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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
JPS Field at Malone Stadium opened in 1978, and is named after the winningest coach in ULM football history. The stadium originally held 20K fans, but has been expanded several times since its construction, and currently seats 30,427. The most recent renovation occurred in 2014, when JPS Aviation/JPS Equipment Rental paid for the installation of FieldTurf here, in exchange for naming rights of the field for 8 seasons.
ULM's athletic teams were previously known as the Indians, but due to NCAA policy, the university voted to change the mascot to the Warhawks in 2006. The new mascot honors Louisiana-raised Major General Claire Lee Chennault, who commanded the Flying Tigers squadron of P-40s in China during WWII. Though most of ULM's mascot imagery is bird-themed, the mascot’s name is actually Ace, and he "flies" a P-40 styled car onto the field during pre-game when the players come on.
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".
Malone Stadium's concessions have about what you would expect from a football venue of this size, but the stands do sell alcohol, which is uncommon at college stadiums.
Food options include hot dogs, frito pie, pizza, nachos, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, chips, Cracker Jack, Dippin' Dots, and boxed candy, and the prices are on the low end; food items range from $2 up to $6. All food items are sold at the main stands, except pizza, which comes from specialty stands from Johnny's Pizza House.
Drink options at the main stands include bottled water, PowerAde, and Coke products in bottles, at a cost of between $3 and $4. Alcohol is available from separate stands, including beer and mixed drinks. Beer is only $4, and selections include Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, and Michelob Ultra.
Malone Stadium has grandstands on both the east and west sides, with plazas and seating for alums and donors behind each end zone. The two grandstands are not really connected, so pay attention to where you are seated so you can park closer to the one you need - the east side has the student section, the west side has the reserved section, and both sides have general admission. Almost all of the seats in Malone Stadium are aluminum benches without backs, but there are some chair back seats on the west side in the first few rows of the upper deck, and in the upper middle section of the lower deck.
The stadium doesn't often get very full, so there isn't always a ton of crowd noise, but there is some fun entertainment, and the field itself has some great décor. The playing surface is nicely done, with the Warhawks bird head logo in the center of the field and next to every yard marker. In addition, there are talons marking the kickoff spots on both ends of the field; this is a lot more on-field décor than most football stadiums bother with, and is a nice touch.
The mascot "flies" a P-40 esque car onto the field when the team comes on, which is fun to watch (see the video below). In addition, the staff shows animated video throughout the game of a Warhawks plane "shooting down" the other teams in the conference; this bird vs. plane dual imagery for the mascot really creates a great contrast. And as with most stadiums, the staff does the typical fan participation events during breaks in the action, such as the Dairy Queen race between fans, one dressed as a DQ Blizzard and the other as a DQ soft serve cone.
Malone Stadium is nestled inside the loops of the Bayou DeSiard waterway, and is not far from the Ouachita River, so there are plenty of Cajun-style seafood restaurants nearby. The closest is Waterfront Grill, which is just across the DeSiard from the stadium, but there are also several a few miles away in the waterfront area next to the Ouachita, including Mohawk Seafood Tavern and Warehouse No 1. Any of these would be a great place to have a bite before or after the game.
If you plan to be in town for the weekend, there are several hotels along I-20 to the south of the stadium. Courtyard and TownePlace Suites are the nicest ones, and have reasonable rates, but there are some cheaper ones in the same area if you are on a tighter budget.
Unfortunately not a lot of fans come to games at Malone Stadium. On average the venue will draw between 12K and 13K, which is less than half full, and attendance tends to get lower as the season progresses. The best attendance tends to occur during games against in-state opponents (either FCS or FBS) at the beginning of the season, so if you have a choice try for one of those - attendance at games versus big-name opponents (think Power 5) seems to actually be lower than games against non-Power 5 schools.
The fans that do come tend to wear team gear, and cheer loudly for their team, but the stadium also tends to clear out before the 4th quarter.
Malone Stadium is very easy to get to, being not far at all from I-20, and you can park very close to the venue for only $10. There are also plenty of bathrooms and concessions stands, so you will never see any lines. The stands on the east side are easier to get in and out of, because that side has several short sets of stairs spaced evenly along its length, while the west side only has long winding ramps, one on each end, which take a little time more to get up and down. On the plus side, those with special needs will have easy access, but should plan to sit on the west side only.
The only potential downside is that the two grandstands are completely separated, so if you want to try and move around during the game it won't be easy. Also note that the staff does monitor the stands very carefully, so you won't be able to get into a section you don't have a ticket for, even though the stadium will have a lot of empty seats.
Tickets to games at Malone Stadium start at $26 for adult general admission (upper deck), and max out at $46 for chair backs in the lower level. Youth tickets are $13, and students get in free, but can buy guest tickets for non-student friends for only $11, so if you know any ULM students you could save some money that way.
The above ticket prices are slightly on the high side for similarly-sized college football venues, but are reasonable given the experience, which includes some fun entertainment like the mascot's P-40 car. Personally, I would not spend the extra money for lower-level seats, though, because at such a small venue it is actually easier to see the field from further away. Either way, considering the low cost concessions and cheap parking, this is a very good experience for the money.
The dual bird/ fighter plane mascot is very cool, especially given the strong ties to WWII in Louisiana (the National WWII museum is actually down in New Orleans, in part due to the fact that factories there produced many of the landing craft used in the D-Day invasion). Another plus is the playing surface, which has some pops of color and decoration, unlike what you'll see at most other venues. You can also get really close to the action here.
The best time to see a game at Malone Stadium is early in the season against an in-state opponent if possible. While it may not look quite as modern or have as much crowd noise as some of the other football stadiums in the area, it nevertheless offers some unique elements, and should be a fun time.
Member Review by derontalley
Malone Stadium never sold out games, but those who attend matter most. People with young and old faces tailgate as the football team marches to the stadium with cheering fans showing their pride. The school band, "The Sound of Today," trailing the team and playing the school's fight song makes the parade complete, as fans begin to enter Malone Stadium.
ULM was known as Northeast Louisiana University (NLU), until August 27, 1999 when it officially changed its name to the University of Louisiana at Monroe. On June 26, 2006, the school voted to change the mascot from the "Indians" to the "Warhawks." ULM is often referred to as Louisiana-Monroe, UL-Monroe, or La. Mon., but those titles are incorrect. They are the ULM Warhawks.
Football games are played at the historic Malone Stadium, named after James L. (Jim) Malone, ULM's football coach from 1934-53. The stadium was dedicated to Malone on Sept. 27, 1980, after being known as Indian Stadium for two years.
Malone Stadium's maximum capacity is 30,427. Inside the stadium is the field house. The field house is beneath the west part of the stadium and contains over 70 rooms and 38,000 square feet of floor space. Special features include dressing rooms, tutor rooms, team and position meeting rooms, visiting team facilities, the ULM sports medicine complex, the equipment room, a sports video lab and a laundry room.
The football coaches, athletics director and athletic ticket offices are also housed in Malone Stadium.
Included in the west side press box is the skybox, which accommodates 304 of ULM's top athletic boosters in theater-type seating. The upper level seats 120 and contains the main press area, the president's box, athletic director's box, booths for home and visiting radio crews, the public address announcer and coaches from both teams.
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