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Memorial Stadium

Lawrence, KS

Home of the Kansas Jayhawks

3.1

2.5

Memorial Stadium (map it)
1017 W 11th St
Lawrence, KS 66044


Kansas Jayhawks website

Memorial Stadium website

Year Opened: 1921

Capacity: 50,071

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Venue with a View

The plans are coming. The blueprints on their way -- the ones that will turn Memorial Stadium from a relic of what college football venues used to look like to a modern counterpart to its Big 12 associates.

A majority of University of Kansas fans and alumni are waiting with bated breath. “It’s like a big high school game here,” said one long-time fan. He is not alone with this thought -- as the stadium is only one of a select few in a major BCS conference (Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium being another) that still has a track around the perimeter.

But as Kansas fan Steve Koby will tell you, few schools have a track event such as revered as the Kansas Relays in April. “I come over to the KU Relays quite a bit. And I’m going to miss not having it in the stadium,” said Koby, whose father, Lloyd, was a member of KU’s 1954 national championship track and field team.

The track’s days are numbered. In April 2013, the school broke ground on Rock Chalk Park, a complex that will house, among other sports facilities, a new venue for KU’s track and field teams. Times are changing, but the Jayhawks’ home is still nestled in one of the more pastoral settings in major college Midwestern football -- at the bottom of rolling hill with main campus on full display above the southern end zone.

3.1

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    3

Fans will find The Hawk's Nest concession stands throughout the stadium. It is here where you can choose from the standard fare ($4.50 for a jumbo pretzel, $4 for a hot dog) and Coke products ($4-$5). There are also a couple of other options from local restaurants such as the popular $7 pulled pork sandwich from Bigg's Barbecue or the Mexican offerings from the Salty Iguana, where the top item on the menu is the "Bill Self Burrito" for $7. The KU men's basketball coach is a frequent customer and the restaurant plays host to Self's radio show. As a result, the offering -- consisting of beef, pork and black beans --was named in his honor.

Atmosphere    3

So you want the true KU football game experience? Take the lead of many fans and stay outside the gates for a bit. With such an idyllic location, plenty of spots for a vibrant tailgating scene around the venue and such a less-than-desirable product on the field, who needs to go inside? Getting one's hand stamped at halftime is a common practice -- as fans go mingle and roam about the nearby grounds on a pleasant autumn Saturday. Both students and alumni play host to pre-game -- and during-game -- at classic off-campus neighborhood houses.

Inside the stadium, the track does indeed put the action on the field farther away than desired. The scoreboard on the south side is a good size and provides all of the information fans need to keep up with the game. In contrast, the scoreboard on the north side is too small for those without binoculars. It is aided by two surrounding boards that provide additional statistics.

Those who want to get a little sun should look for seats on the east side, which appears rather barren given the large structure consisting of the press box and suites that rests on the west side. The Touchdown Club section near the south end zone looks misplaced -- like a cross between a movie theater and a jumbo jet.

Neighborhood    5

When it comes to eating and drinking before or after the game, fans have an assortment of options that one might associate with a great college town such as Lawrence. The lifeblood of the city runs down Massachusetts Street, affectionately known as "Mass Street" by locals. It is here where chain stores and restaurants coexist peacefully with mom-and-pop establishments. Try a local beer from Free State Brewing Company or stop by the popular Jefferson's for some hot wings. The choices are vast when it comes to eateries, bars and shopping. Closer to the stadium are two well-known college bars off of Ohio Street: The Hawk and The Wagon Wheel (or just "The Wheel"). The latter is famed for its Wang Burger and pizza.

In terms of lodging, it's hard to look past The Oread on Oread Avenue. That's largely in part because the tall limestone structure across the street from the stadium towers in back of the east side stands. Another popular non-chain choice is the historic and elegant Eldridge Hotel, located in the heart of Massachusetts Street. Those wanting a more traditional route can find just about every hotel chain within the city limits.

Fans    3

For a university that has been a basketball school since its founding, Jayhawk football fans do what you would expect of a program that has experienced more downs than ups in its history. There are a large group of fans who still support the team and get loud when the Jayhawks are showing any signs of being competitive --and "wave the wheat" by a windshield-wiper motion with their hands when the team scores. They, though, are in the minority. Fans of the opposition are treated well for the most part.

