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Official Review by Drew van der Poel, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Up until UConn’s transition at the turn of the century, the lone FBS team in New England was the Boston College Eagles. Opened in 1957, and expanded in 1971 and 1995, Alumni Stadium seats 44,500 spectators. The Eagles’ lone national championship is merely claimed by the college, coming in 1941, as it isn’t recognized by the NCAA due to none of the polls at the time awarding a title.
Perhaps the most famous time period at Alumni Stadium was during Doug Flutie’s tenure in the eighties. While the northeast doesn’t take college football as serious as the rest of the country, Alumni Stadium provides a good fan experience.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is really just your typical game-day fare at Alumni Stadium. Nothing really stands out, but prices aren't ridiculous at least. There is clam chowder available, a New England staple. Different groups run some of the concessions stands.
Alumni Stadium is pretty strict on what is able to be brought into the stadium, so one should definitely review their policies before attempting to bring food or drinks in. Beer is not sold at this on-campus facility.
Boston College has a gorgeous campus, especially on a fall Saturday. The exterior of Alumni Stadium blends in really well with the rest of the college, with a light colored brick façade. BC is located in the suburb of Chestnut Hill, just west of Boston. An upscale area, you would have no idea that FBS power conference football was played in this neighborhood.
The concourses are small and under the stadium, but it's interesting that they give you a feel to how all stadium concourses used to be. Given the size of the concourses, they can get congested during busy times, but there is an effortless flow to them twenty minutes before kickoff.
Seats are mostly metal bleachers without backs, but provide good sightlines, other than the obstructions that railings create. If you are in the upper sideline, avoid sitting at the ends of rows 5-9, as there are railings that can obstruct up to half of your view of the field.
The upper decks however provide a great view point of the game, as you can see everything in the relatively small stadium. Sitting behind the BC sideline allows you to see the midfield logo correctly, and provides an even bigger advantage as Conte Forum (home to BC basketball and hockey) is directly behind you, and used for concessions and bathrooms. Furthermore, the press box and suite area provides this side of the stadium with ample shade by the second half.
The BC band is pretty good and they provide quality entertainment. There are video boards at either end of the stadium, but they're pretty small and don't always show replays when expected. The sound quality is good throughout the stadium, and Baldwin the Eagle keeps the fans entertained.
The neighborhood is very nice, but not all that welcoming. The storefronts to the north of campus are all about their BC pride, but the neighborhood itself could care less about the school's athletics it seems. There is zero street parking available in this neighborhood, and if you park illegally you will be towed.
There are some eateries (pizza, sandwiches, etc.) in the aforementioned area just north of campus, but they aren't sprawling with BC fans. Flat Breads is a good choice, as they have quality sandwiches that won't break the bank. Most fans choose to tailgate on Shea Field, but you need a special permit to park there. There are other sporadic tailgates throughout campus, with parking only available for donors and season ticket holders.
The area is safe and there is police presence throughout campus. I'm sure this is a great place to live, but it isn't great for fans, especially if you're a family just trying to go to one game. Without the proper permits, one is forced to either take the T or the shuttle to the game.
This is Boston however, so if you're staying in town for more than just the game, then head into the city. There's certainly plenty to explore.
Fans seem to be hit or miss. They are knowledgeable and lots of them wear their BC Superfan shirts. There are also a lot of senior citizens who show up to the game wearing their BC paraphernalia and root on their Eagles. This is where the good attributes end for me. I realize that they were playing perhaps the second worst team on their home slate this season, and I wasn't expecting a sell-out, but I did expect the fans in attendance to be there for more than half the game. At kickoff, the stadium wasn't even close to half full. In the two upper end zone sections combined there were less than a couple hundred people. The student section was full of holes, as were the upper sideline sections.
Luckily things looked to turn around by the end of the first quarter. The student section filled in nicely, as did the sidelines, with empty seats appearing solely at the upper corners. Then, by the middle of the third quarter, the stadium was half empty again, and continuing to empty out. Not a good showing by the BC faithful.
They are very accepting of visiting fans, who mostly sit in the southeast corner of the stadium.
Located on the BC campus, Alumni Stadium can be accessed a number of ways, but car really isn't one of them. If you are a single game ticket holder and want to drive, you either have to secure a parking pass from a season ticket holder, or drive to the off-campus shuttle location.
Luckily, Alumni Stadium is easily accessible by the T. The B, C, and D green line trains can all put you within a relatively short walking distance of the stadium. The terminal point on the B line stops right at Boston College, from which the stop appropriately takes its name. The D line stops at Chestnut Hill and this puts you a ten minute walk away, through a nice neighborhood. Taking the T is $2.50 each way, and if you park at another station, the whole process can take 10 bucks, which is a good deal.
The restrooms are pretty small throughout the stadium, but the ones in Conte Forum are beyond adequate and there is never a wait there.
Getting into the stadium is fairly easy, and overall, Alumni Stadium is quite accessible.
Due to conference affiliation, BC football tickets are pretty expensive, with the cheapest ones coming in at $25 (upper end zone versus the two worst teams on the home slate). Luckily, the secondary market is a viable option, and we were able to score tickets on the 30 yard line for 16 bucks each. Everything appears to be fairly priced other than the tickets themselves.
If you break the bank, you likely won't find the experience to be worthwhile, but if you're willing to do so, probably go when Notre Dame, Florida State, or another big time program is in town, as this will provide the best atmosphere.
One point for the fact that this is clearly Boston College's stadium, as it is decorated accordingly.
One point for the Doug Flutie statue.
And one point because this really isn't a bad game day experience, there are just some big flaws that need to be ironed out. It appears that new AD Brad Bates is doing his best to do so.
College football teams play about six home games a year. If you go and get tickets to the game, you should be in your seat for kickoff and stay until the result is no longer in doubt. Especially the student section, which live right there on campus and have no where they immediately need to be. A real poor display by the so-called super fans leaves a bad taste in my mouth, hindering what was otherwise a solid experience. Once the Eagles can get fans in the seats for a full four quarters, not just the second and third, this could be a real great football experience.
Member Review by jonah
Being a college athlete in Boston has always been a tough gig. It's a pro sports town, and the recent success of the professional teams has only made it harder for the city's major programs to attract much attention. Despite the fact that Boston College has sent scores of players to the NFL over the years, some of whom have even become stars (see Matt Ryan), the football program that plays on the edge of the city still struggles to fill its stands. While Alumni Stadium certainly provides a pleasant experience for the casual fan, it lacks the excitement and passion that you find surrounding many other top-tier college football experiences.
Member Review by collegiatestdms on Sep 21, 2011
I'll never understand how Boston College has such a hard time drawing fans to an ok stadium situated at the edge of Boston on a beautiful campus.
The originial reviewer did a great job on this one so I don't want to steal too much of their thunder.
Parking was a pain and I had a media pass, can't imagine what it would be like without a pass. I highly recommend taking the metro lightrail train thing into the game. I saw cars getting towed left and right when I got there.
Hot dogs were $4, high for where I am from but a good price when compared to my visit to fenway later in the day.
Would love to know who rated this a 4.7 as they are out of their mind. A 2.5 to 3 is about right based on the lack of fans.
1960 Beacon St
Brighton, MA 02135
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