On October 15, 2011, the Florida Atlantic University Owls did something that their older brothers at the University of Miami and the University of South Florida have yet to do.
They opened their own on-campus football stadium.
For those students that actually live on-campus, they can literally wake up, roll out of bed and within minutes be in their seats cheering on their favorite football team. They do not have to seek transportation and do not have to drive for a half hour to get to the facility.
Howard Schnellenberger served as head football coach for both the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University, two programs with polar opposite histories. Schnellenberger will always be remembered to UM fans as the coach that led Miami to its first national title in 1984. To Owl fans, he will be remembered as the man that built their program from the ground up and, more importantly, was the lead fundraiser and chief architect for their 29,419-seat on-campus stadium.
Despite winning five national titles, the University of Miami still has to play second fiddle to the Miami Dolphins as tenants at Sun Life Stadium. USF, like UM, takes the back seat at Raymond James Stadium and uses the same facilities as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not Florida Atlantic, however. They have their own house. They are the kings of their castle. After playing games at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium and then-Sun Life Stadium, the FAU Owls played their first game in their new nest against Western Kentucky on a historic October date.
The stadium is unique in that the view from the press box, which includes the loge boxes and luxury suites, gives the fan the unique perspective of being able to see the Atlantic Ocean from their seats. No other stadium in the nation can boast that, according to University publications. The view gives the fan a true taste of the beaches to which South Florida has become accustomed.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is no lack of food in FAU Stadium. One can obtain sub sandwiches, pizza or other Italian delicacies, barbecue or Philly cheese steak sandwiches. Nathan's Hot Dogs and pretzels are also available, as is Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream. The food is moderately-priced, and there is a price point for every budget. If you have a luxury suite or sky box, you can have your suite catered with higher-echelon food that is a bit more pricey. You definitely will not starve if you come to see the Owls play at FAU Stadium.
The collegiate atmosphere in the stadium itself is lacking, due to the fact that the team just does not draw a decent crowd. The stadium holds approximately 30,000 fans, and it would be something to see the stadium rocking for a big game against Florida, Florida State or Miami, but that might be a pipe dream for the time being.
There is no battle of the bands and it lacks a big-time college football atmosphere. However, one day that will be present at FAU, and the stands will be jumping. Still, though, the fans that were there when I visited were excited to see their team crush their in-state rivals.
The stadium itself is simply beautiful. It is an open-air stadium that is quite charming and cozy. When filled to capacity, it can give the home team an advantage, but not be so overwhelming that it loses its grace and charm.
The stadium is located in Boca Raton, one of the premier cities in all of South Florida. Once you leave the stadium, Boca Raton offers so much to the visitor. There are plenty of restaurants, night clubs and bars for even the most fickle fan. The University is close to the Boca Town Center Mall, which features high-end stores and caters to all sorts of shoppers. Town Center is one of the fastest growing malls in the state and is well-populated by the finest chain stores in the country.
As for food, PF Chang's and the Cheesecake Factory are down the street for those looking for a fancier fare, or the Shake Shack, a popular collegiate hangout, is also down the street for a more casual grub. Either way, even the most picky palate will have no problem finding food within minutes of leaving the stadium.
Florida Atlantic is a commuter school,and most of the students live off campus. Accordingly, the tailgating is at a minimum and the school spirit is lacking. The potential for this place to erupt one day as the school gets better players and the opponent is of higher quality can definitely be seen. This place has all the potential. It just needs better players and better opponents.
The stadium is located off of Glades Road, just off of I-95. It is easy to get to and due to the usual small crowds, traffic is a non-issue. Parking is abundant, but not cheap. The cheapest parking spot close to the stadium is $15.00.
Pedestrian foot traffic is easy to navigate, and ingress and egress is satisfactory. There are no problems walking in and out of the stadium, and using any of the main entrances to the stadium.
The stadium is a pleasure in which to view a game. The football I saw just was not to the level of some other schools in Florida. It would have been a better experience if the teams that played were better and that the stands were packed. This facility can be a recruiting tool in the future for FAU to get better talent.
