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Gator Bowl Stadium

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Title: Gator Bowl Stadium  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Clemson Tigers bowl games, Jacksonville Sharks (WFL), TaxSlayer Bowl, List of Texas Tech Red Raiders bowl games, World Football League
Collection: 1927 Establishments in Florida, 1994 Disestablishments in Florida, American Football Venues in Florida, Defunct American Football Venues, Defunct College Football Venues, Defunct Soccer Venues in the United States, Demolished Sports Venues in Florida, Demolished Sports Venues in the United States, Ncaa Bowl Game Venues, North American Soccer League (1968–84) Stadiums, Sports Venues in Jacksonville, Florida, United States Football League Venues, World Football League Venues
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Gator Bowl Stadium

Gator Bowl
The Gator Bowl in 1961
Former names Fairfield Stadium (1927–1948)
Coordinates
Owner City of Jacksonville
Operator City of Jacksonville
Capacity 7,600 (1927–1947)
16,000 (1948)
36,058 (1949–1956)
62,000 (1957–1973)
72,000 (1974–1983)
80,126 (1984–1994)
Surface Natural grass
Construction
Broke ground 1927
Opened 1928
Closed 1994
Demolished 1994
Tenants
Gator Bowl (1946–1993)
Florida–Georgia football game (1933–1993)
Jacksonville Sharks/Express (WFL) (1974–1975)
Jacksonville Tea Men (NASL) (1981–1982)
Jacksonville Bulls (USFL) (1984–1985)

The Gator Bowl was an Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League (WFL), the Jacksonville Tea Men soccer team, and the Jacksonville Bulls of the United States Football League.

Contents

  • Origins 1
  • College and professional sports franchises that used the stadium 2
  • The Beatles at the Gator Bowl 3
  • Near-total demolition 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Origins

Jacksonville's first football venue was built in 1927 and 1928 with a seating capacity of 7,600. Known as Fairfield Stadium, its primary purpose was to serve as home field for Jacksonville's three new high schools—Lee, Jackson and Landon. At the opening of the stadium, Florida Governor John W. Martin called the stadium "the best place in Florida to watch a football game!"

On January 1, 1946, the stadium received national attention when it hosted the first Gator Bowl game. The stadium was expanded to 16,000 seats in 1948, and the structure was renamed the Gator Bowl.[1] Prior to the 1949 game, the seating capacity was expanded to 36,058, at which it remained until 1957.[2]

College and professional sports franchises that used the stadium

It was home to the World Football League's Jacksonville Sharks in 1974 and the Jacksonville Express in 1975. It was the home of a North American Soccer League team, the Jacksonville Tea Men from 1981 to 1982 and then a United States Football League team, the Jacksonville Bulls from 1984 to 1985.

Most notably, it was the site of the annual college football University of Florida college football teams from 1933 to 1993.

The Gator Bowl hosted the 1968 and 1969 AFL All-Star Games.

Concert tickets for the Beatles in Jacksonville

The Beatles at the Gator Bowl

The Beatles played a concert at the Gator Bowl on their first American Tour on September 11, 1964. It is notable because once the Beatles found out that the concert was going to be segregated, they refused to play there unless they allowed the audience to be desegregated, as there was no segregation in Europe. Paul McCartney went on record about their disapproval of the situation and their lack of understanding of segregation in the first place.[3] John Lennon said, "We never play to segregated audiences and we aren't going to start now. I'd sooner lose our appearance money."[4][5] They did end up playing to a desegregated audience.

The concert was also notable because it was held the day after Hurricane Dora struck St. Augustine and Jacksonville. Most of Jacksonville was without electricity and power was not restored for several days. Despite the hurricane, 23,000 fans attended, paying $4 and $5 for tickets. During the concert, Ringo Starr's drums were nailed to the stage because of 45 mph winds.[6]

Near-total demolition

The historic structure was almost entirely razed in 1994, as part of a massive remodeling effort which essentially built a new stadium. The new stadium was renamed Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (known as Alltel Stadium from 1997 through 2006, and Sanford Stadium hosting in 1995. The game resumed the following year in Jacksonville.

References

  1. ^ Gator Bowl Association History page
  2. ^ The Jacksonville Story by Carolina Rawls; Jacksonville's Fifty Years of Progress Association-1950
  3. ^ Kane,Larry. Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour That Changed the World,p. 39
  4. ^ Harry, B. Lennon Encyclopedia, p. 269
  5. ^ BBC News September 18, 2011-The Beatles banned segregated audiences, contract shows
  6. ^ Orlando Sentinel: September 13, 2004-DM's Beatles forums/The Beatles blew into Jacksonville once, after Hurricane Dora

External links

  • Gator Bowl Official website
Preceded by
Fairfield Stadium
Host of the Gator Bowl
1948–1993
Succeeded by
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
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