field was natural grass. In the summer of 1971, AstroTurf was installed and the first game played on the new surface was against Wyoming on September 18. The 1971 Buffs finished third in the AP Poll behind Nebraska and Oklahoma, for a sweep of the top three spots by the Big Eight Conference. The synthetic turf was replaced in 1978 and again in 1989, with "Astroturf-8." After 28 years of AstroTurf, Folsom Field returned to natural grass in the spring of 1999. The project, which included bio-thermal heating, drainage, and a sub-air system, cost $1.2 million.
Folsom Field is also used as the finish line for the Bolder Boulder, a popular 10K run. The south end zone was featured in the opening and closing credits of the late 1970s television show Mork and Mindy, which was set in Boulder. The first Promise Keepers stadium conference was held at Folsom in June 1992. The stadium played host to a concert, later released on DVD, by the Dave Matthews Band on July 11, 2001.
The largest crowd for a CU football game at Folsom Field was 54,972 in 2005, against in-state rival Colorado State on September 3. This early-season, non-conference rivalry game, the Rocky Mountain Showdown, is more often played in neutral Denver at Mile High Stadium and it successor Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The largest crowd ever at Folsom Field was in 1977 for a rock concert, one of the popular Colorado Sun Day concert series. The attendance on May 1 was an estimated 61,500 (exceeding the seating capacity by about 9,000) for a show featuring Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Firefall, and John Sebastian.