Salem Football Stadium is a 7,157 seat municipal stadium that opened for business in August of 1985 after a rapid construction process. The stadium was actually completed just eight months after its approval was granted and a mere five months after grading on the property began. The city used a bond to pay for the $2.2 million facility that was constructed primarily for the city’s successful high school football program that has won six Virginia High School League State Championships since 1996. Salem Stadium has been the home of the NCAA Division III Football Championship game since 1993. Since the Stagg Bowl debuted in southwest Virginia, the stadium has undergone a number of improvements to better accommodate both players and fans, including new lights, an expanded press box and the installation of synthetic Field Turf prior to the 2007 game. The field has hosted a number of overflow sports crowds, but the biggest turnout occurred on October 27, 2008 when republican vice-presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin attracted a crowd of more than 16,000 to a political rally.