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McLane Stadium

Waco, TX

Home of the Baylor Bears

4.1

4.3

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


Baylor Bears website

McLane Stadium website

Year Opened: 2014

Capacity: 45,140

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Baylor's McLane Stadium

Baylor University's McLane Stadium is one of college football's most scenic campus stadiums. On the evening of August 31, 2014, Baylor's McLane Stadium became the third on-campus 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 45,140. The structure sits on the north side of the campus off I-35, in the campus' athletic complex.

The stadium was originally planned to be named Baylor Stadium until December 2013, when in honor of Baylor Alum Drayton McLane Jr., the stadium was renamed McLane Stadium. The campus is connected to the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Pedestrian Bridge which crosses the Brazos River. The Baylor Bears christened McLane Stadium with a 45-0 win over Southern Methodist University, and the stadium has since become a popular venue for Texas high school football playoff games.

4.1

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

There are plenty of food options inside McLane Stadium. The basics like popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, chips, and candy range from $4 to $6, and being in Texas there is always BBQ on the menu, in this case from Big Bib BBQ. Big Bib BBQ offers brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, turkey breast, or Texas loaded kettle chips for $11 each, while the Eat Street Grill stand features an array of choices such as nachos, chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs. In addition, the Fuel concessions stand has a BBQ pork sliders basket for $11, Baylor foot-long hot dogs for $9, or the Grillman's classic dog for $5.

Besides the permanent stands, the stadium also has mobile food carts that provide interesting food choices, such as Philly Cheesesteak or French dip sandwiches, both served with kettle chips for $10. There is also a nacho grande stand offering $6 nachos, unless you choose to go big with the loaded nachos, in which case the cost is $10. In addition, McLane Stadium has stands from outside vendor Chick-fil-A, serving $8 chicken tender baskets or $6 chicken sandwiches.

In terms of drinks, McLane Stadium offers fans a choice of Pepsi and of course Dr Pepper products, as Waco is the birthplace of Dr Pepper. Sodas come in 20 oz. bottles for $4; other choices for the same price are bottled water and Gatorade. However, the best beverage choice for the money might be the 32 oz. souvenir soda or Honey Bear Iced Tea (natural honey and Agave sweetness), both of which go for $6. Baylor University is Baptist-affiliated, so there is no alcohol inside McLane Stadium. However, this doesn't mean alcohol isn't available on game days; just head to the Charlie O's Restaurant beer tent in Touchdown Alley, which opens three hours before kickoff.

Atmosphere    4

Like every great college football game, the atmosphere begins outside the stadium, and that means tailgating. However, McLane Stadium now provides what only a few campuses can do to their game day atmosphere, and that is "sailgating." Tailgaters get to set up tents all around the stadium grounds, as well as on the shores of the Brazos River, and some even tailgate in their boats.

Touchdown Alley is located across the Basin Bridge, and opens three hours prior to kickoff, and closes about 30 minutes after. This area provides activities, food, and beverages. The Bear Walk begins at Touchdown Alley, and provides fans with an opportunity to interact with the Baylor football team by forming a pathway for the team to walk through from the buses to the stadium; the Bear Walk begins 2½ hours before kickoff. The incoming freshmen, known as the "Baylor Line," also add entertainment by rushing out onto the field before the players do, running across the field starting at the southeast corner, and forming a tunnel for the Baylor football team to run through onto the field.

College football across the state of Texas always seems to have a tradition of being a great atmosphere, and Baylor University's McLane Stadium is no exception. The uptempo offense of the Baylor football team keeps Baylor fans on their feet and cheering throughout the game. Of course, the Baylor spirit squad and the Bears mascot, Bruiser, keep the crowd entertained during timeouts. At the end of the contest, the Baylor Band performs a musical concert which is worth staying for, especially because while you are waiting the heavy traffic will have time to clear out.

Neighborhood    4

McLane Stadium lies just north of the Baylor University campus, which is across the Brazos River in Waco, Texas. The stadium is nestled in the corner of I-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 done throughout Grant Teaff Plaza. Pre-game activities are set up around the Texas Hall of Fame and the Texas Rangers Museum.

