BB&T Field (formerly Groves Stadium) is located in Winston-Salem, NC, and opened in 1968. With a capacity of 31,500, it is the smallest stadium in the ACC, as well as the smallest venue among the FBS Big 5 conferences. The stadium has received numerous upgrades and renovations in the past decade, and is now a stylish, modern stadium with beautiful brickwork and an impressive six-story press box, known as Deacon Tower.
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".
In terms of concessions, you couldn't ask for much more than what BB&T Field has to offer - besides the main stands inside the concourse, which offer a lot of options, the venue also boasts myriad food trucks and satellite stands all around the stadium with additional choices.
The main stands offer your typical stadium fare, such as hot dogs, chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, pretzels, and popcorn, and the prices are reasonable - a burger with fries costs $8, and a hot pretzel costs $4, for example. In addition, there are many satellite stands that offer some of the same items, but also have ice cream, funnel cake, and other such items. There are also food trucks from local restaurants like Zeko's, which have Philly cheese steaks, gyros, and pitas - the nice thing about these smaller stands and food trucks is that they tend to be clustered in the open areas above each end zone, which is convenient, since there aren't any of the larger stands in those locations.
See the video for a quick tour of some of the satellite stands above Deacon Hill:
Drink options from the main stands include water, Gatorade, coffee, hot cocoa, and Pepsi products, and you can even buy fountain refills for $2. The food trucks and satellite stands add lemonade, specialty coffees, smoothies, and other choices. There is also a beer garden called Top Hat Tavern located above Deacon Hill.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting and unique item for sale at BB&T Field is the Jelly Donut Burger (or you can get the non-jelly version). This is exactly what it sounds like - a beef patty with cheese and jelly, but with two glazed donuts in place of the bun. A few of my fellow fans were appalled by the very idea, but trust me, this delicacy is worth trying. It is the same $8 as a regular burger, and comes with fries, which I did not care much for, as they were way too salty.
BB&T Field is modern, well laid-out, and has a solid (albeit relatively small) crowd. There is lots of tailgating both inside and out, as well as a statue of the mascot, and several architectural features, such as bridges, that enhance the look and feel. There are also plaques and banners in abundance to thank donors and commemorate bowl game appearances.
Most of the seats are metal bleachers with chairback rails, but there are some plastic bucket-style seats if you prefer - either in the middle of the alumni side (sections 4-7) or in the north end zone. The south end zone is called Deacon Hill, and features lawn seating (bring your own blanket). There is also a new option on the east side called premium student seating - quasi-temporary "boxes" are set up in the upper left corner of the east grandstand, complete with carpeting and catered food; these "boxes" can be reserved by student groups. The video board is above Deacon Hill, and is absolutely huge, so you will have no problem seeing it even from the other side of the field.
Be sure to be on time, so you don't miss the pre-game fireworks or the mascot (the Demon Deacon) riding around on his motorcycle. The venue is small enough that there aren't any terrible seats, but I would stick to the first 30 rows or so, just to avoid unnecessary stair climbing. The WF logo on the turf is oriented toward the alumni side, so sit on that side if you want right-side up pictures of it.
Winston-Salem isn't really a destination town, and the area around the stadium, located about a mile from campus, is a little sketchy, with some questionable neighborhoods nearby.
There are a couple of restaurants within easy walking distance of BB&T Field, including The Last Resort, a dive bar which has live music and several large screens, and a fun atmosphere especially on Monday nights. There is also Red Hot & Blue right next door, which is known for its burgers and has a good beer selection. Putter's Patio & Grill is a little further away (but is still walkable), and features Winston-Salem's best steaks, plus cheap drinks.
There is a Courtyard Marriott within walking distance, but there are plenty of cheaper options a little further out, if you are looking to save some green.
Even during non-marquee games, Wake Forest fans are loud and proud, and very supportive of their team. Even at full capacity though, BB&T Field will never provide the euphoria of big-time stadiums like Michigan or Nebraska that have three-to-five times as many in attendance. If that is more your style, at least try to choose a conference game here against an in-state opponent like UNC; those games typically will have the most intensity.
At a typical game the stadium might be one-half to two-thirds full, although Wake Forest does sell out for certain games. While I applaud the fans who do show up, the fact that the stadium has been around for 40-plus years and still barely sits more than 30K underscores the fact that there simply isn't that much fan support.
