On the banks of the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio, 200,000 people gather for six Saturdays every fall to come together as one to cheer on their beloved Buckeyes. Whether the team is playing for a national title or only looking ahead to the big rivalry of the year, fans will brave the unpredictable Ohio weather to get loud for the Scarlet and Gray.
Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, was constructed in just over a year and held its first official game on October 7, 1922, against crosstown Ohio Wesleyan University in front of a crowd of 25,000. Very fittingly, later that season, the first-ever Michigan game held in Ohio Stadium drew an amazing crowd at the time of over 72,000 of the 90,000 available seats. Since the opening, many renovations have been conducted to update and expand "The Shoe" which now comfortably seats 102,000, the fourth-largest college football stadium in the country. In addition to Buckeye football, Ohio Stadium has also been home to the Columbus Crew, before they built their own stadium, and various concerts such as Pink Floyd, Elton John, Billy Joel, U2, and the Rolling Stones.
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".
To put it as simply as possible, there are no frills about the offerings at Ohio Stadium. That may sound harsh, however, you won't find much more than the usual stadium food, not to mention that they don't serve alcohol. The prices on food and drinks are to be expected, reasonable for what you get at the ballpark.
The atmosphere at Ohio Stadium is absolutely electric. From the band's traditional entrance and "Script Ohio" at the beginning, to the student's White Stripes chant, to the "Hell's Bells" on defensive third downs, any fan will get goose bumps just at the thought of it. Another hair raising tradition at Ohio State is the four sided O-H-I-O chant. In the same fashion as the wave, the fans go around with each side making the letter with their arms and chanting it. The best part is the delay that you hear between when you see it and when you hear it because of the size of the stadium.
Featured night games in Columbus are on a completely different level, as one would imagine. Fans still arrive in the parking lots at the same time as they would for a noon game which makes for that much more partying. This added time gives them ample opportunities to set up the OSU flags, tents, grills, corn hole boards, satellite television, and the works. Ohio State fans will give any college football fans a run for their money in the tailgating category.
Even though I'm somewhat of a rookie when it comes to college football coverage, I can't imagine a campus having a better "neighborhood." There's anything one could ever dream of doing before or after a game. There are bars and restaurants that are appealing to any age or taste within a short walk to Lane Avenue, High Street, or Olentangy River Road. The party at Riverwatch would rival any college football festival, along with other large outdoor bar areas just up the way. You have to go to the Varsity Club right on Lane, very close to the stadium; Little Bar, which is a short walk up
Lane and just to the left on High; and of course, as I mentioned, Riverwatch.
The fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes could possibly be some of the most passionate, loud, exciting, and respectful fans I've ever seen. I wouldn't go as far as to say that they're welcoming to opposing fans, however, they are respectful and unlike other stadiums alike, fans aren't so courteous to outsiders. However, there might be a huge exception to this rule when a certain team from the unmentionable state from up north comes to town.
Overall, the stadium is very accessible by almost any mode of transit. By car, one can travel from all directions using Ohio State Route 315 by way of Columbus bypass Interstate 270 using I-71 or I-70. In addition, Columbus International Airport is a quick fifteen-minute drive to campus.
Upon arrival to campus, parking is usually very easy as long as ample travel time is allotted. Parking can be very reasonably priced, however, a short walk will be almost guaranteed.
Restrooms are adequate, and while seating could be slightly improved, it is to be expected to be a bit squished in the bleacher style seating that is so popular in college sports.
Typically, if tickets are purchased at face value, the experience is well worth it. However, when you start searching for big featured tickets from outside ticket sources, you're looking at a substantially-higher price. Depending on your loyalty, I believe you'll still find high ticket prices well worth the experience in return. Overall, Ohio is a fairly reasonable place to live or travel to, one should find no problem paying to have a great time in Columbus.
The Ohio State Marching Band, also known as The Best Damn Band in the Land, is a spectacular treat whether you see them for the first time or the twenty-first time. They are loud, perfectly in formation, and tradition seeps from every performance. Be sure to get in the stadium early to see them march in and perform their famous "Script Ohio" show, and as soon as the game ends lock arms for the alma mater as the team does so on the field in front of the band.
