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McLane Stadium

Waco, TX

Home of the Baylor Bears

4.4

N/A

McLane Stadium (map it)
S Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Waco, TX 76704


Baylor Bears website

McLane Stadium website

Year Opened: 2014

Capacity: 45,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Baylor Football and the Brazos Are Reunited

After 65 years of playing football four miles off campus at Floyd Casey Stadium, the Baylor Bears football program has returned home. In the evening of August 31, 2014, on the shore of the Brazos River, Baylor University opened one of college football’s most scenic campus stadiums.

Baylor’s McLane Stadium became the third college football stadium to be accessible by water, joining Washington’s Husky Stadium, and Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium. The stadium’s horseshoe infrastructure was designed by the well-known sports architecture firm Populous, at a cost of $250 million, with a seating capacity of 45,000. The structure sits on the north side of the campus off Interstate 35.

The original name of the stadium was Baylor Stadium until December 2013, when in honor of Baylor Alum, Drayton McLane Jr., the stadium was renamed McLane Stadium. The campus is connected with the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Pedestrian Bridge crossing the Brazos River.

4.4

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    5

If you enter the stadium hungry, you have plenty of options once inside. The common stadium food of nachos are $5 while popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, frozen treats, Bear cookies and churros bites will cost you $4. However, McLane Stadium concessions offer five signature menus. These menus can be identified by the unique name of the concession stand.

1. Bistro Texana offers meatball sandwiches, boneless chicken wings, Chicken Parmigiana, pizza cheese fries, and Texana dogs.

2. Char-BQ serves a list of food items for the cost of $9 such as brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, smoked sausage, blackened chicken wraps and loaded nachos while a Texas combo sandwich of two meats and chips or potato salad are available for $10.

3. Creoles continues a Cajun flavor to the stadium with fried catfish po boy baskets ($10), smoked-n-fried bacon rings ($8), and chicken tenders basket ($7).

4. Eat Street seems to be for a lighter vegetarian side, providing a Texana Salad for $7 which is mixed greens, tomatoes, and vegetables and a vegetarian chipotle sausage dog for $6.

5. Fuel has the touchdown dog which is a ½ lb hot dog, cheese and jalapenos for $9.

Besides the permanent stands, the stadium has mobile stands that provide food, cotton candy ($5), and Kettle Korn ($8).

When you are looking for soft drinks in McLane Stadium, remember, you are in the birthplace of Dr. Pepper, so your choice of beverage is Dr. Pepper/RC products. The soda comes in 20 oz. bottles at $4. Other choices at the same price are All Sport drinks and 20 oz. bottled water. The best beverage choice for the money might be the 32oz water or Honey Bear Iced Tea (natural honey and Agave sweetness) which will cost you only a dollar more.

Baylor University is Baptist affiliated so there is no alcohol inside McLane Stadium. However, this doesn't mean alcohol isn't available for game days. If you want an alcoholic beverage, and you aren't tailgating/sailgating, then there is the Charlie O's Restaurant Beer tent in Touchdown Alley.

Atmosphere    4

Just like every great college football game, the atmosphere begins outside the stadium. This means tailgating. However, Baylor University now provides what only a few campuses can to their game day atmosphere and that is "Sail-gating." Tailgaters get to set up tents throughout the stadium grounds parking and on the shores of the Brazos River.

Touchdown Alley is located across the Basin Bridge and opens three hours prior and closes about 30 minutes after kickoff. Touchdown Alley provides activities, food, and beverages.

The Bear Walk provides fans with an opportunity to interact with the Baylor football team by providing a path from the buses to the stadium. The Bear Walk begins 2 ½ hours before kickoff at Touchdown Alley.

The Baylor Line then does the same thing before the team comes out on the field by running from the southeast corner of the stadium to the other side to form a path for the Baylor football team to run through onto the field. College football anywhere in the state of Texas, always seems to have a tradition of a great atmosphere, and Baylor University's new McLane Stadium is no exception.

Neighborhood    4

McLane Stadium lies just north of the Baylor University campus across the Brazos River in Waco, Texas. The stadium is nestled in the corner of Interstate 35, Lake Brazos Pkwy/MLK Jr. Blvd, and the Brazos River. The Sheila and Walter Umphrey Pedestrian Bridge connects the campus to the stadium.

Just over the pedestrian bridge on the campus side, tailgating is being done throughout Grant Teaff Plaza. Activities are set up around the Texas Hall of Fame and Texas Rangers Museum. Buzzard Billy's Restaurant is the closest restaurant to McLane Stadium. The restaurant is on the other side of Interstate 35 from the stadium's property on the Brazos River.

Waco has numerous restaurants to enjoy while attending a Baylor event. One of the more popular is Vitek's BBQ. Vitek's BBQ is on the south side of the Baylor campus. It is the home of the Gut Pack, which includes brisket, sausage, Frito chips, and beans. If you decide on this dish you won't need to eat the rest of the day as it is heavy and filling, but delicious. You should plan on being there early, Vitek's does serve outside as well as inside, but the wait can be long no matter which one you choose.

Another BBQ place just up the road from Vitek's BBQ is a chain restaurant, Rudy's Country Store BBQ which is another good choice.

George's Restaurant seems to be a popular place to meet before, during, and after the game. The restaurant has been serving Waco since 1930. The crowds are large so be prepared to get there early. George's Restaurant has a beer tent across the MLK Jr. Blvd by McLane Stadium if you just want to have drinks.