BBTF is easy to get to, and is well set up for the traffic flow on game days. Note that LJVM Coliseum, home of the Demon Deacons' arguably more well-known basketball squad, is located across the street from the football field, so the local authorities have had lots of practice getting people in and out quickly.
There is plenty of cash parking near the field, for $5 or $10, depending on how close you want to get. You are probably better off parking further out, though, as that will make it easier to leave.
There are several entrances into the stadium - use Gates 1 & 2 for the Alumni side, Gates 3 & 4 for the opposite side, or Gate 5 for Deacon Hill. Will call is located at Bridger Field House, which is on the opposite end from Deacon Hill, so you may want to print your tickets ahead of time (unless you want a better souvenir than a plain piece of paper).
Once you get inside the stadium, the concourses are plenty wide, and there are more than enough bathrooms to accommodate everyone. There are also lots of entrances into the grandstand, so it should be easy to get to your seat.
Ticket prices for Wake Forest football depend entirely on the game you pick - for a D2 opponent, they start as low as $10 each, while for other games, they start at $17, $22, or $27 (for bleacher seats with chair rails), and go up to $55-$65 for the chairbacks. Tickets on Deacon Hill are slightly cheaper, but they tend to sell out first. However, parking is cheaper than most venues, and concessions are in line with what you might pay elsewhere. All that said, a visit is worthwhile cost-wise on the lower end, but I am not sure I would pay more than $20 per ticket.
One point for the architecture - BBTF is really a great looking stadium, with lots of nice brickwork and a very impressive main entrance (Gate 1).
A second point for the motorcycle-riding mascot - a few other venues do something similar, but it is still lots of fun to watch.
A third point for the variety of seating options, including Deacon Hill and the premium student seating - non-traditional ways to see a game that add a unique element.
All in all, BB&T Field is a beautiful stadium that is easy to move around and has lots of food and beverage options. The location leaves a little to be desired, however, and the fan base could definitely be stronger.
Things have come a long way since my first Wake Forest football experience. What
started as a relaxed, underwhelming game day has turned into one of the best small
stadium atmospheres in college football. Groves Stadium underwent a name change (to
BB&T Field), the team itself earned an ACC Championship, and Athletic Director Ron
Wellman went a long way toward his goal of making BB&T Field the "Wrigley Field of
Obviously, the improvement on the field had a lot to do with the additions, but so did
the vision of Wellman. Fans have a more pleasant venue, recruits have something to get
excited about, and the players can be proud of their stadium now. The school has also
done a lot to enhance tailgating as well.
So although BB&T Field continues to be a work in progress, it is a beautiful stadium with
some truly first class features. The bathrooms are clean and updated, Deacon Tower is
gorgeous, the new video board is breathtaking, and the stadium itself looks modern, yet
classic. As far as college venues go, it is pretty darn nice.
BB&T Field is the right size for people who are intimidated by the massive college coliseums but brings with it great D-1 action. A top-rate scoreboard and cheap tickets are pluses.
I almost scored it 5 across the board. Only two things are needed to improve the experience. More students attending (but Wake is small so that is hard to do), and more seat back chairs. Since Wake's population is small they need to think of ways to fill the stadium (i.e., give free seats to area high school honors students, give to local nonprofits to honor community service, give to local church groups, discount tickets to those who live in the same zip code, free tickets to those who partner with Wake for community service, etc.).
Imagine if you will: the general anxiety that often accompanies attending a big-time major college football game. You often -- and this is especially the case if you are a fan of the visiting team -- have to worry about fighting traffic to and from, searching for parking that is often reserved or a distant walk from the stadium and at the very least costly, and waiting in long lines to get through the NFL-style checkpoints to merely have the right to scan your ticket and pass through the gates. And all of that must occur before even glancing at the playing field.
Once inside, the anxiety often continues, in the form of concessions hassles, long waits for restroom facilities, overpriced merchandise and memorabilia, extremely tight seating confines, and the inevitable presence of that beyond-drunk and obnoxious fan. The multitude of impending anxieties that accompanies a major college football game often leave a sports fan tired before the ball is even in the air. Often -- and again, this is especially the case for the visiting fan -- the only way that the headache and hassles are eased is by ending the day with a victory and a hearty “See Ya’!” salute to the home team.
