Kroger Field celebrates 50th anniversary

More than 200 games have been played on Kroger Field since its stadium opener.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:54 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The home of the Kentucky Wildcats is celebrating its 50th anniversary Friday.

More than 200 games have been played on Kroger Field since its stadium opener.

“UK represents what we don’t have in professional sports in Kentucky. That just adds to the environment,” said UK fan Mike Leadingham.

“It is a very beautiful stadium. It’s a very welcoming stadium,” said fan TJ Lester.

Fifty years ago, in what was known as Commonwealth Stadium, the Wildcats stepped out on the field in their new home.

“I’ve been here coming to games for longer than I can remember, and it’s just the atmosphere is fantastic,” said Lester.

Fans say they’ve watched the stadium expand from its original build in 1973. Over time, things like suites, restrooms, concession stands, scoreboards, seats and more have been added.

The field also underwent a $126 million renovation in 2015.

“Making it good for the fans and a good experience is very important, and I think they’ve done a good job, here at Kroger field, of doing that,” said Leadingham.

Some changes, however, were a little harder to get used to than others.

“It took us a while to call it Kroger Field. We’d always still just say, ‘Hey, we’re headed out to Commonwealth,’” said Lester.

That name change came just a few years ago, in 2017.

When asked, what’s your favorite thing about Kroger Field and UK games the answers were quite similar.

“From start to finish, you have a lot of energy. Everybody participates, everybody’s engaged,” said Leadingham.

“Right at kick-off, everybody’s hype. It doesn’t matter the record or who we’re playing,” said Lester.

The Wildcats take on the Akron Zips on Saturday at Kroger Field.