Buzzard Billy's Restaurant, along the Brazos River, is the closest restaurant to McLane Stadium. However, Waco has numerous other restaurants to enjoy while attending a Baylor sporting event. One of the more popular is Vitek's BBQ, which is on the south side of the Baylor campus. Vitek's is the home of the Gut Pack, which includes brisket, sausage, Fritos, 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 arriving early, however; Vitek's does serve outside as well as inside, but the wait can be long no matter which one you choose.

George's Restaurant is also a popular place to meet before, during, or after the game. This restaurant has been serving Waco since 1930, and the crowds here are large, so be prepared to get there early. In addition, George's Restaurant has a beer tent across MLK Jr. Blvd from 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 easily be able to find something that suits you. If you want to do something in the neighborhood besides eat, there is the Dr Pepper Museum, which is open on Saturdays. You'll get to see how the popular Texas soft drink is produced, its history, and get your own Dr Pepper drink. Or, if you want to stay closer to the stadium, on campus you can visit the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat. There you will find Baylor's live mascots Joy and Lady. Joy and Lady are from Bandon, Oregon, and weigh in between 270 and 280 pounds. These black bears are sisters and can be visited daily throughout the year.

Fans    4

Baylor has a wonderful fan base, with an average attendance of 45,838, which is 700 more fans than the listed 45,140. The fans that pack McLane Stadium are energetic, fun, polite, respectful, and knowledgeable. Baylor University being the centerpiece of Waco, the city is decked out in green and gold, with the local shops decorated to show support for the Bears.

The Baylor Bears fans are what you expect from big-time college football, yet offer a close family atmosphere, since the university is a 14,000-student undergraduate private school. The Baylor student section is along the visiting sideline, and they can be identified by their gold shirts, standing the whole game and serving as the spark plug for the energy inside McLane Stadium.

Access    4

There is plenty of parking for football games at McLane Stadium, even if you don't have a pre-paid parking pass. There is paid parking across MLK near the stadium for $20, but if you get there early enough, residents in the neighborhoods around campus allow parking on their property for $5 to $20. However, the best advice for parking is to take advantage of the 1,800 downtown city of Waco parking spaces, all within five miles of the stadium, and free. While most of these spaces are about a 25-minute walk from McLane Stadium, there is a free shuttle for fans, with pick-up at 5th Street & Austin Avenue, and drop-off on the south side of MLK & I-35. There will be plenty of fans walking to the stadium, so you'll be able to arrive at McLane Stadium without being misdirected.

The best advice for finding parking is not to wait; get there early and enjoy the game day atmosphere. Campus streets start closing 4 hours before kickoff, and parking lots open 3 hours prior. There is limited ADA/handicap parking with a shuttle leaving from the Baylor Research & Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). In addition, since 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 Baylor's website if you plan on sailgating, or just accessing the stadium by water.

Once you get to McLane Stadium, you will find 8 gates for entrance into the stadium; gates A-D are for the majority of fans, while the other 4 are for club/suite access. The concourses at McLane Stadium are very spacious, and you can walk around the lower concourse while the game is in play without missing anything. However, the stadium is constructed in a horseshoe with a grass berm for general admission in the east end zone. This doesn't allow fans to walk all the way around the lower level, so you might find yourself having to turn around and walk back the way you came. The stadium and Baylor's campus provide outstanding signage for newcomers to the area, and the concourse is wide with plenty of bathrooms. Overall, McLane Stadium has above average accessibility for fans. Note that the stadium has a no re-entry policy except for medical emergencies.

Return on Investment    4

Baylor football burst onto the national scene when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy, and moving back on campus to a top-notch facility produced a high demand for tickets. Tickets are usually completely sold out, forcing fans to buy from a 3rd party if they aren't able to buy the general admission tickets for $30 (the general admission is located on the grass berm around the scoreboard, and doesn't allow access to the rest of the stadium).