That Orange Bowl victory in 2008 is only a distant memory as the program has again fallen on hard times, resulting in low and early-leaving crowds, boo birds and not much of a semblance of a student section. You want to see Jayhawk fans in their natural habitat? Go to a game at Allen Fieldhouse. Day meet night.

Access    2

Like other stadiums located in scenic locales (Arkansas's Razorback Stadium, for instance), the parking situation is far from ideal. The lots that surround the stadium are mostly already accounted for and the local residents claim a majority of the street parking, leaving only a few options. Some folks park at nearby apartment complexes for $20 or $25. Others opt to pay $20 at official universal lots located on the other side of campus and take a shuttle. When asked about parking, I received the same answer by many fans: "Get here early."

The concourses are a little on small side compared to the expansive floor plans of more modern facilities, but are passable. The bathrooms offer plenty of space and are serviceable enough.

Return on Investment    3

Ticket prices vary depending on the opponent. The range was $24.75 to $65 for the game I attended against Texas Tech in fall 2013. That range expands to $31.25 or $80 when the likes of Oklahoma or Kansas State is in town. Quite simply, that may seem pricey for a KU fan given the product on the field, but could be reasonable to an out-of-town fan who is looking to catch his or her favorite team.

Extras    3

One point is given for The Junior Hawk's Nest near Section 13. The food stand features an array of kid-friendly food, featuring the Junior Jayhawk Meal Deal (hot dog, popcorn, candy bar and juice box) for $5.

One point is awarded for the Rock Chalk Recycle program, an initiative that began at the start of the 2013 season. As part of the effort, there are 33 stations located throughout the facility -- but besides just offering three large bins for fans to place their recyclable trash into, every station is manned by a volunteer to answer any questions and to make sure that items are placed in the correct containers.

One point is given for the view from the southern end zone that looks up to Campanile Hill and the campus' iconic bell tower. The stadium might be lacking in certain areas when compared to its counterparts in the Big 12, but it certainly does not lack in vistas of the surrounding rolling hillside.

Final Thoughts

The stadium is indeed old, but it has a certain charm to it and an underrated tailgating scene, one that can certainly be enjoyed by Kansas fans or visiting fans alike -- regardless of what the scoreboard says. It will be interesting to see what changes are made besides the removal of the track. It's hard to imagine the school adding more seats until the football team starts winning at a steady pace.

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Crowd Reviews

Jayhawk Football at Memorial Stadium

Total Score: 2.57

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 1

Located at the bottom of a sloping hill north of campus and overlooked by a towering campanile, Memorial Stadium at the University of Kansas paints one of the most idyllic settings in all of college football.

The stadium was built in 1920 and dedicated to KU students that were lost fighting in World War I. Originally housing bleachers on just the east and west sides of the field, Memorial has undergone several major renovations to get its current capacity 50,071.

Though hardly one of the most updated or modernized venues in the Big XII, KU's Memorial Stadium nonetheless serves as one of the more unique places to watch a game in the midwest.

Kansas could use an upgrade...

Total Score: 2.43

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 0

The stadium is dated and not lacking in uniqueness. Yes the team has stunk outside of a few years with Mangino, but that's no excuse for not updating a boring place to see a game. As the team has been pretty bad, the fans generally don't hang around or generate much excitement.

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Local Food & Drink

Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse  (map it!)

719 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 841-6400

http://www2.ljworld.com/marketplace/businesses/buffalo-bobs/

Jefferson's Restaurant  (map it!)

743 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 832-2000

http://www.jeffersonsrestaurant.com/lawrence/

Sylas & Maddy's  (map it!)

1014 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 832-8323

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sylas-Maddys/221535921231

Free State Brewing Company  (map it!)

636 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 843-4555

http://freestatebrewing.com/

Milton's  (map it!)

920 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 832-2330

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miltons/199361363448154

The Wagon Wheel  (map it!)

507 W 14th St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 749-4335

http://www.facebook.com/thewagonwheel

The Hawk  (map it!)

1340 Ohio St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 843-9273

http://www.jayhawkcafe.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

The Oread  (map it!)

1200 Oread Ave

Lawrence, KS 66044

(785) 843-1200

http://www.theoread.com/

Eldridge Hotel  (map it!)

701 Massachusetts St

Lawrence, KS 66044

(800) 678-8946

http://www.historichotels.org/hotels-resorts/eldridge-hotel/?src=2605338

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