For many decades Boston College was the only FBS school in all of New England. Even with the elevation of UConn and UMass to college football’s top division, Boston College remains the marquee program in New England. Football has been played at Boston College since 1892, and BC is currently only one of two Catholic Universities playing in the FBS (Notre Dame being the other). Boston College claims one unofficial national title in their history, won in 1940. Eagles football teams annually rank amongst the top in the nation in academic achievement and graduation rates.
For the first half-century of its existence, the Eagles football team played many of their games at either Fenway Park or Braves Field, as the original Alumni Field proved to be too small for the popular team. In 1957 the university built a 26,000 seat stadium on the lower campus, which has been expanded to its present capacity of 45,000 over the years. Alumni Stadium also served as the home for the Boston Patriots for the 1969 season.
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".
Concessions at Alumni Stadium do not stray very far from your stadium basics. Permanent concession stands located on the main concourse offer hot dogs, burgers, sausage sandwiches, pizzas, and assorted snacks. What variety is present here is achieved through the use of portable carts, at which fans can find offerings including local favorite Meatball Obsession. Fans looking for healthier choices can find a portable stand selling assorted wraps, salads, chowder (a must-have menu item in Boston), and fruit. Quality of the concessions here is decent, and prices are in line with other major venues in the area.
Coca-Cola products are featured at Alumni Stadium. Alcoholic beverages are not sold at this on-campus facility.
Depending on who the Eagles opponent is during your visit, this score may adjust up or down accordingly. On the whole Boston College fans are laid-back and reserved, and don't add a whole lot of energy to the stadium.
In fact, the laid-back atmosphere in Chestnut Hill starts long before the game even starts. Due to the limited space available at the Boston College campus, there is precious little space here for parking and tailgating. What space is available is reserved for season ticket holders and donors to the university's Flynn Fund. Practically every green space surrounding Alumni Stadium, including adjacent Shea Field, home of the Eagles' baseball team, is taken up by tailgaters. As a result, tailgating at Boston College is more of a wine and cheese scene. On the plus side, this makes a game at Boston College seem almost scholarly, and fits in with the Massachusetts location. A rowdy party scene just wouldn't feel right here in Chestnut Hill.
The energy present at Alumni Stadium is almost entirely due to the student body. Clad almost exclusively in their gold "superfan" t-shirts, the student body fills the southwest corner of the stadium no matter who the opponent may be. In addition, the excellent BC band provides entertainment throughout the game. Touches such as the "Eagles Walk" before the game add to the collegiate atmosphere.
The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of many "best place to live in America" lists.
There are a few areas in Chestnut Hill where you can shop or eat located within walking distance of the campus. Your best bet is to head to Cleveland Circle, about a 15 minute walk from the BC campus, where you will find, among other places, Eagle's Deli, which has been featured on several Travel Channel shows for its massive hamburger challenges. It's no wonder that it remains a favorite of Boston College students.
Streets in this area are frequently congested and busy, so be careful navigating this neighborhood. Fans visiting the area during months when the weather is cooperating may choose to spend some time down at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It's a favorite place for walkers or joggers, and there isn't a better spot to be in the fall or spring. From the shores of the reservoir you get a nice view of downtown Boston in the distance. For those fans interested in a faster paced environment, head downtown towards those tall buildings, there is more than enough going on there to keep anyone busy.
Fans visiting Boston College from out of town will find no shortage of places to stay in Boston. While there are few options immediately around the BC campus, many hotels are located within a few miles of Alumni Stadium. Since the college is easily accessed by the T, many fans find that leaving their cars at the hotel to be a more attractive alternative to driving to Chestnut Hill. The many tourist attractions of Boston are a short subway ride away, as well.
Boston College fans can be a fickle lot, picking and choosing which games they will attend. With Boston College's membership in the ACC, the team attracts its share of marquee home game. If attending one of these games against nationally ranked teams, expect close to a packed house. If visiting Chestnut Hill for a lesser opponent, don't be surprised if Alumni Stadium is only half full. Overall, the Eagles average just over 34,000 fans per game in a stadium that seats 45,000.
The student section is located on the southeast corner of Alumni Stadium. Again, the representation of the student body is entirely dependent on the day's opposition. Even when not filled to capacity, the students here manage to breathe life into what can otherwise be a staid and lethargic crowd.
Despite its location in the suburbs, the neighborhood around Boston College shares many of the same access issues as does its big-city neighbors. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of greater Boston by car can tell you how difficult driving in and around the area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet is to find a copilot who knows their way around.
Most native Bostonians will tell you that your best method to get to Boston College is to take public transportation, known in these parts as the "T". The green line's B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the Chestnut Hill campus. From here, it is a short walk to all points on campus. The Green Line's C train stops at Cleveland Circle, a 15 minute walk from campus. The Green Line's D train stops at Reservoir Station, and Boston College operates free shuttle busses that pick up riders from that station, as well as several other points around town. The complete route schedule can be viewed here.
