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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Georgia Dome is a great place to watch college and pro football. From the Atlanta Falcons to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, there is rarely an open weekend for the Georgia Dome, because there is always a football game going on in the fall.
And that includes the Georgia State Panthers, which have called the Georgia Dome home since 2010. In 2013, the Panthers made the jump to FBS from FCS, and it has not been a very kind journey.
Because of that, the overall experience at a Georgia State game is not what it could be. When the Panthers play, the Georgia Dome downsizes to 28,155 from the normal 71,000-80,000. But even with that, it still feels empty, because there are maybe 5,000 fans that show up for a game.
The Georgia Dome is a great place to watch college and pro football. But having Georgia State play every home game there is not making the overall experience as fun as it should be.
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".
One of the good things about going to a Georgia State game is the ton of food options because of it being at the Georgia Dome. There are the typical foods like hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza that would cost you a little more money than you would like to spend, but one of the better places to have food is Williams Brothers Barbecue, which is based in Georgia. Williams Brothers has rib and pork sandwiches that are beyond delicious, but cost no less than $8.00.
Then there is Taco Mac, which is located right next to the dome. There is also a food court at the CNN Center, which is right next to the dome as well. The food court includes Subway, Wendy's, Arbys, Chick-fil-A and Dantanna's.
It's hard for me to give any stadium atmosphere one star, but going to a Georgia State game is like going to a bigger high school game in Georgia. This is not anyone's fault, because the program is still trying to find itself when it comes to building a strong fan base and tradition.
Because the Georgia Dome is home to the Falcons, there are a lot of red and black empty seats all over the dome, so it never really feels like it's home of the Panthers. And because of that, there is never really a home field advantage for the program.
The Georgia Dome is in the heart of Atlanta, which means there is never a dull moment when it comes to eating and nightlife.
There are a ton of places to eat, but two of the better places that are close to the dome are Stats and Hudson Grille. Both places have great food and both have a ton of TVs so fans can watch games before and after the Panthers game.
And if you are looking for other attractions, the World of Coca-Cola is right around the corner, as well as the Georgia Aquarium. Both are very popular with locals and tourists, and neither costs a lot of money. Also, the College Football Hall of Fame, which is right across the street from the Georgia Dome, opened in September of 2014 and is a must-see for any football fan.
One of the things that's tough for a young program is that the fan base is still growing. There are no traditions the fans do, and unless you go to the school, the fans don't really know much about the players.
There are the loyal fans that come to every game, but because the Panthers struggle to find wins, there are not a lot of fans that attend the games. Another reason is the fact that getting to and from the Georgia Dome can be challenging, especially with the construction of the new stadium going on right next to it.
Driving in Atlanta can be a journey because of all the one-way streets. But because the games are normally on Saturdays and there aren't too many fans that come to games, getting to and from the Georgia Dome is not that bad.
The majority of parking is located at the Red Deck, which is right across the street from the dome. And it doesn't cost a lot to park there, as it costs just $10.
If you don't want to drive, you can always take MARTA, which is the local transit service. There is a station right at the Georgia Dome, so you can take MARTA straight to the stadium for a $5 round-trip ticket. However, there are only MARTA stations in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, so depending on where you live, driving to the stadium might be a better option.
Going to a Georgia State game won't cost you an arm and a leg, as the cheapest ticket will cost you $15. But is it worth it?
Going to a college football game in Georgia for $15 is a steal, but because Georgia State has not been a winning program consistently, the product may not always be the best.
If the program continues to work to be better each season, there will be more fans and the return on investment will be better. But as of now, it would be worth more if you were to go to a Georgia or Georgia Tech game and pay a little more money to see better football.
If there is anything to mention when it comes to extras, it would have to be the programs. They have a good amount of information on the team, the history of the program and the school itself.
Georgia State is a program still trying to find its way. They don't have the tradition, history or fan base Georgia Tech or Georgia have, but give it a few more years and it will be a great place to watch football on Saturdays.
Member Review by jmccurdy on Nov 24, 2012
The Georgia Dome seems great, practically unbeatable. The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons flock to it in the fall, Georgia high school football semifinal games rock it shortly before Christmas, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl comes to town just before the New Year.
And besides all that, Ludacris and the Ying Yang Twins drop the name of the place in their songs! So it’s gotta be great, right?
Wrong. Put a two-year-old, non-FBS college team on the field and only 12,000 or so people in a 70,000-plus capacity stadium, and you’ve got a recipe for a boring Saturday afternoon. I’ve tried to be kind, considering Georgia State first fielded a team in 2010. I’ve tried to be understanding, taking into account that tickets are sold only for the lower bowl. And I’ve tried to be loyal, what with Atlanta being my hometown and all. But the fact of the matter is this: I yawned my way through the Panthers game that I attended and am hard-pressed to recommend the experience to other sports fans.
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