An Innovation Diffusion Ideal-type on the History of American College Football Stadia

Patrick Tutka – Niagara University
Chad Seifried – Louisiana State University

The present study analyzes American college football stadia of the current Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) membership from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1869 through 2019 using the concept of innovation diffusion. Within, we created a five-stage ideal-type to highlight key innovations, environmental cues, social systems, and communication channels that caused and/or explain the eventual development of the stadiums. To complete this work, we utilized the historical method and incorporated various types of renovation (i.e., restoration, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and preservation) into the analysis. From 1869 thru 2019, we found evidence of over 1,800 playing grounds/construction projects. Furthermore, we discovered institutions of higher education played in 137 pre-existing venues, built 285 new facilities, and engaged in roughly 1,400 renovations of those venues. Regarding renovation, rehabilitation represents the most prolific building activity followed by reconstruction, preservation, and restoration. Finally, we offer information about what the past trends in facility construction tell us about the prospective future.