Mapfre Stadium (// MAH-fray; styled as "MAPFRE Stadium"), previously known as Columbus Crew Stadium, is a soccer-specific stadium in Columbus, Ohio, United States. It primarily serves as the home stadium of the Columbus Crew SC of Major League Soccer. Mapfre Stadium is also the site of a variety of additional events in amateur and professional soccer, American football, lacrosse, and rugby, and is a regular site for outdoor concerts due to the permanent stage in the north end zone.
Built in 1999, it was the first soccer-specific stadium built by a Major League Soccer team, starting an important trend in MLS stadium construction. The stadium is named for Madrid-based Mapfre Insurance after the company signed a sponsorship agreement announced on March 3, 2015. The listed seating capacity is 19,968. In 2015, MAPFRE Stadium and Director of Grounds, Weston Appelfeller, CSFM, were honored with the prestigious Field of the Year award by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) for the professional soccer division.
Columbus Crew SC played their first three seasons at Ohio Stadium on the campus of the Ohio State University. During games, large sections of the stadium were blocked off to reduce capacity from approximately 90,000 to 25,243. Although the Crew enjoyed success at Ohio Stadium during their tenure there, the large seating capacity and limitations to the field size made the stadium ill-suited for soccer. Additionally, Ohio Stadium lacked permanent field lights. These problems, along with planned renovations to Ohio Stadium, which began in 1999, were all factors in the development of Mapfre Stadium. The construction cost of US$28.5 million was covered entirely with private funds from Crew owner and oil billionaire Lamar Hunt and his Hunt Sports group. It is located on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds, between East 17th Avenue and East Hudson Street. The site was previously home to Columbus Auto Parts, an OEM factory supplying the automobile industry, which stood vacant for decades between the Conrail railroad tracks and Interstate 71 before its demolition in the '90s.
Mapfre Stadium opened on May 15, 1999 as Columbus Crew Stadium with a match between the home side and the New England Revolution. It is the second soccer-specific stadium built in the country, after Steel Athletic Field was built in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1913, and the first Major Leaue Soccer stadium constructed in the United States. It has been credited with inspiring the wave of construction of soccer-specific stadiums throughout the league. In the 2010 Showcase issue of Stadia Magazine, Ian Nuttall stating "Who'd have thought when it opened in 1999 that Major League Soccer's first purpose-built stadium would kick-start the wave of dedicated soccer-specific stadiums that continue today?"  The seating capacity was originally 22,555 until 2008 when construction of a permanent stage in the north end zone reduced seating capacity to 20,455, with room to expand to 30,000 total seats for concerts. The current seeting capacity for a soccer game is 19,968.
After nearly 15 years of the stadium not having a corporate sponsor, the Crew announced naming rights were sold to Madrid-based Mapfre Insurance on March 3, 2015. The team had been searching to sell stadium naming rights since it opened in 1999, but had been unable to come to an agreement. Mapfre maintains an office in Columbus and has its U.S. base in Boston.
In addition to hosting the Crew SC home games, Mapfre Stadium has also hosted other Major League Soccer and professional soccer events. It was the site of the 2001 MLS Cup championship and was the host stadium for the Major League Soccer All-Star Game in 2000 and 2005. Both the United States men's and women's national teams have played numerous matches at Mapfre Stadium, most notably, the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier in February 2001 between the U.S. and Mexico known as La Guerra Fria (The Cold War) due to sub-freezing temperatures. During the 2003 Women's World Cup, the stadium was one of the venues used during the group stage of the tournament. In 2018, Mapfre Stadium was one of three sites selected to host the SheBelieves Cup.
Mapfre Stadium has also hosted events outside of professional soccer. The NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship was held at Mapfre Stadium in 2001 and 2003. In 2002, it hosted the Steinfeld Cup, the championship game of Major League Lacrosse. In June 2010, MAPFRE Stadium hosted the inaugural USA Sevens Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational.
The venue is a regular site for Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship tournaments in both American football and soccer. In the local Columbus area, it is the site for the annual Westerville Football Classic, featuring the Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South, and New Albany football teams. It has also been host to the local high school football rivalry of parochial schools Bishop Watterson High School and St. Francis DeSales High School.
