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Official Review by DeRon Talley, Stadium Journey Correspondent
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.
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".
Don't expect to find sushi or gourmet pasta. The food choices are few, but you can buy funnel cakes, which are pretty good. Of course, the standard things you expect to see offered at concession stands are there: plenty of nachos with cheese, hot dogs, popcorn and burgers. Some selections are better buys than others. The best thing is to eat before the game at one of the nearby restaurants or diners or tailgate in one of dozens of lots in the "Grove."
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the facilities, and are not sold especially in concessions.
If there is anything that makes watching a game at Malone Stadium electric, it's the new high definition video display board. The new high definition video display board is one of the largest in the Sun Belt Conference in addition to being the second largest on-campus board in the state. The board features nearly 1,600 square feet of total video space, including a 23 feet tall by 49 feet wide area dedicated to video and 450 square feet of video advertising space.
As the football team comes out of the tunnel for introductions, the media department has made a special video for the Warhawks that shows a warhawk flying amongst other planes. The other planes represent conference opponents, and the Warhawk flies past them. It is a nice video. The fans love it and the players run on to the field proudly.
Along with the new video board, Malone Stadium has received several upgrades to enhance the fan experience, since its construction.
For fans who like to sit and enjoy the game, ULM installed close to 1,500 new chair back seats on the West side of Malone Stadium that are wider and gives fans more legroom.
Despite the upgrades, fan attendance wasn't what I expected. The fans there were electric, but the traditions that should have surrounded a school like this did not serve justice to the atmosphere level. The student section was empty and the away team actually cheered louder for their team, than ULM fans during the game.
Because ULM hasn't been in a bowl game in December, fan support is poor and attendance numbers are low.
Monroe is a traditional city with great local restaurants to go to before the game. Across the bayou from Malone Stadium is a restaurant called the Waterfront Grill, located on Desiard Street. The Waterfront Grill has the best view on Bayou Desiard and offers lots of menu choices. Also on Sterlington Road, there is Bobo's Sports Bar & Grill, which may be the best spot to choose, because the Waterfront Grill is a bit expensive.
Because quality of play dictates the reaction of the fans, support is poor. As of now, the largest recorded fan attendance at Malone Stadium came on Nov. 10, 2007. A record number of 30,101 fans packed Malone Stadium to watch the Warhawks and Grambling State play, marking the first time that 30,000 had attended a game in the stadium.
Unlike some stadiums with large areas of land for thousands of cars, the area around the Malone Stadium is convenient and easily accessed. However, just south of the stadium, the best tailgating area is the "Grove."Alumni and faculty tailgate in the "Grove" where the best foods can be found. Greek life and other student organizations tailgate in the "Pecan Grove," a section just east of the "Grove."
Parking is free all over, so you can enjoy yourself as long as you are not in the restricted areas near the front of Malone Stadium. Getting to your seat in the stadium is easy as far as traffic flow, but the walk ramp is a bit much. You walk around in what feels like is a parking garage to get to the seats. To get to the skybox, press box, and president's cabin there is an elevator located inside the bottom floor of the stadium.
Ticket prices are reasonable, considering the fan attendance. Tickets in the new seat back section are the best.
Lower sections prices are $30 for the single game, and general adult admissions tickets are $20.
Programs are sold at average price. The SGA also gives fans free maroon pom-poms to help cheer the Warhawks.
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207 Sterlington Rd
Monroe, LA 71203
5201 Desiard St
Monroe, LA 71203
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