Camp Randall Stadium, the fourth oldest college football stadium in the country, has been home to the Wisconsin Badger football team since its construction back in 1917. The stadium was built on the grounds of a former military camp known as Camp Randall, which served as a Union Army base during the American Civil War. The camp was named after Wisconsin's first wartime governor, Alexander Randall.
In the time before the Civil War, the site of Camp Randall was owned by the Wisconsin Agricultural Society. The WAS held its annual state fair on the grounds. When hostilities broke out in 1861, the society gave the land to the government for a major military training center. No fewer than 70,000 troops attended training drills at the Camp Randall complex.
After peace was restored nationally, the land was again turned back into state fair property. The fair later moved to Milwaukee, and Wisconsin's Civil War veterans urged the legislature to purchase the land. In 1893, the state presented the site to the university as a memorial athletic field.
Camp Randall is located at the corner of Monroe and Regent, on the west side of the UW campus. The first game played in the present Camp Randall Stadium was a thrilling 10-7 homecoming victory over Minnesota in 1917.
Noted for its impressive double-deck structure, Camp Randall Stadium has long been hailed as one of the premier venues for college football in the nation. Besides the field, the Camp Randall Stadium complex houses the athletic department offices in Kellner Hall, the Athletic Operations Building, the Fetzer Center study area for student-athletes, and a display of football memorabilia in the new football offices located in the eastside superstructure.
From 2002 until 2005 Camp Randall underwent extensive renovations to upgrade its existing facilities. Improvements included the addition of luxury boxes and new offices for the football program. The stadium’s capacity was also increased by the addition of close to 4,000 seats. Other infrastructure items such as the concessions and restrooms facilities were upgraded and new scoreboards were installed to give Camp Randall an updated feel. Construction was finished in time for the 2005 season, however, the football team continued to play at the stadium throughout the construction.
The impressive structure, however, is only part of the Camp Randall experience. The diehard fans are another major attraction at the stadium as Wisconsin’s attendance has ranked within the top 16 in the nation for over 30 years. The Badger season sold out in advance for the first time in 2004, and in 2005, a record 69,290 season tickets were sold. Wisconsin drew a single game attendance record of 83,069 against Minnesota on Nov. 6, 2005.
Perhaps the spirited crowd has contributed to the Badgers’ impressive record at Camp Randall. The Badgers boasted a 57-28-3 (.665 percent) home mark since between 1990 and 2004, including undefeated campaigns in 1993, 1998 and 2004. The Camp Randall stands are literally a sea of red on game day.
While Camp Randall may be synonymous with Badger football, the stadium also hosts many other non-Badger events. Camp Randall has hosted a number of major concerts over the years for headliners such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, U2, and The Rolling Stones. Camp Randall is also used annually by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association for its high school state football championships. The field has also been used in the past for Green Bay Packer exhibition games.
Camp Randall and the Badger football team share a rich and extensive history. Wisconsin's two Heisman Trophy winners, Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, along with their retired numbers, are displayed on the Camp Randall façade for all Badger fans to admire.
1440 Monroe St,
Madison, WI 53711