FIU Stadium (map it)
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
Year Opened: 1995
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Luis Estrada, Guest Correspondent
Florida International University is a very large public university in Miami, just about 15 minutes west of the University of Miami. With over 40,000 students, and one of the largest alumni bases in the state of Florida, one would figure it's only a matter of time before the football program caught up with the rest of the academic institution. Step one in that process was the construction of FIU Stadium on campus. A small venue as it stands right now, with capacity for about 19,000 fans, the stadium will undergo a drastic expansion beginning immediately after this season ends. New concession stands, the enclosure of the north side of the bleachers, and an upper bowl of seats are all part of the renovation.
I was at a Tuesday night game between FIU and Troy, not exactly a heated rivalry, but a matchup of the past two Sun Belt Conference champions. And with the game being televised nationally on ESPN, I counted on a bit more support than I encountered. Nonetheless, it's an intimate stadium, and FIU is
building a passionate core of fans.
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".
The concession stands are limited to the standards: pizza, hot dogs, soda, popcorn, etc. However, pricing is very affordable. One knock is that there are only a few concession stands on the main entrance level of the stadium. The rest of the food is sold in street vendor style carts up on the walkway above the endzones. Here you will find a bit more selection, with sausages, arepas, pinchos, and other Miami-style cuisine being grilled on the spot. Not too bad on the price scale, with $10 buying 2 arepas and a soda.
The main knock on the entire FIU Stadium experience is the high school feel to the games. Fans needed to be told when to get loud, when it was third down, etc. The student section seems to be more into their body paint and Greek life than the product on the field, which is a shame, because the team is off to a 5-3 start and won a bowl game last season.
There are a few die-hards, absolutely, and I may be getting a little overly critical of a program which only began 11 seasons ago. But the team plays in Division I, there is a brand new on-campus stadium, a good team on the field, and a nationally televised game. More is expected.
The tailgating is good. Nothing to write home about. It helps that the stadium is directly across from campus housing.
The good part about the stadium is that it is on campus and located within 5 minutes of a few bars and restaurants. However, Miami is not a college town, therefore it is important to note FIU is situated in a residential area of town. Students will drive about 20-30 min before getting to the more popular hang-out spots of Miami. But back to the good stuff.
FIU has a beautiful campus, with plenty to see and places to relax for fans traveling in for the game. It is not located in a tourist neighborhood, but still provides much of the Miami flavor in the area.
I know it was a Tuesday night. I know FIU""Troy is not a marquee matchup. But I was hoping for more than the announced 15,800 fans. The student section was loud, but not filled to capacity. The suites and club level sure looked full, and I'm sure the university would much rather have the big income from those fans, but it felt like the crowd was lacking a bit. FIU played two games earlier this year that set school attendance records "" both over 21,000 "" after getting off to the first 3-0 start in program history, so the fans turned out for the novelty. But after a couple losses, I guess this is a more realistic indicator of FIU fans.
One thing I noticed was families coming to the game with small children. That is exactly what FIU needs to build their fan base. For a young program, having kids grow up watching FIU football is the ultimate accomplishment.
One of the best features of the stadium is that it's located directly to the west of a massive fairground, which on game days is used for parking and tailgating. On top of that, parking on the grass fairground lots are free to the public, and many students live on campus and walk literally less than a block to the tailgate.
FIU is also located less than a mile east of Florida's Turnpike, which many fans use for the ride to and from the games. Not much traffic to speak of with such an ample space for a relatively-small stadium.
Here's why FIU stadium really is a bit of a hidden treasure: the team is good, the stadium is new, the
accessibility is great, parking is free, the prices for food are affordable, and the prices for tickets are extremely low. For $99, fans can get season tickets on the sidelines! Student tickets are free and $7 student guest tickets are available for most big games. I know I sound like a cheerleader, but it really is worth the price and more.
Not much to speak of here, other than the fact all bleachers have chairbacks, and all club level seating is individual chairs with cup holders and the amenities usually reserved for big time teams and stadiums.
The stadium is getting expanded soon, and will provide a very nice centerpiece for a university trying to make its mark in a community whose main focus has been the University of Miami for decades.
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