Tickets at face value are readily available and can be bought from scalpers for below face value if you are lucky enough to find people with extras. The ticket prices start at $12.00 for advance purchase, and are commensurate with the value of football that you are getting in return.
It was nice to see the replays on the large screens on the scoreboards and also see a running total of statistics displayed on the main scoreboard. Other than that, there are not that many extras in the stadium. You do have to consider that the program and the facility are both in their infancy. When coming to a game at FAU, one must fall in love with the endless possibilities that the program could have in years to come. The facility is state of the art. It just needs the rest of the pieces of the puzzle to make it shine.
After playing home games in two separate stadiums in two different counties, the FAU Owls opened play in their own home on-campus stadium in October 2011. FAU Stadium seats 30,000 comfortably and leaves room for future renovation which could include expansion of over 65,000 seats and a roof. The stadium was built in conjunction with two apartment-style dorms on campus built directly east of the stadium.
FAU Stadium flaunts its subtropical culture all throughout and is surrounded by more than 300 palm trees. Its 145-foot press box is visible from any point on campus and from miles and highways away. The selling point is the slightly visible view of the Atlantic Ocean from the press box - the only Stadium in the country with this unique feature.
The city of Boca Raton is a mecca for the retiring community of the nation, but FAU Stadium is a welcome attraction to senior citizens, retirees, and students alike, providing a game-day attraction for anyone.
FAU, is still in the process of creating a name for it self, but FAU has one of the nicest stadiums in the country. This brand new stadium is one of few that have a real south florida experience include with the stadium. From the tail gating to the game you are bound to have a great time at a FAU football game
FAU HAS AN AMAZING STADIUM!!!!
FAU has only been playing football since 2001 and since then has achieved a number of impressive accomplishments including youngest team to defeat a Division 1 opponent and youngest team to play in (and win) a postseason bowl game (New Orleans Bowl, 2007). With legendary head coach Howard Schnellenberger steering the reins, FAU was finally able to move into this beautiful new 30k seat steel stadium in Fall of 2011.
The opening game was near-capacity and, throughout a tough rebuilding year in 2011 when the team went 1-11, the momentum waned and so did the crowds. Since then FAU has been trying to rebuild its fanbase, finally achieving bowl eligibility again in 2013. A typical 2013 audience is 5-10k people, a number also hampered by the fact that most of the teams that FAU plays at home don't travel well (if at all), leaving Boca to take up all the slack.
That's not to say the place feels dead. Far from it. FAU students - particularly the Greeks - come out by the thousands and congregate in front of the stadium in an area known as The Rat's Mouth (a common translation of Boca Raton is 'rat's mouth') and then they filter into the end zone and cheer loudly.
The majority of the alumni and community supporters sit on the west side because the stadium was the first to offer an open air bar that directly looks out onto the field, so ticketholders in that section can grab food and drinks and watch from tables instead of their seats. It's a facet soon to be copied by a number of other stadiums including UCF in Orlando because of its success.
There are many options for food: local favorite Mississippi Sweets BBQ should be your top target but they're joined by vendors for Moe's, Nathan's hot dogs, Dippin Dots, pizza, loaded nachos, italian sausage and pretzels. A Subway is permanently built into the stadium as well and open to students even when there isn't a game.
Boca Raton itself is safe, well-manicured and home to great golf courses and beaches. Although it's associated with wealthy retirees, the city actually has a fair amount of collegiate influence and support for younger people as well. The main attractions are Boomers family entertainment center, Mizner Park, iPic/Cinemark movie theaters, Gumbo Limbo and more.
FAU hotspots include NightOwl, O'Brians, Funky Buddah, Irishmen, Dubliner and Tanzy. Excellent restaurants abound but especially consider Las Fajitas Mexican, Biergarten, Munchiez/LaSpada's/620-Subs, Rebel House, Ninja Spinning Sushi and Boca's Best Pizza Bar. For breakfast (if it's a noon kickoff) check out Boca Diner or Tom Sawyer's... all of these are within 10 minutes drive of campus.
Enjoy your time in Boca Raton. It's a beautiful city and FAU stadium is its crown jewel.
9858 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33434
1229 W Palmetto Park Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33486
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