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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
In this case, U-S-A stands for the University of South Alabama, whose football team has played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, since their inception in 2009. The Jaguars were undefeated in their first two seasons of existence, and reached their first bowl game in year five, which was only their second year of bowl eligibility.
Besides being home to the South Alabama Jaguars, Ladd-Peebles Stadium hosts the Senior Bowl (since 1951) and the GoDaddy Bowl (since 1999), as well as concerts, trade shows, and other events, including a rally for presidential hopeful Donald Trump in 2015. The venue was built in 1948, and currently has a capacity of 33,471 for football.
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".
Ladd-Peebles Stadium offers basic fare at reasonable prices from its concession stands, many of which are closed during regular season games.
Food options include barbecue, nachos, Foosackly's chicken tenders (a local chain), burgers, hot dogs, chips, Lance crackers, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, candy bars, Krispy Kreme donuts, pretzels, Dippin' Dots ice cream, and even dill pickles. These items range from $1 to $7, and some of them support local charities. Only some of the stands have credit card machines, so you don't have to bring cash, but it would be easier if you did. Funnel cakes are advertised, but I didn't see any actually for sale.
Drink options include Coke products from the fountain, frozen lemonade, bottled water, and 11 varieties of beer. Other bottled drinks are advertised, such as Powerade and sodas, but I didn't see any stands selling them. The prices are very reasonable - all drinks range in cost from $3 to $5, including the beer, which is lower than most stadiums. The 11 varieties of beer include Coors, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, 4 flavors of Bud Light Ritas, and Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale, which is brewed locally in Alabama.
During the regular season, the Jaguars draw very few fans, so the stadium might be more fun during a bowl game.
All of the seats are metal bleachers, and some of the seats in the end zones are blocked off to make the venue easier to sell out (about half of the seats in each zone are covered over with banners). The four grandstands are not connected, which makes it a little difficult to move around, but not bad. On the plus side, there is lots of South Alabama signage, including banners, flags, and photos all over the stadium, but only one video board (NE corner), which is lower height-wise than you normally see. On one hand this is kind of nice, because you don't have to strain your neck looking up. On the other hand, it probably isn't quite high enough, because if you are sitting too close to it, the edges of the stands are in your way.
The best place to sit is probably the west side (closer to the north end), since this will give you the best view of the video board. Unless you like chasing field goals and extra points, that is - there are no nets behind the goal posts, so you might be able to catch a ball if you sit on the ends. Either way, feel free to buy the cheap seats (in the end zones) and sit wherever you want, since they won't sell out, and no one checks tickets anyway. See a quick tour of the stadium here:
Ladd-Peebles Stadium is located in a slightly run-down residential area.
There aren't very many places to eat within walking distance of the stadium, except for some fast food places. But, if you are looking for somewhere to hang out before or after the game, there is a Ruth's Chris Steak House about a mile away, a Logan's Roadhouse to the west near I-65, and a Heroes Sports Bar & Grille to the east near the water.
The most popular attractions in Mobile are the USS Alabama and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. And if you are staying in town overnight, there are plenty of hotels a few miles from Ladd-Peebles, either near the water or close to I-65.
The Jaguars fans who show up are very loud, and wear team colors - red is the most popular color, but blue is also acceptable, as is white. There are gear stands on both the east and west sides if you need to buy a shirt or hat there.
The stated attendance during a regular season game is in the 10,000 to 15,000 range (about one-third to one-half full), but actual attendance is much lower. The Jaguars football program has not existed for very long, so this may help explain the low attendance. But, it would also help if the team could manage to win more games.
Designed as a bowl venue, Ladd-Peebles Stadium has plenty of spacious bathrooms, and plenty of room in the concourses, so you won't feel cramped.
There is plenty of parking near the stadium for around $10, or you can park for free further away and take a shuttle in (a lot of the students do this, since Ladd-Peebles is not on campus). Riding the shuttle will cost $2.50 per person (round-trip) so it may be more cost effective to park, depending on how many are in your crew.
There are gates on both the east and west sides, and you can get to the end zone seating from any entrance by walking around inside the stadium. The ticket booth is at the north end of the west side (under the press box), but if you try to use will call, it helps if you bring the purchase code they emailed you, which will make it easier for the staff to look you up. Or you can just print them at home (unless you want a nicer souvenir).
