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Mackay Stadium

Reno, NV

Home of the Nevada Wolf Pack

3.9

4.0

Mackay Stadium (map it)
17th St. & E. Stadium Way
Reno, NV 89501


Nevada Wolf Pack website

Mackay Stadium website

Year Opened: 1966

Capacity: 29,993

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Reno's Wolf Pack

The state of Nevada has just two college football teams. One lies in the great entertainment hub of Las Vegas, while the other competes in the much-slower paced Northern Nevada city of Reno.

Reno is the home to sports in Northern Nevada and Mackay Stadium is the epicenter. With no big-league franchises anywhere in Nevada, locals rely on the Wolf Pack to quench their competitive thirst. Besides Wolf Pack athletics, the Reno Aces also play nearby as the Triple-A affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mackay Stadium opened in 1966 with a modest 7,500 seats. Perhaps because of the demand and fans' willingness to travel a good distance from other parts of the state, capacity at the stadium has climbed to its current plateau of nearly 30,000.

After several decades in Division II and FCS, Nevada moved up to FBS play in 1992. The Wolf Pack joined the Mountain West Conference in 2012 and their last conference championship happened as members of the Western Athletic Conference in 2010.

3.9

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Mackay Stadium has an impressive array of food and beverage for a mid-level FBS school.

For one, beer is sold on the premises, something not available at most collegiate venues. There are a variety of macro and micro brews available for varying prices but I went with High Sierra's red ale, served in a souvenir cup for $8. Added bonus is that your beer won't get cold in freezing temperatures.

All the stadium basics are available, albeit at a high clip. Nachos ($5.75), hot dogs ($4.25), polish dogs ($6), and pretzels ($5) can be found under the south bleachers with water ($3.50) and soda ($4).

Beyond the basics, Famous Dave's also has a booth offering 1/2 rack, 1/3 rack and full racks of ribs. They also offer a pulled chicken sandwich and a Georgia chopped pork sandwich (each for $8).

The sides from Famous Dave's can be had for $3 (homemade potato chips, creamy coleslaw, and potato salad). Perhaps the most intriguing and artery-clogging option is chocolate covered bacon ($4).

Atmosphere    4

Mackay Stadium is made almost entirely of metal bleachers, separated into four sections. Each corner of the stadium is open. This allows for spectacular views of the hillside or downtown Reno but can also allow for the wind to whip around the stands.

The press box and suites are on the west side and face across at two-tiered bleacher seating on the east. There is a grassy area beyond on the north end zone and stands underneath the scoreboard and adjacent to the permanent concession stands. There are even more temporary concession stands under the south stands along the track.

The only bummer about the layout is that there is a large track surrounding the playing surface that moves the seats on the sidelines back several yards from the action. Uniquely however, the track goes behind the stands at the end zones, putting those fans right on the action which makes the track being there a little bit better.

Neighborhood    4

Granted, Reno will never be Vegas, but it does have a lot to offer and it's so close to UNR and Mackay Stadium. In comparison, Sam Boyd Stadium is several miles away from the Las Vegas Strip.

Whether gambling, shows, or restaurants are your thing, you can find them just a mile away in the casino neighborhood. The Silver Legacy is the nicest of these casino/hotel venues that is walkable to Mackay.

Reno has a burgeoning craft beer industry and there are two new breweries in the immediate neighborhood of UNR, just on the opposite side of I-80. Pigeon Head Brewing and Under The Rose Brewing both serve great beer but neither serves an extensive food menu.

Aside from the benefits (and perhaps, drawbacks) of being in Reno, the campus itself has a bit of an identity with restaurants and cafes sprinkled throughout. These, alongside the picture perfect landscape, make for a lovely time pre or post-game.

I should note that the immediate neighborhood to the northeast of the casinos has a reputation of having some problematic vagrants. Many locals have asked me to be careful when walking around at night. I haven't had any issues but thought I should mention that.

Fans    4

There is something to be said for fans showing up when it's so cold. Granted, they're used to the weather, but it's obvious that players are receptive to their energy and respond to the fact that they're all in this (the game) together.

