While Florida Atlantic University may not exactly be known for being a top notch FBS football school, the stadium in which they play certainly doesn’t mirror the program’s outward appearance. The Owls have only been bowl eligible on a couple of occasions, and while they have indeed tasted victory in them before (2007 New Orleans Bowl and 2008 Motor City Bowl), most people pass FAU football off as an also-played program. But do not let this second-tier status deter you from venturing to Palm Beach County for a quality afternoon of college football. FAU Stadium is beautiful, clean, impressive, comfortable, and family friendly in all respects while remaining easy to access from major highways.
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".
Football, or sports in general, in South Florida usually means great food. Food stands and vendors at FAU Stadium feature items you won't usually find outside of the region. Arepas and Cuban sandwiches are available alongside cheeseburgers and hot dogs. The best thing about the food offered is that the prices won't break your bank account. A burger, fries, and a soda will run about $12, a price point much lower than most college football stadiums.
In addition, fans who have tickets to the Delray Hyundai Deck will find themselves in the presence of a large bar with a great variety of alcoholic beverages in addition to practically every food choice the stadium offers in one place.
The atmosphere is a difficult thing to gauge at FAU games as it depends greatly upon the opponent, and where in the stadium you choose to sit. For those fans who are sitting near the students, the atmosphere can be on par with many other college football experiences. If you are sitting on the other side of the stadium near the visiting bench, you may be sitting in a sparse crowd.
One thing that does make the experience enjoyable is the arrangement of the stadium's orientation in relation to the sun. As the sun sets in the sky, it falls behind the press box and suite tower, casting a very long shadow full of relief from the heat of the South Florida sun, something that is unrelenting especially early in the season. The seats all have backs to them and are comfortable which also makes the game day experience quite comfortable. FAU Stadium offers a beautiful view of the Atlantic ocean from the stands, something no other stadium offers in South Florida.
Boca Raton is a beautiful part of Palm Beach County. In addition, FAU's campus is clean, South Florida-esque in appearance, and overall visually appealing. Not far from the campus is a beautiful strip shop that plays host to a PF Changs, J. Alexanders, Shake Shack, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and more. Equidistant to the east of campus is the Atlantic Ocean. There, you can find a beautiful beach as well as the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center where visitors can get a look at some of coastal Florida's natural habitats and inhabitants thanks to boardwalks through the mangroves and natural butterfly gardens.
Near the beach, hotels are easy to find. What Boca Raton lacks in nightlife more commonly found in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the area more than makes up for in relaxation. In addition, Palm Beach International Airport isn't far from Boca Raton, with Fort Lauderdale and Miami less than an hour away as well.
The biggest downside to FAU football games is the lack of fans. Much like any form of sports in South Florida, unless the team is winning and in constant championship form, fans will not show up. For that, FAU does well in keeping its mostly commuter-school student body interested in the football team.
The fans who do show up are loyal, loud, and passionate. In addition, there is a growing alumni base from recent years who are becoming a passionate base of professionals who support the program and show up to the games. Nonetheless, the game loses some of the mystique of college football with the absence of roaring fans.
Getting to FAU is easy to do. Unlike several sports teams or colleges where the campus stadiums are miles away from the highway exits, FAU is quite literally bordered by I-95 in Boca Raton. Also, just a few miles west is the Florida Turnpike. Once off the exit from I-95, the FAU campus is immediately visible. Parking is quite plentiful and even if you get stuck in a lot or garage that is a little farther from the stadium, the walk is not very far and is through a beautiful campus.
FAU tickets aren't generally massively expensive, especially for FBS college football. Food prices won't burn your wallet into ash. With that said, a trip to an FAU game provides a great return on investment, especially when considering you are getting to see Conference USA college football at a fraction of the price of other teams in the country.
FAU football features plenty of in-game entertainment such as t-shirt tosses and game hosts playing trivia with fans.
Another neat aspect is the fan experience outside. Multiple booths are set up on the outside concourse as well as the concert stage that gets set up on the field between the stadium and the parking garage making for a wonderful family-oriented fan experience before the games.
Arguably one of the coolest things for diehard football fans is the frequent appearance of legendary college football coach Howard Schnellenberger. Always gracious with the fans, the one-time coach of FAU football now visits the games with frequency.
Fans can also relax under the shade of the palm trees on beach lounge chairs before, during, or after the games.
Finally, the fans can get a chance to meet one of the most distinct mascots in college football, Owlsley the Owl. A giant owl that roams the sidelines, fans always look to get a photo with FAU's signature mascot.
FAU football delivers quality stadium experiences for FBS college football at an affordable price in one of the nicest neighborhoods South Florida has to offer. The view is second to none, the fans are kind when they do show up, and the pre-game atmosphere is surprisingly pleasant. For sure, FAU is as good of an experience as its bigger neighbors to the south, and it can only continue to go up from here.
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!!!!
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.
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.
This is a fabulous stadium, absolutely gorgeous and in a beautiful setting. It looks brand new, and looks like they put a lot of money into it. There are all kinds of food options, and the amenities are sweet - they even have little beach seating areas INSIDE the stadium! No water, mind you, just sand, palm trees, and super comfortable beach chairs, but still. You can even drink there, which is rare for a college stadium, and they have a great system - they have tables set up where you can get a "My-id-was-already-checked" arm band, which makes the lines go faster. And the flippin' stadium is in Boca, dude!
9858 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33434
1229 W Palmetto Park Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33486
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