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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Alabama State University has a long history as one of the most successful Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) in the country. Members of the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), the Hornets compete at the NCAA Division I FCS level. In 2013, the Hornets began playing in their new on campus stadium, the New ASU Stadium, which has a capacity of 26,500.
Among the special features the stadium offers are 20 skyboxes, 200 loge seats, 750 club seats, two party terraces and general admission berm seating. It features a synthetic playing turf, which allows the stadium to be used for a variety of activities year-round, such as other athletic events, concerts and graduation ceremonies.
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".
There are two ways you have to rate the food at ASU; outside and inside the stadium. Outside, barbeque rules the day, with vendors selling and friendly tailgaters sharing,their best recipes. Numerous vendors are set up in booths outside of the stadium selling both barbeque and more traditional stadium fare. The food outside the stadium far exceeds the taste and quality of the food offered at the stadium concession stands.
Moving back into a new stadium on campus has made a huge difference in the game day experience at Alabama State. Oddly enough, the New ASU Stadium has allowed the "old school" traditions to return. Fans make a day, or even a weekend out of a Hornets home football game. Tailgating is heavily promoted, and the university has special lots allocated to tailgaters, with amenities such as restrooms, some electrical hookups and spaces big enough to accommodate RVs.
Other elements of the pre game activities include the Hornets Walk, where the team walks to the stadium through a corridor formed by the Marching Hornets and cheerleaders. The band also performs for early arriving fans.
The campus of Alabama State University surrounds the stadium and the school has a done a beautiful job of incorporating the stadium into the existing campus that predates the stadium's construction. The stadium has academic buildings and campus housing adjoining it with a nice pedestrian greenway winding through the area. Many students walk to the games or ride their bikes, as the stadium has bike racks right outside the stadium. On game day the campus bookstore is just a short walk from the stadium for alums and fans to buy spirit items. It is an extremely safe environment with both the campus police force and the Montgomery City police force patrolling the crowds.
The SWAC is a very competitive conference and virtually every game of the season is against a close rival (most SWAC member schools are in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee or Mississippi... easy drives to Montgomery). The stadium color scheme, as well as a majority of the fans' outfits, are predominantly Hornet Black and Gold.
ASU fans are there for a good time and to strongly support their team, but are respectful of the visiting team and their fans. As a majority of ASU opponents are also HBCU's there is usually a mutual history these schools shared during the difficult segregation era, and this is apparent in the sportsmanship shown during the game. Another unique feature of a SWAC game is that the loudest the stadium gets is during the halftime shows, when the two schools' bands compete to show their best moves and musical talents.
Reaching the New ASU Stadium is very easy as it is just off I-85 with an exit leading you directly to the parking areas of the stadium. Signage guiding you to the lots is very good and there are plenty of traffic volunteers to assist visitors who may not be familiar with the campus. Parking is just $5.
Accessibility inside the stadium is also very well designed as the plaza/concourse area is large enough to prevent bottlenecks from occurring. Restrooms and concession stands are plentiful which also assists in keeping things moving.
Tickets to the game are $15 for general admission, and go up to $40 for 50 yard line reserved seating. Prices at the concession stands are very reasonable, with hot dogs at $2 up to $6 for turkey legs. Parking is just $5 close to the stadium.
Halftime performances by the Mighty Marching Hornets Band are something to behold, as their showmanship, musical talent and choreography are spectacular. Add to that the moves of their dance teams, the Stingettes and the Honeybeez, and you will not leave your seat at halftime because you do not want to miss the show. Many fans come not for the game, but to see the halftime performance. More music fans, Nat King Cole's boyhood home is next door to the stadium and is now a museum.
Member Review by It's A Hornet Thing!🐝 on Jan 08, 2016
Great school and beautiful Stadium!
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915 S Jackson St
Montgomery, AL 36104
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