Prices to Baylor football games from 3rd party tickets sellers range from $55 to a few hundred. Of course, the bigger the game, the higher the cost of the tickets. Nevertheless, McLane Stadium is one of the best football venues 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 makes this a must-see stadium for any sports fan.

Extras    5

McLane Stadium is a beautiful setting for college football, being situated on the Brazos River, and not far from campus and the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat, home of Baylor's live mascots Joy and Lady. The habitat provides educational awareness about black bears, and is well worth a visit before or after the game.

In addition, while not many stadiums can claim that their freshmen raise the game day atmosphere, here at Baylor the freshmen class is very active. The Baylor Line in their gold shirts, rushing out onto the field to form a tunnel for the football team to run through, and providing excitement, support, and staying until after the game, when That Good Ole Baylor Line is played by the band, really enhances the game day atmosphere. Also, the sailgating here at McLane Stadium, which only fans at a few college football stadiums can partake in, definitely adds to the experience.

Another great feature here is that Baylor recognizes their only Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, with a mural inside the stadium and a statue on the plaza at the open end. Furthermore, Touchdown Alley (located just across the Basin Bridge) is built on top of the old Floyd Casey Stadium turf; the creativity of bringing that turf over to the new stadium to use as part of the game day atmosphere connects the past to the present. Last but not least, McLane Stadium is keeping up with today's technology by providing six mobile device charging stations inside the venue.

Final Thoughts

McLane Stadium is an incredible facility, and a solid footprint for the future of Baylor football. The game day atmosphere continues to improve since the move from Floyd Casey Stadium. The intimate construction of the stadium provides one of the best sidelines and atmospheres in the Big 12 Conference, and should be a stop on any football fan's list of stadiums to visit during the season.

What about Heinz Field?

You mentioned only 3 stadiums accessible by water - can't you get to Heinz field that way? I thought it was right on the river.

by Aaron S. Terry | Jul 24, 2015 05:43 PM

Corerction-Thanks for comment

Aaron, You are correct about Heinz Field as I'm a Steelers fan although since I'm not from Pittsburgh, the Panthers weren't a thought. I will change to 3rd campus stadium access by water

by Tejasduck | Nov 10, 2015 01:39 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Baylor Football and the Brazos Are Reunited

Total Score: 4.43

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

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 on-campus 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.

Stunning

Total Score: 4.14

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

Located right on the Brazos River, the new Baylor Stadium is absolutely gorgeous. There is a literal village of tailgating on both sides of the river as you walk into the stadium, and you can walk right up to the water's edge (it almost seems like it was built for concerts on the water as there are stone steps set up in theater style there). Parking is free but a little far away. Great atmosphere, great fan base - the only down sides are tickets are rather pricey even for standing room on the grass in one end zone, and concessions aren't that impressive (not much variety). Be sure to check out the Dr. Pepper Museum while you are in town.

Football on the Brazos

Total Score: 4.43

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

On 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 on-campus 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.

The Baylor Bears christened McLane Stadium with a 45-0 win over Southern Methodist University.

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Local Food & Drink

Buzzard Billy’s  (map it!)

100 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd

Waco, TX 76704

(254) 753-2778

http://www.buzzardbillys.com/

Vitek’s BBQ  (map it!)

1600 Speight Ave

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 752-7591

http://viteksbbq.com/

George's Restaurant & Bar  (map it!)

1925 Speight

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 753-1421

http://georgesrestaurant.com/

Rudy’s Country Store BBQ  (map it!)

2510 Circle Rd

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 750-9995

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

Health Camp  (map it!)

2601 Circle Rd

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 752-2186

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

Local Entertainment

Dr Pepper Museum  (map it!)

300 S 5th St

Waco, TX 76701

(254) 757-1025

http://www.drpeppermuseum.com/

Texas Rangers Museum  (map it!)

100 Texas Ranger Trail

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 750-8631

http://www.texasranger.org/

Texas Sports Hall of Fame  (map it!)

1108 S University Parks Dr

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 756-1633

http://www.tshof.org/

Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat  (map it!)

M P Daniel Esplanade

Waco, TX 76706

(254) 710-3322

http://www.baylor.edu/bear/index.php?id=82037

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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