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Official Review by Danica Rhoades, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matches a team from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) with a team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The bowl is televised nationally on one of the ESPN networks. The bowl (while previously under a different name) is the longest-running cold weather bowl game that is currently active. From 1997 to 2010, the bowl was known as the Humanitarian Bowl. The 2011 game was the inaugural Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. To date, 21 different teams have played in the bowl. At 4 appearances, Boise State has played in the bowl the most times. Cincinnati defeated Utah State, 35–19, in the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in 1997. Coincidentally, in 2011, Ohio defeated the Utah State, 24–23, in a thriller.
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".
At the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl concession window, visitors will find traditional fare like pretzels, hot dogs, candy, and popcorn. The beverage selection includes Coke products, sports drinks, and water. Alcohol is not served or permitted inside the stadium. Vendors in the stadium also offer mini donuts with a variety of dipping sauces, roasted nuts, kettlekorn, and pizza. All items are reasonably priced for a sporting event.
Because of the title sponsor for the bowl has changed often over the years, there is some lack of identity for the bowl. As 2011 was the inaugural Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, even local fans who attend the bowl game regularly were not sure what to expect. Several activities were provided prior to the start of the game to keep fans entertained. There was a Battle of the Bands, a snowmobile jump exhibition sponsored by Monster, a flyover, and a balloon release.
There are a few establishments near the stadium for fans and visitors to stop in before, after, or even during the game. Some of them, like Suds and the End Zone, try to create a fun atmosphere for fans that can't get tickets to the game, but still want to be near the action. Others, like Chili's, Baja Fresh, The Ram, Pie Hole Pizzeria, Subway, Starbucks, and Burger King, provide traditional food and beverage options. Beyond the establishments in the area, fans are encouraged to tailgate.
The stadium was fairly full for the first half of the game, but for reasons unknown, many did not return after half time. The game was close, the teams were evenly matched, the weather was beautiful, and the game started in mid-afternoon so the large number of deserting fans was curious. However, the fans that did stay for the complete game were very active and engaged. A large number of Utah State fans traveled to the game, due to the easy distance and the significance the game had for their program. Many Boise State fans attend the game annually to support the bowl, and often supporting the WAC opponent featured.
Bronco Stadium provides plenty of access to parking. Fans can park in parking lots and structures all over campus for reasonable prices, or even free in some areas. The school also arranges for shuttles to take fans between the more-distant lots and the stadium. There is also ample access to bathrooms both inside and outside the stadium. Port-a-potties are provided all around the parking lot surrounding the stadium for those fans tailgating on game days. Inside, there are several restrooms available on the upper and lower levels of the stadium.
Considering that this bowl features a WAC team against a MAC team, and is held in the cold weather in December, the pricing seems rather high. The majority of seats in the stadium, upper and lower level, were priced at $50. The corner seats were $30. End zone seats were $18 a piece.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl trophy features a crystal bowl filled with real potatoes. As far as trophies go, that is pretty hard to top. The Idaho Grower Shippers Association donated three potatoes to The Idaho Foodbank for each fan that attended the game. More than 28,000 fans attended the game, which equates to more than 84,000 potatoes.
Photo attributed to Bsuorangecrush, Wikimedia.
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1024 Broadway Ave
Boise, ID 83706
1010 Broadway Ave
Boise, ID 83706
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