These fans are engaged throughout, keeping the same level of energy from start to finish. The fans in the south end zone stomped their feet just as loud in the first quarter as in the fourth and everyone had the same response to defensive third-down situations. The metal bleachers play a prominent role in the noise level as the fans really bang on them with their feet.

Chants of N-E-V-A-D-A and "that's a Wolf Pack...FIRST DOWN" are typical responses for plays throughout.

Being from Northern California, this is the closest thing to an unadulterated college football environment. Elsewhere in the area, professional franchises take precedent and perhaps cloud the unique vibe of the college football experience. The Nevada fans provided that for me.

Access    5

The university is easily accessible off of I-80 which stretches as far west as San Francisco. The stadium is only a few blocks from the freeway exit.

Though the downtown area of Reno looks dense, it's really quite easy to get around, just be mindful of one way streets. Approaching the stadium is accessible from any side, as both street parking and parking lots are scattered along each side of Mackay Stadium.

Once inside there is plenty of room to walk around. Nevada has, without a doubt, the least crowded and best designed walkways that I have seen at any venue. No doubt, they benefit from being an outdoor venue with plenty of space to begin with.

Restroom and concession lines are easily accessible and have sparse lines. Tip: it's warm and cozy in the restrooms.

Return on Investment    3

Though concession prices can be a bit high, tickets are pretty reasonable. General admission tickets start at $21 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. These prices move up for premium games however.

Parking is $20 in most lots but can be had free of charge just across the street. Therefore, if you don't plan to tailgate, street parking is very viable. You can even park at one of the casinos across the freeway if you don't mind the walk.

The return on investment is particularly good when you realize how unique the experience is for the region and that this is the biggest sporting ticket in town.

Extras    3

Traditionally, there isn't much in the way of extras at Mackay Stadium. However, I find value in the setting and Reno's mountain backdrop is breathtaking. Look one way to take in the Sierras and the other to check out the downtown skyscape of hotels.

They acknowledge all of their conference championships on the backside of the scoreboard. This is visible from the grassy area near the fixed concession stands.

Lastly, I appreciate the picnic tables that are set up in the corners of the stadium in a somewhat wooded area. With the trees peeking into the venue, it serves as a reminder that you're definitely in the Sierra Nevadas.

nice

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by sandy1 | Dec 16, 2014 05:52 PM

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Crowd Reviews

The Biggest Little Stadium In The World

Total Score: 4.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 2

Just a mile from the downtown hotels and casinos of "The Biggest Little City In The World" is the home of one of only two FBS football schools in the state of Nevada. The University of Nevada, Reno and Mackay Stadium overlook the downtown skyscape and the Truckee Meadows from its perch.

Reno is the home to sports in Northern Nevada and Mackay Stadium is the epicenter. With no big-league franchises anywhere in Nevada, locals rely on the Wolf Pack to quench their competitive thirst. Besides Wolf Pack athletics, the Reno Aces also play nearby as the Triple-A affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mackay Stadium opened in 1966 with a modest 7,500 seats. Perhaps because of the demand and fans' willingness to travel a good distance from other parts of the state, capacity at the stadium has climbed to its current plateau of nearly 30,000.

One of the more memorable games in recent Mackay Stadium memory happened last year over the Thanksgiving holiday. Then quarterback, Colin Kaepernick led the underdog Wolf Pack to victory over the heavily favored and BCS hopeful Boise State Broncos in dramatic fashion. The freezing temperatures would not deter the rabid fans from playing their role in the Wolf Pack's overtime win, putting Nevada's home field advantage on the national landscape.

This season, Nevada is wrapping up their stint in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and preparing to join the Mountain West Conference (MWC) with Fresno State. They'll be rejoining rivals Boise State and UNLV within conference.

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Local Food & Drink

Archie's Famous Grill  (map it!)

2195 North Virginia Street

Reno, NV 89503

(775) 322-9595

http://www.archiesfamousgrill.com/

The Little Waldorf Saloon  (map it!)

1661 North Virginia Street

Reno, NV 80503

(775) 337-9255

http://www.lilwal.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Silver Legacy Resort & Casino  (map it!)

407 N. Virginia Street

Reno, NV 89501

(775) 325-7401

http://www.silverlegacyreno.com/

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