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Official Review by Tamara Dooley, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Albertsons Stadium (formerly known as Bronco Stadium), home of The Blue, is the third stadium in Boise State’s short history. The university has grown from a junior college with a thousand-seat field with wooden bleachers in the 1940’s, to the current incarnation, with a capacity of 36,387. The turf was upgraded in 2008 to the new FieldTurf surface. The Stueckle Sky Center was completed in 2012, with three levels of luxury boxes and a modern press box. A new football complex was completed with coach’s offices, state of the art weight room, locker room, and recruiting lounge in 2013. The stadium also houses the Allen Noble Hall of Fame, the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and Larry and Marrianne Williams Plaza.
Unique in all of football is The Blue, the world’s first blue Astro Turf field. First installed in 1986 basically as a way to make Boise State stand out during their days in Division 2, it has transformed in to a rallying point for the Boise State team and fans. Between the talent on the field and Boise State’s loud and dedicated fans, the Bronco’s home field advantage is daunting, racking up a win percentage of 82.4% since the turf was installed.
There are lots of myths about the turf itself – everything from birds dying in scores by diving headfirst on to the turf, to it being an unfair advantage for Boise State to play in their traditional all blue uniforms at home. The Blue is one of Boise’s most popular places to see. Not only does Boise State football play here, it is also home of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, a cold weather bowl played between the Mountain West Conference and the Mid-American Conference.
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".
Standard food and beverage options are available, soda, hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, hotdogs. Also, stands for hand-dipped corn dogs, mini donuts, tacos, and warm candied almonds. Alcohol is prohibited inside Albertson's Stadium, but is allowed in the parking lots and Stueckle Sky Center. Prices are reasonable for the high quality of options provided. The mini-donuts with caramel dipping sauce are a local favorite.
Albertsons Stadium is a very high-energy place to watch a football game. The noise level has been measured as high as 123 decibels during the 2014 season. Boise State's marching band, The Blue Thunder adds traditional college football ambiance and entertainment. Of course, The Blue is deserving of its own mention, as the only non-green playing surface among FBS programs. Bronco players are led out of the tunnel at the beginning of the game by a horse and rider, with the first player out carrying The Hammer (awarded to the last game's best special teams player or player with the biggest hit.) Bronco fans chant "Boise! State!" with opposite sides of the stadium answering each other. It's bright, loud, and a very entertaining show.
The area around the stadium is mostly residential and student housing on the south side, with downtown to the north, but there are quite a few restaurants and bars in close proximity to the stadium itself. Lots of fast food options, plus Busters Sports Bar and Grill, Pie Hole Pizza, Cobby's Sandwich Shop, The Ram Brewpub, and Suds. Tailgating happens in lots all around the stadium.
Bronco fans are said to be among the nicest fans in college football. They are loud, but at the right times, and are generally friendly and knowledgeable about their team and the sport. There are chants to participate in, and the university is doing a great job of engaging fans in the stadium experience over social media.
The student section is also loud and well organized. The only drawback is that fans are still adjusting to the recent trend of 8pm kickoffs, which while beautiful in September, can be rather chilly in late November. This often results in some folks filing out before the game is over to go home and warm up, especially if the team is up big or temperatures fall to single digits. Hard to blame them, especially those with children, but the stadium is a much different place in the 4th quarter vs. the 1st during the latter half of the season for the late evening starts.
Parking is fairly inexpensive in comparison with some other stadiums and shuttles run from downtown for hours surrounding game times. It is possible to find free parking on surrounding streets as well. There is plenty of access to restroom facilities, as well as elevator access to the upper areas of the stadium. The restrooms are cleaned often and even have heaters which can help immensely during cold weather games.
Increasing ticket prices and other fees have been a talking point inside Bronco Nation for several years, and ROI is debated at length, especially in recent years when the stadium has not quite been selling out for all home games. Upgrades to the stadium such as the video board and sound system have greatly improved the experience, as well as expansion of alcohol boundaries during tailgating. Ticket prices do seem to be slowly normalizing to the local economy more and more each season, and with such a unique atmosphere, $25 for the north end zone at the lowest is a screaming good deal for the level of football being played at Boise State.
Albertsons Stadium is on the banks of the Boise River, nestled amongst the trees at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It is a very picturesque setting for one of the most interesting college stadiums in the country. The Boise River Greenbelt also runs along the north side of campus, directly next to the Bleymeyer Football Complex, and the Cavens-Williams indoor practice facility. There is an outdoor, real grass practice facility nearby as well.
The stadium is home to the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, an award given internationally to athletes engaged in humanitarian efforts as well as excelling athletically. The Allen Noble Hall of Fame is a tribute to great Broncos who contributed to the winning traditions at Boise State.
The Stueckle Sky Center, while also being the luxury option for watching the Broncos play, is a gorgeous venue in its own right with 240 degree views of downtown Boise, the river, and The Blue itself and is available to the public to reserve for events.
Member Review by DaniRho11
For many people, the desire to visit Bronco Stadium is driven by an element of novelty, much like the one that compels people to take in the bearded lady's show at the circus. Yes, the blue turf is slightly odd and intriguing, especially considering that it was the first non-green playing surface in the world, but Bronco Stadium has so much more to offer.
Boise State had two previous Bronco Stadiums before the current facility was erected in 1970. At that time, the stadium's capacity was 14,500. As the football program has had success, additions have been made to the stadium, which now has a capacity of 33,500.
Beyond hosting Boise State's home football match ups, the stadium is also home to the school's outdoor track events, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and many local high school football games. Twice Bronco Stadium has hosted the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships, in 1994 and 1999.
Member Review by baseballamerica on Jul 14, 2013
This stadium is absolute garbage. It looks like they instruction crew grabbed whatever materials they could find in the area. It seems that they installed the blue turf to get people to focus on the field rather than their surroundings. A stadium that sits 35k and has a hard time selling out shouldn't be ranked very high.
Member Review by HarshCritic on Sep 06, 2013
This is a great place to visit. Great location (near the river), with great views of the mountains (what Boise calls the "foothills"), growing stadium with new amenities, the suite is very fitting & stylish, and oh yeah, THE BLUE.
Yes, people who think they are "traditional" fans think the blue turf is ridiculous, but I'm sure those same people feel their QB's should not be black. It's a dang field and the fact that it is blue rather than green like the 100's of other fields makes it unique and fun and frankly cool. I've traveled to many stadiums and I love it when I get a chance to visit this stadium
Member Review by allstardi23 on Jul 29, 2015
I really enjoy watching games on the Blue, food is excellent, the new suites are amazing, and the crowd is incredibly loud for only holding 35K. Tailgate area before the game was great and the fans are incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to football.
Member Review by Aaron S. Terry on Oct 06, 2015
The atmosphere and fans are pretty good, and certainly the blue turf makes is unique. A little disconcerting to look at though. The biggest problem is that Boise is far from everything, which isn't so much a knock on the stadium, just the location (which can't be helped). Food options are decent, parking is easy enough, and there are several places to hang out before or after the game - maybe not the same feel as other towns, but certainly decent. Ticket prices are also fair, so Albertsons is worth a visit it you can make it happen.
709 East Park Boulevard
Boise, ID 83712
1016 South Broadway Avenue
Boise, ID 83706
1326 South Broadway Avenue
Boise, ID 83706
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