The hype builds days before the game.
Excitement vibrates Aggie Memorial Stadium as the public address announcer introduces the players, and it crests to punctuate touchdowns or other highlight plays. That indescribable magic hangs in
the air, engulfing the fans that often fill the stadium.
But this isn't your average Saturday evening watching the New Mexico State football team.
It's the annual prep matchup between the Las Cruces High and Mayfield football teams, which often attracts larger, more passionate crowds than anything on the NMSU football schedule.
Unfortunately for NMSU, that's the result of decades of non-competitive, nationally irrelevant college football. Since the end of World War II, the Aggies have mustered only 11 winning seasons. The program hasn't played a bowl game since 1960. Its last winning season was 2002.
Aggie Memorial Stadium is probably nicer than what you would envision for a long struggling program. A game there is affordable, and getting from your car to your seat and back home won't leave you with a headache. But the venue lacks history and electricity, which is understandable considering how often NMSU has let down fans with losing football.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
For a venue that rarely sells out "" or even comes close "" Aggie Memorial Stadium offers more food items than you might expect. Recently NMSU beefed up the menu. Of course it features plenty of the standard hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, candy and sodas. But there is also basic Mexican fare, turkey legs, kettle corn, and snow cones.
Considering the volume of high quality Mexican food restaurants in Las Cruces, it's surprising that there isn't a stronger Mexican presence among the food options. Aggie Memorial Stadium does not sell alcohol.
Set between twin grass berms, Aggie Memorial Stadium's lines are contoured and natural. The concrete and aluminum construction is clean, and the open concourse eliminates that musty smell that wafts through many of the more stodgy and utilitarian venues in college football. In 2003 a national publication named Aggie Memorial Stadium the best in NMSU's conference; this came before renovations that modernized the venue, which, for the fans, provided mostly cosmetic improvements.
From the seating on the west berm, the picturesque Organ Mountains rise behind the stadium. Southern New Mexico's weather typically provides a comfortable evening football experience through late October.
Aesthetically, the stadium is appealing. It's comfortable. The Fulton Athletics Center near the south endzone brings contemporary amenities, such as skyboxes, a rooftop terrace and banquet facilities.
The problem is the dearth of football success at NMSU. It means there is really no historically significant reason to watch a game at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Few people do. That deflates the experience.
Being an on-campus venue, there are not many night spots within reasonable walking distance of Aggie Memorial Stadium. But fun isn't far. Just across University Avenue from the NMSU campus sit three local restaurants convenient for a pregame meal or postgame drink.
The Game Sports Bar and Grill features a boisterous dining area near the bar, with several HD TVs. If you're looking for a more relaxing experience, The Game also offers more intimate seating, indoors and out. It's all festooned with Aggie memorabilia. No matter where you sit, there are 42 beers on tap and tasty green chile cheeseburgers on the menu.
East of The Game, and a bit smaller, is Dublin's Street Pub. It has a full-service bar and diverse menu. If you're looking for takeout, check out Santa Fe Grill. The short order cook will hook you up with flavorful and unique burritos as thick as a linebacker's arm.
So many years of let downs have taken a toll on NMSU football fans. The Aggies rarely sell out their 30,343-seat stadium, and generally only fill it beyond 50 percent capacity for rivalry games. Typically, if NMSU struggles early in the year, the attendance will suffer all season.
The regular fans behave mostly how you would expect. As a whole, the fans aren't as involved as those at more prominent and successful schools. NMSU's fanbase isn't particularly demanding "" this is not a group with an inclination for booing. And they do seem to be more grateful for the few wins the Aggies generally accumulate.
Despite their team's lack of football prowess, tenured Aggie fans have witnessed plenty of spectacular games. Unfortunately, the result usually leaves them disheartened. The Aggies have lost blowout games, and squandered leads in incredible ways during their history. Wins are often close and dramatic.
The lack of attendance makes Aggie Memorial Stadium a breeze in terms of accessibility. It's close to I-25, so it's easy to find. There are plenty of secondary roads that can take you to the stadium, so even if a large crowd is expected, it's not a nightmare to navigate. Most of the parking lots are free and a reasonable walking distance to your seat at Aggie Memorial Stadium. It has adequate restroom facilities, both in quantity and quality. You can take a restroom break without losing track of the game.
Season tickets are available at NMSU for around $50, less than the cost of a single game at many schools. NMSU single game tickets are less than $20. When you consider that, the free parking, and the average concession prices, the price seems about right. The football is often mediocre, but if the game is competitive, an evening at Aggie Memorial Stadium seems like a deal. If the game is not competitive, it could be seen as overpriced.
A seasoned sports fan probably won't be wowed by anything that happens during an average football game at Aggie Memorial Stadium. A couple parts of the show do stand out. In recent years the NMSU mascot, Pistol Pete, entered the stadium on a galloping horse and circled the field. On opponent third downs, the PA announcer urges fans to ring their cowbells.
Few places in college football offer weather as pleasant as Las Cruces, New Mexico. This isn't an experience to go out of your way for if you're not a fan of either team playing, but it can provide a reasonably priced college football experience.
There are no crowd reviews yet. Be the first and help us build with your expertise!
2605 S Espina
Las Cruces, NM 88001
1745 E University Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88001
There are no local entertainment entries. Help us build with your expertise!
There are no local lodging entries. Help us build with your expertise!