Facebook Pixel

    Where Is the NFL Hall of Fame Game Played?

    Tom Benson Stadium is the site of the NFL's preseason opener every season. Here's everything you need to know about the historic venue.

    Published on

    While it’s never hosted a Super Bowl or even a Pro Bowl, Tom Benson Stadium is significant as it’s the site of the NFL‘s preseason opener every season.

    Each year, the Hall of Fame Game kicks off the NFL season at the birthplace of the league in Canton, Ohio. Here’s everything you need to know about Tom Benson Stadium.

    How Old Is Tom Benson Stadium?

    The venue used to be known as Fawcett Stadium, and it broke ground before World War II and even the Great Depression.

    The venue first broke ground in 1924, but it didn’t officially open until 1938. The stadium was given the green light to hold events and games in 1962, which is when it hosted the first Hall of Fame Game.

    Who played in the first game? The St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants faced off, and the game ended in a 21-21 tie.

    The Meaning Behind The Venue’s Name

    The historic stadium is named after the late New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. He owned the Saints until his death in 2018. Now, his wife, Gayle, owns the franchise.

    Before his passing, Benson donated $11 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, of which $10 million went toward stadium renovations.

    The name was changed to Tom Benson Stadium in 2016 in honor of him and his contributions.

    How Big Is Tom Benson Stadium?

    Tom Benson Stadium seats just 23,000 fans, making it the smallest venue in the NFL (as no NFL stadium has below 60,000 seats).

    When Tom Benson Stadium isn’t hosting the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game, what is it used for?

    It’s often used for high school football games, with schools like Lincoln High, Lehman, Glen Oak, Timken, and Ohio state powerhouse Canton McKinley playing their Friday night games there during the HSFB regular season.

    It also hosts some college football games, including the Black College Hall of Fame Classic and OAC DIII Bowl Games.

    Also, the stadium hosts concerts, comedy shows, and other events.

    How Many HOF Games Have Been Played at Tom Benson Stadium?

    When the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans take the field, it’ll mark the 58th time the field has been used for the Hall of Fame Game.

    Since its inception, the game has only been called off four times. The first cancelation was in 1966 due to the merger between the AFL and NFL. Then, 45 years later, the game was called off due to the NFL lockout.

    KEEP READING: Everything You Need to Know About the 2024 Hall of Fame Game

    Since 2016, the game has been canceled twice. The 2016 contest was shelved due to inclement weather conditions, and the most recent cancelation was in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That 2020 contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers was made up one year later at Tom Benson Stadium.

    This will be the Bears’ seventh time playing in the Hall of Fame Game, while the Texans will be making their second appearance.

    Related Articles