The 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup was played in the United States. Mapfre Stadium hosted several group game matches.
|Date||Team #1||Result||Team #2||Round||Spectators|
|September 20, 2003||Germany||4–1||Canada||Group C||16,409|
|September 24, 2003||Germany||3–0||Japan||15,529|
|September 28, 2003||Sweden||3–0||Nigeria||Group A||22,828|
|North Korea||0–3||United States|
|September 28, 2003||United States 3–0 North Korea||2003 FIFA Women's World Cup - Group Stage - Group A|
|May 17, 2011||United States 2–0 Japan||Friendly|
|October 30, 2013||United States 1–1 New Zealand||Friendly|
|September 15, 2016||United States 9–0 Thailand||Friendly|
|March 1, 2018||United States 1–0 Germany||2018 SheBelieves Cup|
Since the opening of Mapfre Stadium, it has been a regular site for the United States men's national soccer team matches, hosting ten games through 2013. The men's national team held an unbeaten record of 8–3–0 in all competitions, outscoring opponents 19–1. This was until the U.S. was beaten by Mexico on Veterans Day 2016. The stadium has hosted five consecutive World Cup qualifying matches against Mexico, with the U.S. winning four of the five matches by the same score of 2–0 (with the U.S. fans adopting the rallying cry of dos-a-cero). The national team was beaten by Mexico on November 11, 2016, by a score of 1-2, prompting Mexico's first ever win in Columbus, and the U.S.'s first World Cup qualifying defeat on home soil in 15 years. It hosted a 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala on March 29, 2016, which the US won, 4-0.
|October 11, 2000||United States 0–0 Costa Rica||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF semifinals||24,430|
|February 28, 2001||United States 2–0 Mexico||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF final round||24,329|
|June 7, 2001||United States 0–0 Ecuador||Friendly||12,572|
|July 6, 2003||United States 2–0 Paraguay||Friendly||14,103|
|June 13, 2004||United States 3–0 Grenada||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Second Round||10,000|
|November 17, 2004||United States 1–1 Jamaica||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Third Round||9,088|
|September 3, 2005||United States 2–0 Mexico||2006 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round||24,685|
|February 11, 2009||United States 2–0 Mexico||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round||23,776|
|September 11, 2012||United States 1–0 Jamaica||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Third Round||23,881|
|September 10, 2013||United States 2–0 Mexico||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round||24,584|
|March 29, 2016||United States 4–0 Guatemala||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fourth Round||20,624|
|November 11, 2016||United States 1–2 Mexico||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification – CONCACAF Fifth Round||24,650|
Since the opening of Mapfre Stadium, it has hosted two MLS Cup Finals; once as a neutral site, and once as home side Columbus Crew SC played host. The latter occurred following a 2012 MLS rules change which did away with a neutral site for the Final, and instead has the club with the best overall regular season record hosting the match.
|October 21, 2001||LA Galaxy 1–2 San Jose Earthquakes||2001 MLS Cup Final||21,626|
|December 6, 2015||Columbus Crew SC 1–2 Portland Timbers||2015 MLS Cup Final||21,747|
The stadium hosts numerous concerts annually, most notably Rock on the Range, an annual festival of performances by rock bands, since 2007, and concerts by Rascal Flatts to close out the Ohio State Fair in 2006, 2007 and 2009. A permanent stage, built in 2008, was constructed in the north end of the stadium to accommodate concerts after the closing of Germain Amphitheater. The addition replaced about 2,100 seats in the north end.
|Date||Artist(s)||Opening act(s)||Tour||Tickets sold||Revenue||Additional notes|
|August 20, 2001||NSYNC||Amanda||PopOdyssey||—||—|
|May 17, 2008||Stone Temple Pilots||—||2008 Reunion Tour||—||—||This concert was part of Rock on the Range.|
|July 29, 2008||Dave Matthews Band||Ingrid Michaelson||2008 Summer Tour||—||—||LeRoi Moore did not play due to injury.|
|May 23, 2009||Kenny Chesney||Lady Antebellum
|Sun City Carnival Tour||25,088 / 25,088||$1,943,542|
|June 26, 2011||Kenny Chesney||Billy Currington
|Goin' Coastal Tour||—||—|
|August 5, 2011||Journey||Foreigner
|Eclipse Tour||—||—||This concert was part of the Ohio State Fair.|
|June 29, 2013||Kenny Chesney
|Eli Young Band
|No Shoes Nation Tour||—||—|
|September 14, 2014||Jason Aldean||Florida Georgia Line
|Burn It Down Tour||26,350 / 26,350||$1,370,903|
|May 17, 2015||Linkin Park||Of Mice & Men
|The Hunting Party Tour||40,000 / 40,000||—||This concert was part of Rock on the Range.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mapfre Stadium.|
|Events and tenants|
Columbus Crew SC
1999 – present
|Host of MLS Cup
|Host of Major League Lacrosse championship game
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
|Host of the College Cup
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Home Depot Center