The overall atmosphere at Ohio Stadium is very worthy of an extra point. Any stadium that consistently fills their 100,000-plus seats deserves an extra nod for the atmosphere that it creates.
The pre- and post-game activities all over campus are well worth the trip down, even if you don't have a ticket. There is so much energy in Columbus on game days even if the home team isn't victorious.
If you don't reply with an "I-O" when you're prompted with the classic "O-H," you don't have a pulse. Ohio State football at Ohio Stadium is an absolute institution. Every thought associated with the tradition of college football is apparent in this touchdown of a venue. Do yourself a favor and visit Columbus to see this great spectacle.
For seven or eight Saturdays in the fall, everything in Columbus, Ohio stops. Hundreds of thousands of people gather in the northern part of the city, decked out in scarlet and gray, as streets shut down and prepare for a day of skull sessions, dotting the I, and tailgating. And for the older crowd, maybe a beer or two is enjoyed as well.
There really is nothing quite like the atmosphere surrounding an Ohio State football game. You'll find this in most college towns, but it's further amplified in Columbus. Virtually everyone in Ohio can find a common ground with one another: the Buckeyes. From Toledo to Portsmouth, Cleveland to Cincinnati, it all culminates in a three-and-a-half hour party in the Horseshoe.
It doesn't matter what else is going on in the city, or the state for that matter. In 2010, President Barack Obama visited The Ohio State University and spoke on the Oval. But that wasn't even the biggest buzz around town - that distinction belonged to the Buckeyes, who earned the No. 1 ranking for the first time in three years.
The men's basketball team makes the Final 4? Terrific news.
The Browns or Bengals are fighting for a playoff spot? Sure to get some people around Columbus fired up.
The Blue Jackets make it to the playoffs for the first time? Exciting times.
But none of that holds a candle to Ohio State football.
This may have been my favorite college sporting event I've attended. It's still the story I tell people. 2007 Ohio State was playing Illinois, and Illinois upset Ohio State. The thing that was amazing was that the crowd was loud the entire game, until it became clear that Illinois was going to win. When Illinois scored that last touchdown the entire stadium went silent. It was the strangest feeling I've ever felt.
It was an extra bonus that I went to school at Illinois.
This place is just a sports fan's dream! It doesnt get much better than this in college sports! Add this trip to your bucket list! Must-see!!!
Everything about Ohio State game day is awesome. Seeing all of the tailgaters set up and grilling! We always go to the Skull Session at St. John's Arena - when the band comes down the tunnel the place is so loud and you get goosebumps from it all! Then the coach and players walk in to address everyone and place explodes again. The crowd atmosphere during the game is second to none. Script OHIO, the dotting of the 'I', the list goes on and on! You're not just a fan...you're a BUCKEYE!!! O - H - I - O
Most of Ohio is football land, and Columbus is no exception. It seems like everyone in town is passionate about their Buckeyes, and there is a bit of surliness now that the Ohio State University is down amid a so-so season and the ousting of Jim Tressel. It will be really interesting to watch what Urban Meyer can do for this program.
Great game, bathrooms situation for women in the upperdeck isn't bad, it's unbearable for men as there are 3 urinals & 2 stalls for approximately 20,000 people.
Atmosphere is like nothing else on game days. People come flowing in from all over just to hang out at the bars or tailgates before the game and it is PACKED. From what I've seen at least, away fans are treated with respect (minus Michigan, but even that I've never seen blatantly cross the line of heckling into personal attack). The band is absolutely amazing, if you doubt it at all look up the Nebraska halftime show on youtube. Plenty of stuff to do after games on High Street which is only a 10-15 minute walk from the stadium (a good time to take in the OSU campus lol). Food and beverage is nothing special, and I can't imagine ROI is as great for neutral fans if the game isn't something extraordinary, as even tickets for low key games get pretty expensive.
278 W Lane Ave
Columbus, OH 43201
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175 E Town St
Columbus, OH 43215