Because there are a couple of interesting threads going about rating MLB parks and NBA arenas, I thought college sports venues (stadiums, arenas, fields, ballparks ) deserved their own thread. Tell us about the ones you’ve been to and rate em! (I’ll share my picks when I get back from an errand I’ve got to go run.)
University of Michigan Stadium is huge and the excitement is palpable. But that is all given back by the worlds worst hot dogs.
I’m back. As promised (or threatened!) here are mine
Notre Dame Stadium - pre-1990s addition 9/10-great tradition and setting, narrow seats, fun student section. A wholly biased opinion.
Notre Dame Stadium - post-1990s addition 9/10 - seats in upper section have good sightlines and wider seats (for my wider seat). It would be 10/10 but for the lack of a video replay board. While not being inundated with commercials is nice, it would be nice to see a replay.
Ohio Stadium - 8 of 10. Great setting and sightlines. Buckeye Nation can be tough to take though.
Michigan Stadium 8/10. Not so good sightlines, especially for seats down low. Not as loud as I thought 100,000 fans should be, but the fans seemed to treat the visiting fans well. Parking was off site but a nice walk.
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing - 9/10 a fun place to see a game. Sightlines were very good.
Mitchie Stadium, West Point - 10/10 a beautiful place for a game. Only 40,000 seats but very few bad ones. Be sure to see the Cadet parade in the morning.
Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh (demolished) - 9/10 Once you got in it was a great place to see the game, but it didn’t have any parking or any amenities whatsoever so it had to go.
The Glass Bowl, Toledo OH - a nice MAC park and a sentimental favorite, being the site of the first college football game I went to. 8/10.
Dix Stadium, Kent OH - a nice enough place, but there is not enough parking and the roads are clogged, or they would be if they ever had more than 10,000 people there for a game. Rumor has it that they only time the 30,000 seat place was sold out was for a Browns/Bills scrimmage 30 years ago and for a high school playoff game about 10 years ago. 5/10.
Akron Rubber Bowl - now closed. 7/10.
From my VERY limited perspective:
1 Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI. Yes, I’m biased but the place has great sight lines and the world’s best student section (and even better alumni). The shuttle buses are fairly efficient and there is plenty of parking if you don’t mind walking a half mile or so. Concessions are mediocre. What gives this the nod over Michigan Stadium is that if your seats aren’t the best, simply go stand under the upper deck, behind the last row of the lower deck.
2 Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI. Not really a bad seat in the Big House but unless your seats are fairly high up, prepare for LONG climbs up and down the steps to get to and from your seats. To get concessions, you have to physically go outside the stadium, likewise the restroom. Gets bonus points for the famous urinal wall. I thought the concessions were decent but pricey. Student section is a bit on the unsportsmanlike side, chanting “you suck” with each and every uncoverted third down by the opponent. Parking. Ha. There ain’t none. You can park for free, but only with a two mile walk.
3 Bahlke Field, Alma, MI. Sure, it’s a small college and it ain’t the Big Ten. But why in heaven’s name put the main grandstand on the EAST side of the field, treating the home fans to a face full of sun in the afternoon? Getting to and from your seat is dicey, since the aisles are incredibly poorly designed. Concessions are quite decent.
1 Ferry Field, Ann Arbor, MI. Reopens this year as Fisher Stadium, quite an improvement. The old wooden grandstands were decent enough, certainly better than Kobs Field. Sightlines are good, parking not that bad, concessions quick and efficient owing to the fact that Big Ten baseball simply doesn’t draw huge crowds.
2 Kobs Field, East Lansing, MI. Reopens this year as McLane Stadium. While charming in its way, definitely not big time. Concessions were in a trailer, carnival style. Exactly one restroom for each gender. It had metal bleachers, similar to high school fields. Better was to simply stand along the fence by the foul lines. Double minus points- you have to return any balls hit your way. The new place will be an infinite improvement. Owing to the Red Cedar River, there is a little incline in right field and a pretty short right field fence, where Kirk Gibson used to launch them out.
1 Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI. Sure, it was antiquated but I loved the place. It lives on, for indoor track, gymnastics, and wrestling. The place could really rock at times, and going to games in the Earvin Johnson era was pure electricity.
2 Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI. Sure, much more modern than Jenison but not as much soul. Some of the seats are a wee bit awkward to get to but there aren’t any bad ones.
1 Munn Arena, East Lansing, MI. Great place to watch a hockey game. Only complaint is they built it too small. When the team goes great, tickets are hard to get.
I also have very limited knowledge as I’ve not attended very many college games.
Carter-Finley Stadium - was there in the early 90s before they turned the hill into actual seating.
Reynold’s Coliseum - I saw the last men’s basketball game played there. It was a small and very intimate venue, and very very loud.
RBC Center - where NCSU now plays men’s basketball. Also home to the Carolina Hurricanes. RBC is a great arena. Parking is pretty easy and traffic is usually very light. They have the whole traffic flow very well managed.
Dean Smith Center - Also known as the Dean Dome. I saw one UNC basketball game there and I remember having to walk a long long way from the car and back.
I’m not going to mention the place I work for, not because they’re bad but because, well, I don’t give everything away. So here are four Central PA college sports places, in order from best- to least-known.
Beaver Stadium – 9/10. Would be perfect if it wasn’t just so unfathomably large. It’s all but impossible to easily get your way around 100,000+ people, despite decent traffic lines. Used to be worse, actually, as traffic once flowed directly past the stadium. Concessions aren’t great but that’s not why you’re there, and you’re going to be eating in the parking lot before the game, right? Probably has the best view in college football: Mt. Nittany looms in the background from over the student section.
Rec Hall (former Penn State basketball arena) – 5/10. Weird in its own way: a track ran around the top row of the stands, and the place looked like an oversized high school gym. Incredibly, various phys ed classes took place on the floor of the place even during basketball season. Even when Penn State was in the A-10 it was not really up to standard, and building Bryce Jordan became a near-necessity when it joined the Big Ten. A very noisy place, though.
Sojka Pavilion – 8/10. Bucknell’s basketball arena. It’s new and impressive for such a small school. Concessions ring the mezzanine level, and are decent for mid-major D-I. With the video screen and the overhead scoreboard, it feels like a much bigger place. Most interesting feature: two lucky fans get to sit on a sideline couch to watch the game. And it’s a real couch, too.
Christy Mathewson Stadium – 5/10. Bucknell’s football stadium. Yes, I said football–they named the stadium after Bucknell’s most famous sports figure. So who cares if he wasn’t a football player? Anyway, it’s a slightly bigger high school stadium, which is appropriate as I actually saw a high school game there. Open at both ends, so the wind rips right down the middle of the field.