For those who insist on driving, Boston College can be reached without actually entering into the city. If driving from the north or south, take Interstate 95 (also known as Rte. 128) to exit 24 (Rte. 30-Commonwealth Avenue). Follow this road about 5 miles, and you will find the Boston College campus on your left. If driving from the west, take Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) to exit 17. Follow Center Street to Commonwealth Avenue, and follow that for a mile and a half to the BC campus. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus.
Parking at Alumni Stadium on game day can be a major concern. Due to the lack of space at the Chestnut Hill campus, on campus parking on game days is reserved solely for season ticket holders who donate to the university's Flynn Fund. If you are lucky enough to score a parking pass to an Eagles game from a season ticket holder (that's the only way you can get one), you will have a very short walk from your car to the stadium. Fans without parking passes will be resigned to parking at one of three satellite lots, from which they can take complimentary shuttle busses to Alumni Stadium. More information on the parking situation can be found here. Taking the T to Boston College is definitely the easiest and most affordable way to get to Alumni Stadium.
On the inside, Alumni Stadium has a nostalgic feel to it. There is a single concourse that runs below the seating bowl. Getting around the stadium is fairly easy, although crowds can form at halftime. All seats are aluminum bleachers, although the premium seats around the 50 yard line are padded. Sitting behind the BC bench will allow you to see the logo right side up. If sitting in the upper level of the south end zone, fans can get a nice view of the Boston skyline in the distance. Restrooms, while on the small side, are more than adequate for a typical Eagles crowd, with lines forming at halftime.
Boston College utilizes variable pricing for their games at Alumni Stadium. Ticket prices range from $15-$30 for lesser games, and from $55-$75 for marquee games. Generally, tickets can be purchased on the day of the game, but if wanting to attend one of BC's bigger games, it is recommended that you purchase in advance.
Parking for Boston College football games, even in the satellite lots, can cost up to $40 per game. The shuttle busses to Alumni Stadium on campus are complimentary, which is small consolation for having to pay to park miles from the stadium. Parking in the area around Boston College is strictly prohibited, and your car will be towed, so don't even try it.
Doug Flutie- Even 30 years after the "Hail Flutie" play, Doug Flutie continues to cast an enormous shadow over Alumni Stadium. A statue of Flutie from the famous play in Miami is located outside of Gate D, and Flutie's retired jersey and likeness can be found inside Alumni Stadium. Flutie's number 22 jersey is the most worn jersey by far, even among students who weren't born until 10 years after he graduated.
Superfan T-shirts- A tradition started in the mid-90's by some Boston College students who were looking to bring a little cohesion and energy to Eagles crowds, these t-shirts can be seen on a great percentage of Eagles fans to this day throughout Alumni Stadium. In fact, on some days the student section appears to be one large sea of gold.
History- Conte Forum is attached to the western stands of Alumni Stadium, and its concourse and restrooms are open during BC football games. Fans looking for a taste of BC Athletic history should check out the trophy cases located inside, as well as the Boston College Hall of Fame and the assorted banners honoring the long history of the school's hockey and basketball teams. Banners honoring important football teams and players hang all along the concourse of Alumni Stadium, along with murals and retired jerseys inside the stadium.
Fans who are used to the lively game day scene of most FBS schools may be disappointed by the atmosphere here in Chestnut Hill. The fans who come to Chestnut Hill are, as a whole, laid-back and almost scholarly in their enjoyment of the game. This type of game day atmosphere is most fitting in New England, where big-time college football is an anomaly.
If visiting from out of town, your best bet is to leave your car at the hotel, take the T to this beautiful campus, and enjoy an afternoon of football in a most nostalgic of settings.
Follow all of Paul Baker's Stadium Journeys on Twitter @puckmanri.
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.
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.
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.
The two times I've visited BC it's been surprisingly loud for a stadium of its size(2006&2010). The fans were great however, I found it kind of weird that fans cannot tailgate 2 or 3 hours after the game due to neighborhood policy
BC is a good place to go watch a football game. The food is average, nothing crazy. The atmosphere is good with tailgating being good. The neighborhood is nice but hate BC football games. They always complain about night games. The fans are good. Big games are nearly sold out and very loud. Average to bad game are good but lack the huge game atmosphere. They still do ok with attendence though. Access is kinda bad. If u don't have season tickets u must park in needham and take a bus. Parking on campus is very expensive. Tickets for bad games go from 10-25. Average game 20-35. Big games 45-60+. So not bad. For extras, BC is 6 miles from Boston so there's stuff to do.
Alumni Stadium is a nice stadium, and is connected to the hockey arena so you can go inside to get warm during the game. There are additional concessions inside there that are open during football games, and you can check out the hockey trophies (BC tends to do a little better in hockey than football). But out in the stadium, you can see the Flutie and other jerseys hanging on the wall, so that is a nice touch. Parking is a bit of a pain, you probably have to park very far away in a parking garage and take a bus in. There is a ton to do in the area though, being Boston, but the weather could be an issue depending on when you go - I would stick to games in Sept or Oct at the latest.
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