Looking west in 2003
|Former names||Ernest F. Ladd Memorial Stadium (1948–1997)|
|Location||1621 Virginia Street|
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
|Owner||City of Mobile|
|Operator||City of Mobile|
|Capacity||40,000 (football, 2011–present)|
40,646 (football, 1969–2010)
40,605 (football, 1958–1968)
36,000 (football, 1948–1957)
Natural grass (1948–2004)
|Opened||October 2, 1948|
72 years ago
|Construction cost||$10 million (renovations)|
|Architect||Clark Geer & Latham and Associates, Inc. (renovations)|
|Mobile County High schools|
Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic (1988–2010)
Senior Bowl (NCAA) (1951–2020)
LendingTree Bowl (NCAA) (1999–present)
South Alabama Jaguars (NCAA) (2009–2019)
Opened 72 years ago in 1948, it has a seating capacity of 33,471. It is primarily used for American football, and is the home field for the Senior Bowl, the LendingTree Bowl, and, through the 2019 season, the University of South Alabama Jaguars. After the 2019 season, the Jaguars will move to the new on-campus Hancock Whitney Stadium. In addition to football, the stadium is also used for concerts (maximum capacity 50,000), boxing matches, high school graduations, trade shows, and festivals. Numerous entertainers have performed at Ladd–Peebles Stadium.
The stadium was constructed in 1948 with private funding from a local banker wishing to create a permanent honor to his mentor, Ernest F. Ladd, a local banking magnate who died in 1941, with the stadium initially carrying the name "Ernest F. Ladd Memorial Stadium". On May 4 and 5 of 1955, a tour headlining country and western stars Hank Snow, Faron Young, The Wilburn Brothers, Mother Maybel, The Carter Sisters (including June, the future Mrs Johnny Cash), Jimmy Rogers Snow, The Davis Sisters, Onie Wheeler and a still unknown Elvis Presley played two nightly shows there. More than 40 years later, in 1997, it was renamed "Ladd-Peebles Stadium", continuing to honor Ladd, but also honoring E. B. Peebles, a civic leader who was instrumental in the revitalization of the Senior Bowl.
In 1997, Ladd–Peebles Stadium underwent a $8.1 million renovation that resulted in a new press box featuring a 120-seat club level and luxury suites, new scoreboards, new PA and lighting systems, new locker rooms, new restrooms, an expansion of the concourse areas, and new concession stands, as well as the stadium offices.
On December 6, 2008, the Board of Trustees at the University of South Alabama approved adding football to its intercollegiate athletics program. The move came with the announcement that the team would call Ladd–Peebles Stadium home for at least seven years; in fact it remains the program's home as of 2018.
The stadium underwent a $2.2 million facelift which also includes the construction of 11 luxury sky boxes on the stadium's west side. The project was finished at the beginning of the 2009 season.
The stadium's first game was in 1948, between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Vanderbilt Commodores on October 2, with the Tide scoring on the final play for a 14–14 tie. From 1948 to 1968, with the exceptions of 1960 and 1962, the Crimson Tide played one game per year in Ladd Stadium. In 1958, legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant coached his first game as Alabama's head coach in Ladd Stadium when the Crimson Tide fell 13–3 to LSU. Notable Tigers that year were Billy Cannon and Johnny Robinson.
The Senior Bowl played its inaugural edition at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville in January 1950, then moved to Mobile, where it was played in Ladd–Peebles until January 2020. The game will move to the University of South Alabama's on-campus Hancock Whitney Stadium in 2021.
Ladd–Peebles Stadium also played host to numerous other major college games over the years. Auburn played eight games at Ladd from 1948–55, playing the likes of Clemson, Florida, and Ole Miss. The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg was also a consistent Ladd Stadium tenant, as the Golden Eagles played seventeen games there from 1950 through 1974; Southern Miss opponents included Texas A&M, Florida State, and Alabama.
In 1988, the stadium hosted the first-ever Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, an annual football event that features the best senior high school players and top collegiate prospects from Mississippi against the best from Alabama. The event has since been moved to Montgomery and is now played in December.
In December 1999, the stadium hosted the inaugural Mobile Alabama Bowl. Held annually since then, the game has undergone several name changes due to sponsorship agreements; as of November 2019[update] it is known as the LendingTree Bowl. Formerly matching teams from the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA, the bowl announced a new agreement in 2009 to annually feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Mid-American Conference beginning with the 2010 game. The agreement, however, was canceled after one year and the bowl's matchup now consists of the Mid-American Conference facing the Sun Belt Conference.
On September 13, 2014, attendance at a game between the South Alabama Jaguars and the Mississippi State Bulldogs was 38,129; it was the first sell-out in the Jaguars' football history, however the Bulldogs won, 35–3.
- "Alabama-Vandy kickoff is set for 2:30 today". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). United Press. October 2, 1948. p. 1.
- "About Ladd–Peebles Stadium". Ladd–Peebles Stadium Official Website. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Stephenson, Creg (January 15, 2019). "South Alabama, Hancock Whitney Bank agree to 10-year football stadium naming rights deal". al.com. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- "Stadium". Ladd–Peebles Stadium Official Website. Archived from the original on January 15, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- "Mobile's Ladd–Peebles Stadium, Home of the Senior Bowl, Selects FieldTurf". July 6, 2004. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
- BOARD OF TRUSTEES VOTES TO ADD NCAA FOOTBALL
- Dopson, Roland (October 3, 1948). "Alabama scores on last play to tie Vandy 14-14". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). United Press. p. 8.
- Land, Charles (September 28, 1958). "Fighting Tide bows, 13 to 3". Tuscaloosa News. (Alabama). p. 1.
- "Senior Bowl Announces Deal with the University of South Alabama" (Press release). Senior Bowl.
- Stephenson, Creg (March 4, 2020). "Senior Bowl to be played at South Alabama's Hancock Whitney Stadium beginning in 2021". AL.com. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
- "Alabama - Mississippi 29th Annual All-Star Game".
- "Mobile's college bowl game renamed LendingTree Bowl". WALA-TV. November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- "Saturday's South Alabama-Mississippi State game officially a sellout, first in Jags' program history". AL.com.
- "Dak Prescott runs, throws, even catches Mississippi State past South Alabama". AL.com.
- Carlos Gieseken (August 22, 2015). "Trump draws huge crowd for speech at Alabama stadium". USA Today. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- "Donald Trump 2016: Mobile, Alabama rally and the ghost of George Wallace". POLITICO.