Although the restaurants aren't exactly close to the stadium, Waco has so many wonderful restaurants that you'll be able to find something that suits you. If you just want to do something in the neighborhood besides eating, there is the Dr. Pepper Museum, and the museum is open on Saturday. You'll get to see how the popular Texas soft drink is produced, the history, and get your own Dr. Pepper drink.

Fans    5

Baylor Nation is a wonderful fan base. They are energetic, fun, polite, respectful, and knowledgeable. The City of Waco is decked out in green and gold, with the local shops decorated showing support for the Bears. The fans are what you expect with big time college football, yet offer a close family atmosphere.

Access    4

The stadium provides 2,500 pre-paid parking spots onsite while the campus adds an additional 9,000. There is plenty of parking if you don't have a pre-paid parking pass. There is parking across MLK near the stadium for $20, but I would recommend to find one of the available 1,800 parking spaces in downtown Waco. Although, most of these spots are within a 5 mile walk, there are free shuttles. If those seem to be filled, there is more parking on the backside of the campus along the streets for free. My best advice for finding parking is not to wait. Get there early and enjoy the game day atmosphere. Campus streets start closures four hours before kickoff and parking lots open three hours prior to kickoff. There is limited ADA/handicap parking with a shuttle at the Baylor Research & Innovation Collaborative (BRIC).

McLane Stadium has unique access in getting to the stadium. The Brazos River provides the ability to use a boat. I suggest reading the boating guidelines and rules on the Baylor Athletic website if you plan on Sailgating or just accessing the stadium by water.

The stadium has eight gates for entrance into the stadium; four of them, Gates A-D are for the majority of fans while the other four will be for club or suite access. The concourses are very spacious and you can walk around the lower concourse while the game is in play without missing a play. However, the stadium is constructed in a horseshoe shape seating with a grass berm for general admission in the east end zone. This doesn't allow a person access to walk all the way around the lower level so fans could find themselves turning around to walk back the way they came. The campus along with the stadium provides outstanding signage for newcomers to the area.

Return on Investment    4

The return on investment is tricky being the inaugural season of McLane Stadium. Season tickets were completely sold-out with a waiting list for 2015. For the 2014 season you would have to go to a third party to buy tickets unless you were able to buy the general admission tickets at $30, which is located on the grass berm which doesn't allow access to the rest of the stadium. Third party tickets sellers, such as Ticket Monster range from $55 to a few hundred. Of course, the bigger the game, the higher price of the ticket.

Overall, McLane Stadium is one of the best venues for a football game in the Big 12 and possibly the nation. The scenic views overlooking the Brazos River, the high level of Big 12 competition, and the wonderful atmosphere that Baylor football provides gives any sports fan a must-see stadium during their travels.

Extras    5

An extra point is added for bringing college football back to a college campus in a beautiful setting on the Brazos River.

The benefit of bringing the stadium to the campus also allows fans to visit Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat where Baylor's mascots, Joy and Lady, spend their time. The habitat provides educational awareness to black bears.

Not too many reviews give a point to the school's freshmen class, but I believe that Baylor's freshmen deserve one. The freshmen class that make up the Baylor Line, wearing the gold shirts, running out on the field to form a funnel for the football team to run through, providing excitement, support, and staying until "That Ole Baylor Line" is played at the end of the game make them the true foundation of the Baylor spirit.

Boat-gating or sailgating, which ever term you like to use, makes McLane Stadium one of the few college stadiums where you can partake and definitely enhances the game day atmosphere.

Many colleges have a pre-game area for family-fun related activities; Baylor's is Touchdown Alley. The alley is located just across the Basin Bridge on the old Floyd Casey Stadium turf. The creativity of bringing the turf over to the new stadium to use as part of the new game day atmosphere deserves an extra point.

Final Thoughts

In November 1974, Baylor was losing to #12 Texas 24-7 at halftime. The Bears rallied to beat the Longhorns 34-24. The game is better known as "The Miracle on the Brazos" to Baylor fans, although the game was played away from the Brazos River in Floyd Casey Stadium. Forty years later, McLane Stadium, itself may be the true "Miracle on the Brazos." It is an incredible facility setting a solid footprint for the future of Baylor football. The Baylor football team has finally returned home to the Brazos.

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Local Food & Drink

Vitek’s BBQ  (map it!)

1600 Speight Ave

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 752-7591

http://viteksbbq.com/

Health Camp  (map it!)

2601 Circle Rd

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 752-2081

http://www.health-camp-waco.com/

Buzzard Billy’s  (map it!)

100 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd

Waco, TX 76704

(254) 753-2778

http://www.buzzardbillys.com/

Rudy’s Country Store BBQ  (map it!)

2510 Circle Rd

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 750-9995

http://www.rudysbbq.com/page/home

Local Entertainment

Dr. Pepper Museum  (map it!)

300 S 5th St

Waco, TX 76701

(254) 757-1025

http://www.drpeppermuseum.com/

Texas Sports Hall of Fame  (map it!)

1108 S University Parks Dr

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 756-1633

http://tshof.org/home/

Texas Rangers Museum  (map it!)

100 Texas Ranger Trail

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 750-8631

http://www.texasranger.org/

Lodging

Comfort Suites Baylor North  (map it!)

810 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd

Waco, TX 76705

(254) 799-7272

http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-waco-texas-TXF53

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