American Football Wiki
NRG Stadium
Location 1 NRG Parkway
Houston, Texas 77054
Broke ground March 9, 2000
Opened August 24, 2002
Owner Harris County
Operator SMG World
Surface Hellas Matrix Helix
Construction cost $352 million
Architect Populous (Formerly HOK Sport)[1]
Lockwood Andrews Newnam, Inc.
Hermes Architects (Architect-of-Record)
Structural engineer Walter P. Moore
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[2]
General Contractor Manhattan/Beers (a joint venture)
Former names Reliant Stadium (2002-2014)
Tenants Houston Texans (NFL) (2002–present)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (2003–present)
Texas Bowl (NCAA) (2006–present))
Texas Kickoff Classic (NCAA) (2013-present)
Houston Cougars (NCAA) (2013)
Capacity 72,220 (2018-present)

Expandable to 80,000 for special events

NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant Stadium) is a multi-purpose stadium, in |Houston, Texas. NRG Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,054, 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 Bowls XXXVIII (2004) and LI (2017), and WrestleMania 25 (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, $300 million naming rights deal in 2000.

The stadium was constructed at the cost of $352 million.[3][4] NRG Stadium was the first facility in the NFL to have a retractable roof.[5]


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 feet (180,000 m2) range.[4] Groundbreaking for the stadium was on March 9, 2000 and the building was officially topped off in October 2001.[6] The stadium opened on August 24, 2002, with a preseason game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans which the Dolphins won 24-3.[7] The stadium hosted its first regular season NFL football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Texans on September 8, 2002.[8] Construction was completed in 30 months.[9] The first rodeo was held in the stadium in February 2003.[6]

During a Texans preseason game on August 30, 2012, against the Minnesota Vikings, an intoxicated fan fell to his death from an escalator.[10]

On March 19, 2014, the stadium was re-named NRG Stadium, after NRG Energy, the parent company of Reliant Energy.[11]

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[]

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 and the HSC worked together with engineers from Walter P Moore and Uni-Systems to design the stadium utilizing the principles of kinetic architecture.[4][12] 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.[1] 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, 166 luxury suites, and multiple lounges and bars.[5] The stadium can be configured to utilize a 125,000 square foot (11,600 m2) space for meetings, specialty functions, exhibits, and concerts.[3]

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. Ten parallel, tri-chord trusses ride on two parallel rails, each supported by a large, 675 ft (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.[13]

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.[14]

In 2011, Reliant updated their logo and therefore had to update their signage all over the stadium.[15]

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 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.[16][17]

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 might 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.

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.

NRG Stadium hosted Super Bowl LI in 2017, in Which the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history;[18] it was also the first ever overtime game in Super Bowl history.

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.[19] 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 ft (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.[19]

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.[20][21] 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.

Reliant Stadium Houston Rodeo

Interior of Reliant Stadium at the 2006 rodeo

College football[]

College football's Texas Bowl is annually hosted at the stadium. The first-ever edition of the game in December 2006 featured a game between Rutgers and Kansas State, 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 Texas and led the Longhorns to a 70–3 rout of Colorado in front of 71,107. In addition, the East-West Shrine Game was held there in 2007.

The Houston and Rice 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.[22]

The stadium will also host the "Battle of the Piney Woods" starting in 2010. It is one of the oldest football rivalries in Texas featuring Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin. The series is scheduled to run until 2013.

Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M 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 Mexican 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,[23] 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.

College basketball[]

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

The stadium is also scheduled to host the 2016 Final Four.

WrestleMania XXV[]

On April 5, 2009, Reliant Stadium hosted WrestleMania XXV, with 72,744 people in attendance.

WrestleMania XXV - Stage

WrestleMania XXV stage at Reliant Stadium


  • On August 2, 2003, Metallica along with Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and Deftones played a concert in Reliant Stadium during Metallica's Summer Sanitarium '03 tour. It was at this concert that Linkin Park shot some footage for their DVD Live in Texas.
  • On April 7, 2005, Reliant Stadium played host to a tribute concert for the late Tejano-singer Selena called Selena ¡VIVE!, held on the 10th anniversary of her death. The concert was broadcast live on the Spanish-language television network Univision. The concert would earn a 35.9 Nielsen household rating making it the most watched Spanish language program in American television history.[24] A video of the finale of her now legendary 1995 concert in Houston was used as the finale of the tribute, as the late icon sang her classic Como La Flor and bid farewell to her Houston fans one last time.
  • Reliant Stadium played host to The Rolling Stones on January 25, 2003, during the band's 2002–2003 Licks Tour.
  • On October 14, 2009, the stadium played host to a U2 concert on their 2009–2010 U2 360° Tour.
  • On March 3, 2013 Demi Lovato performed her new single Heart Attack for the first time. It was a Full Sold out tour. Over 75,000 people came.
  • On August 22, 2014 One Direction will perform at NRG Stadium for their Where We Are Tour.


  • On September 23, 2011 the Dallas Stars and the Phoenix Coyotes were scheduled to play a preseason game. This proposed game was later canceled citing costs to put ice in the stadium.[25]

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.

The trick shot group Dude Perfect made a shot from the top of Reliant Stadium.

See also[]

  • NRG Astrodome
  • List of current National Football League stadiums


  1. 1.0 1.1 Populous - Reliant Stadium.
  2. M-E Engineers, Inc. | Projects
  3. 3.0 3.1 Reliant Stadium – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Reliant Stadium. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Reliant Stadium. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Houston Texans – Reliant Stadium. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Architecture of Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas, United States of America. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  7. Texans Team History. Retrieved on September 17, 2011.
  8. Quick Facts – Reliant Park, Reliant Park Info, Quick Facts. Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  9. Wide Open Spaces, Modern Steel Construction, July 2003. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  10. Man who fell from Reliant Stadium escalator was intoxicated. Houston Chronicle (September 25, 2012). Retrieved on September 26, 2012.
  12. Uni-Systems, Reliant Stadium Project Details. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  13. 30728_EAE_reliant.pdf, Modern Steel Construction, April 2004. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  14. Bull Pen – Houston Texans
  15. Reliant Rebranding. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.
  16. Woodard, Brad. Reliant Stadium will get bigger, better LED scoreboards. KHOU 11 News. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.
  17. Raji, Bayan. Reliant Stadium to get widest display in pro sports. Houston Business Journal. Retrieved on 20 December 2012.
  18. Breech, John (February 6, 2017). Tom Brady Leads Biggest Comeback in Super Bowl History, Sets Multiple Records (in en). CBS Sports.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Qaddumi, Thora. "Reliant Stadium: Ready to Rodeo From Design Concept to Showtime – Houston Business Journal", January 26, 2003. Retrieved on March 31, 2008. 
  20. - 2012 Houston Invitational
  21. 2012 PBR Schedule
  22. Bower, MoiseKapenda (August 31, 2011). Rice Ready to Compete When Bayou Bucket Moves to Reliant. Fox Sports Houston. Retrieved on October 9, 2011.
  23. The Official Site of U.S. Soccer – Men's National Team. Retrieved on March 30, 2008.
  24. Univision’s Selena ¡Vive! Breaks Audience Records. Univision, November 4, 2005. Retrieved on June 6, 2006.
  25. Houston Exhibition Game Between Coyotes And Stars Cancelled

External links[]

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