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Drake Stadium

Des Moines, IA

Home of the Drake Bulldogs



Drake Stadium (map it)
2719 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311

Drake Bulldogs website

Drake Stadium website

Year Opened: 1925

Capacity: 14,557

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Off Track

Drake Stadium was built in 1925 and houses the Drake Relays, one of the bigger track and field events in the United States, as well as the Drake University Bulldogs football team. The stadium underwent a significant renovation in 2005 where capacity was decreased from 18,000 to its current size of 14,557. The stadium, the biggest in the 12 member Pioneer League, also hosts high school football and numerous other track and field events.

The football field is named after Johnny Bright, Drake alum, who is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. The Drake football team has won 13 conference championships. The team is also significant historically as being one of the participants in the first ever night game at Soldier Field in 1930 (against Oregon).


What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    2

The menu offers just the basics. Pizza ($3.50), hot dogs, or sausage ($3) are the primary offerings. Popcorn, pretzels, nachos, candy, and pickles are also available for $2 to $4.

Coca-Cola products are the choice of soda at $3 or $5 depending on the size. Water and Powerade bottles are $3, and coffee or hot chocolate will cost you $2. As is the general practice at most NCAA sporting events, no alcohol is sold in the stadium.

Atmosphere    2

Drake Stadium is a track and field stadium with a football field stuck in the middle of it. Front row seats still leave you a long way from the field because there are eight lanes for track events and a jumping pit. As such, the true football experience is difficult to replicate.

A large scoreboard is located on the north side of the stadium. Like much of the stadium, it appears football was an afterthought with the scoreboard. The scoreboard will give you the score and the time remaining in the quarter. If you want to see the down, yards to go, and yard line the ball is on, there is a small board in the southwest corner for that.

Drake has their own version of the tunnel entrance that is so popular amongst college football teams. The students come out on the field and form two lines. The team charges out of the tunnel, entering the field between the students and cheerleaders. It's a nice idea, but the lack of students prohibits the occasion from being very festive.

Neighborhood    4

Drake Stadium is located on the Drake campus and is surrounded by a residential area. However, downtown Des Moines is less than four miles away and offers plenty to eat, drink, and see. If you are looking to stay in the immediate area, Jethro's BBQ is your best bet for food. Jethro's is a very popular Des Moines destination and offers great food and drink specials and is walking distance from the stadium.

Downtown Des Moines has enough options for everyone if BBQ isn't your thing. The High Life Lounge, featured on Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food" features top notch broasted chicken along with their well-known bacon-wrapped tater tots. High Life has shag carpet, old advertisements, and is total 70's. The food is great and drinks are plenty.

For a unique experience, Fong's Pizza is worth a visit. Fong's is a Chinese and pizza fusion restaurant. You can go the traditional pizza route or go for something as unique as crab rangoon pizza. Be sure and order the egg rolls. They are the best in town.

There are plenty of other options for food and drink as well as numerous hotels located near I-235. If time permits, the State Historical Museum and Iowa Capitol building are worth a visit and both located downtown.

Fans    2

The fans that actually attend the game are good fans. They are nice people and are into the game from the beginning. The problem is there are so few of them. The Drake fans all sit together which makes for a nice few sections but inside a big stadium, there is no effect on the game itself.

Access    4

Drake Stadium is located in a residential area on campus but is easy to access and is located a few blocks off I-235. There are plenty of areas to park around the stadium and parking is free. Once inside, concourses are wide enough and easily maneuverable. Restrooms are clean and more than sufficient for the football crowd.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets are a good deal at $12 for adults and $6 for children under the age of 18. Children under 3 are free. With free parking and reasonable prices on food and drinks, Drake Stadium is a good deal if you want to see a football game.

Extras    1

The south side of the stadium has a nice display of bowl games and conference accomplishments the team has had over the years.

Final Thoughts

Drake Stadium appears to be more about track and field than football. As such, if you find yourself in Des Moines looking for a football game, it is worth a visit. If you are looking for a great stadium experience, this isn't it.

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Local Food & Drink

Jethro’s BBQ  (map it!)

3100 Forest Ave

Des Moines, IA 50311

(515) 279-3300


High Life Lounge  (map it!)

200 SW 2nd St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 280-1965


Fong’s Pizza  (map it!)

223 4th St

Des Moines, IA 50309

(515) 323-3333


Local Entertainment

Iowa Capitol Building  (map it!)

1007 E Grand Ave

Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-5591




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