Such is not the case when attending a Wake Forest Demon Deacons football game at BB&T Field. I dare say that not a single facility in major college BCS-level football can rival the ease and lack of hassle of attending a game at the former Groves Stadium. If you are a fan of the Deacons, then you know that you will be spending six Saturdays a year in some of the most comfortable confines imaginable.
If you are a fan of the visiting team you know that by venturing to Winston-Salem to see your team play, you will not have to worry about all of the logistics the way you would if traveling to Tallahassee’s Doak-Campbell Stadium or Clemson’s Memorial Stadium. You know that you will be able to dedicate all of your attention to supporting your boys on the gridiron.
And if you are simply a fan of football and looking for an enjoyable stadium experience while watching a battle between well-known entities…well, then, BB&T Field is the place for you. With a listed permanent seating capacity of 31,500, the 45-year old facility is the smallest of all home stadiums for teams residing in the BCS power conferences. The presence of a large, gently-sloping bank in one end zone can allow attendance to exceed that number by a noticeable margin. The current record crowd for a game at BB&T Field is just shy of 38,000 for a game against Tobacco Road rival North Carolina in 2004.
But do not let that word “smallest” or the ease of a visit fool you. Nothing about BB&T Field will make you think of the aluminum bleachers with the raggedy chain link fence around them found down at the neighborhood D-II school. Everything at Wake Forest is done with class.
Long-time Wake AD Ron Wellman made sure of as much during his years at the helm. When Wellman first came to Winston-Salem, he had a vision for Demon Deacon athletics, and one important aspect of that vision was to improve the facilities, and more specifically those of then Groves Stadium. He wanted to create a gameday atmosphere that would make the small school’s loyal alumni base excited to get back to campus on fall Saturdays, and at the same time make it easier to recruit qualifying players to wear the black and gold.
Wellman wanted the Deacons' home turf to eventually be known as the “Wrigley Field of College Football”: small but major-league, intimate but possessing a big-time feel, classic but modern, with modern amenities expected in today’s facilities arms race. Even without Wellman at Wake Forest, that goal remains, with improvements being made to BB&T Field each year, as the mission continues to establish Wake Forest as THE team in this part of North Carolina and the Deacons' home turf as a showpiece of Atlantic Coast Conference football.
USED TO GO TO THE WAKE GAMES BACK IN 04-07 BEFORE I MOVED AWAY.THEN WENT BACK IN 14 I WAS BLEW AWAY WITH ALL THE IMPROVEMENT. THAT WAS DONE. I AM KINDA SHOCKED THAT THE CITY DOES NOT BACK THEIR COLLEGE TEAM UP. IT SEEMS THAT THEY HAVE A HARD TIME BRINGING PEOPLE IN TO SEE THE GAME.
Paid 10 dollars for 2 Hill tickets to see a nationally ranked Florida State team. Spent 40 dollars between parking, a loaded nacho, large drink, tickets and parking. Got a great Acc game out of it and was able to sit in Sec 13 and sit at the very top and still had a seat closer then most lower level seats in the ACC. Fans were helpful and kind. Would highly recommend.
The smallest venue in the Power 5 conferences goes to BB&T Field at Wake Forest. But it sure packs a punch. It is definitely a nice venue from a stadium and structural standpoint and really the place is definitely a nice spot to watch a football game.
THE POSITIVES: As I said, the structure is fine for what it is worth. Oversized high school stadium? Perhaps, but you don't really feel that in here. I liked the brick touches all around the place on the outside and the inside while Deacon Hill was a nice spot. The food had a lot of variety from places in and around Winston-Salem. I tried some bacon soup and it was great on a cold night against Clemson. The fans were fairly supportive but a lot of Clemson fans made the trek there en route to the national championship. The entrance for the Deacons was excellent as well.
THE NEGATIVES: Probably the big sticky bit is the location. Just nothing really close by for Wake Forest to do anything. Access is hit or miss if you're from out of town.
OVERALL: A great and underrated football stadium and while the Deacons aren't powerhouses by any means, you still get quality football played there.
2806 University Pkwy
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
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Winston-Salem, NC 27105
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Winston-Salem, NC 27105
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Winston-Salem, NC 27106
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3111 University Pkwy
Winston-Salem, NC 27105