If you are sitting on the east or west side, there are ramps that take you into the middle of the stands, and then you have to use the stairs to get to your row (either up or down). In the end zones, the entrances are at ground level (in front of the first row of seats), so you have to use the stairs to go up from there. I did not notice any seating for those with disabilities.
You can't buy football tickets anywhere for less than they cost here, so even though the experience might only be so-so, it is definitely worthwhile cost-wise.
Tickets to a Jaguars game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium start at only $10, with absolutely no fees, even if you buy online. You may even be able to buy them cheaper on the secondary market, since many more are sold than fans who show up. In addition, concession prices are about as low as you will ever find - I can't think of many venues that offer beer and snacks for less than they cost here, especially football stadiums.
The fact they host two bowl games here every year gives additional opportunities to see the stadium.
Mobile is a nice town near the gulf, and the weather is second to none, so not a bad place to take in a football game. Ladd-Peebles may not be the best venue, but it is super cheap, and if you want a better atmosphere (read: bigger crowd) you could try one of the bowl games instead. Or wait until your favorite team comes to town.
Member Review by Nathan on Oct 29, 2012
That was a very cheesy pun. Please forgive me for that. People who don’t need to be forgiven, however, but rather thanked, are the group of students at the University of South Alabama who started a campaign recently to bring college football to the school.
It was a successful campaign. In 2009, the South Alabama Jaguars took the field for the first time, and right off the bat, the program was a success. The Jaguars won their first 19 games ever before losing at NC State early in the 2011 season. Despite the loss, the program made even larger strides in 2011, playing a far tougher schedule than they did their first two seasons and still achieving a 6-4 record.
Before the 2012 season, South Alabama was introduced to big-time college football, joining the FBS as a member of the Sun Belt conference. The team isn’t faring too well in their first year of major college football, but it won’t be too long before the Jaguars flip the script and become a major player in the conference, challenging the likes of Troy, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, UL-Monroe and UL-Lafeyette.
Their current on-field issues haven’t stopped them from bringing in fans to their historic stadium. Ladd-Peebles Stadium has a rich history of football, most notably playing host to the Senior Bowl and also hosting the GoDaddy.com Bowl (formerly the GMAC Bowl). The Senior Bowl has hosted many of the greatest college football players of all-time, including the likes of Tim Tebow and other legends. The GMAC Bowl has seen their fair share of history, too. The 2001 GMAC Bowl saw Marshall storm back from a 38-8 deficit against East Carolina to win 64-61 in what was, at the time, the greatest comeback in bowl history.
However, there’s a brand new attraction at this venue now: The South Alabama Jaguars, who hope to make some history of their own.
Member Review by justinrsutton on Dec 08, 2014
When South Alabama decided to field a football program, the university did not have to worry about constructing a new stadium because Mobile, Alabama already had Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which hosted the Senior Bowl and a bowl game every year.
The Jaguars took the field in 2009, and they have shown growing success each season of the program’s existence, however the same cannot be said for their home venue.
South Alabama football and Ladd-Peebles Stadium took one on the chin in the biggest and largest attended South Alabama home game when multiple issues arose during Mississippi State’s visit to the stadium for a September contest. Some articles on those stories: Heat Illnesses, Record Breaking Crowd, Was Ladd-Peebles prepared?
With those issues widely publicized, the growing call for a new, on-campus stadium will become louder than ever from many South Alabama fans and deservedly so.
However, the Mississippi State contest is not the norm for South Alabama games, and while it should factor into fans’ minds when attending the game, it should not be the only game on which they base decisions.
Member Review by firstname.lastname@example.org on Oct 20, 2015
This was a Tuesday night game, so everyone was out in fine form. There were about 30 or so sponsors who provided "free" food! Yup, "free". We had bbq, pizza, chicken, and so on. There was even "free" beverage (beer and wine included). Talk about being made to feel welcome!
This was my 80th BCS stadium to visit. The stadium is a bit tired, but the fans were fun; the staff were friendly; lots of noise and good spirits.
The neighborhood is one of the less attractive stadium neighborhoods I've seen. We took the shuttle from Bel Air Mall and had great service....no wait time to speak of either way.
Member Review by aranthm on Dec 24, 2015
The only saving grace - they have beer.
3250 Airport Blvd
Mobile, AL 36606
2703 Battleship Pkwy
Mobile, AL 36603
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