Built in 1925 in Shreveport, Louisiana the Independence Bowl has been an ongoing bowl in College football since 1976. Independence Stadium has been a staple of Shreveport for almost an entire century, and even though it is starting to show its age, it is still a decent college bowl venue. Independence Stadium has been the home of a few teams throughout the years including the Shreveport Steamers and the Shreveport Pirates of the Canadian Football League. In the 90's the Stadium was expanded, increasing its original seating of 40,000 to over 50,000.
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Independence Stadium does have a decent amount of concession stands, but it unfortunately doesn't have a lot of variety. At Independence Stadium you will be able to get all the basics such as hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, candy, and pretzels as well as a couple of additional items like brats, frito pies and sausages on a stick. All of the items are reasonably price and shouldn't lighten up your wallet too much.
The beverage choices are all Coca-Cola products which can be had in four different sizes: small, medium, large, and jumbo. For alcohol, you can get either Coors Light or Miller Lite in a 16 oz can for $6. Overall the prices aren't bad, but I would still recommend grabbing a bite to eat before or after the game.
In the 2011 edition of the game, which included two mid level teams in their conference (the University of Missouri and the University of North Carolina), it wasn't the greatest of atmospheres. This may be due to a couple of factors though. One factor is this game is played the day after Christmas, so traveling to the game can be an issue for a lot of diehard fans. Another issue is for the 2nd year in a row it wasn't the best of weather at the game. In 2010, when I attended, temperatures were in the low 30s to upper 20s and this year they were in the mid 40s but a constant rain fell throughout the game, and didn't make for the best experience for grandstand dwellers.
Missouri had a pretty decent following compared to UNC, but until they start getting teams in the bowl that are more local to the city, I think attendance will continue to drop. There really isn't anything special about Independence Stadium at least from what the fans can see inside the stadium and walking around the concourse.
The area right around Independence Stadium isn't where you should go to be looking for something to eat or do. Your best bet is to either head into downtown Shreveport or Bossier City, which has an array of options for dining and entertainment.
One of my favorite places is Double D Ranch Grill & Bar. This is, well, a guy's place. If you are a fan of Hooters, Twin Peaks, Bikini's etc., then you will like Double D. Not only does Double D provide great pleasure for your eyes, but it will also do the same for your stomach. Double D's offers all the normal bar/steakhouse choices such as burgers, chicken sandwiches and steaks. I personally either recommend the nice rack or the Ranch Ribeye.
If you are looking for a place to stroll around, do a little shopping and maybe even please your significant other who might have tagged along, then I suggest you head to the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City. The Boardwalk is a picturesque setting right on the Red River and offers plenty of shopping choices as well as some great entertainment. You can pretty much compare it to an outdoor mall or outlet mall. If you are looking for a bite to eat while on the Boardwalk, I highly recommend Sushiko Sushi and Grill.
If none of these places sound like fun, then you always have the choice of one of the many casinos in the Shreveport/Bossier City area. I would make sure to check some of the casino schedules as you may get lucky and catch a great show while in town.
The fans are always going to be hit and miss at bowl games, especially the Independence Bowl. The announced crowd was 41,728 which I can guarantee you wasn't the actual attendance. The number was probably closer to just over 30,000. There were more fans though in attendance this year than last year. The quality of fans will continue to be consistent with what teams that are in the bowl every year.
Getting to and from the stadium isn't too bad of an experience as the stadium is located right off the main interstate, I-20. However, I would recommend getting to the stadium at least an hour before game time to avoid any of the massive bottlenecks exiting from I-20. Parking lots range anywhere from $10-$20, which I think is a tad high for this venue, but still is on par compared to most venues. The concourses are wide enough to make for easy access around the stadium and the bathrooms are plentiful. I never noticed a line even during peak times.
Tickets are going to range anywhere from $25-$35 on average, which isn't a bad price for a bowl game. With the cost of parking and the price of food, you are looking at only being set back anywhere from $60-$75, which I don't think is bad for getting to see a bowl game between two middle of the pack teams.
If you're a college bowl fan you really can't go wrong with a visit to Independence Stadium. It may not be a BCS or top tier bowl, but you will always be guaranteed a good scrap between two decent teams. I have to give a couple of extra points to the city of Shreveport and the variety of things it offers as well as Independence Stadium for still being in the thick of things at its age. My third and last extra point goes to the bowl and the University of Missouri mascot Truman the Tiger for managing to break the Independence Bowl trophy before the game even started. Great work Truman!!
Shreveport, the third-largest city in Louisiana, has fallen short on many occasions to have a pro football team call it home. Its closest call so far was a small run by the Shreveport Steamer of the short-lived World Football League. Shreveport's Independence Stadium however has been the home of the annual Independence Bowl since 1976.
Originally named State Fair Stadium, the city of Shreveport changed the stadium's name in 1977 to Independence Stadium after its initial 1976 Bicentennial Bowl. Independence Stadium has the capacity to hold 53,000 people after its late 1990s expansion. The stadium has been holding the annual Independence Bowl yearly now since 1976.
I went the year Texas A&M played Georgia in an entertaining, no-defense type of game. The stadium is older, not real well maintained, although far from a dump. The game we attended was sold out so the crowd was good, but not the same as a normal college football game since it was split between the two fan bases plus the locals who support the bowl.
Access was difficult due to the roads being so narrow and I personally didn't like the neighborhood at all, but I'm just not a fan of any town that requires you to fence your yard to feel safe. Parking is bad and they have to run buses from local shopping centers to get the fans to the game.
Ticket prices were reasonable for a bowl game.
2050 Old Minden Rd
Bossier City, LA 71111
8877 Jefferson Paige Rd
Shreveport, LA 71119
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