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Official Review by Miles Markiewicz, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The bite of winter from the banks of the Hocking River will chill you to the bone more than the crunch of the pads on a cold November night in Peden Stadium. Built in 1929, this historic venue is home to the Ohio University Bobcats and remains the oldest stadium in the MAC.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The only real disappointment of a trip to Athens will be the selection of refreshments during the game. It's hard to believe that a town with so many unique food and beverage establishments to offer would have such a bland selection in the football stadium.
Everything is priced at about $3-$5 and the selection includes nachos, popcorn, candy, hot chocolate, hot dogs and bratwursts. They charge $5 for a small slice of pizza that tastes like the cardboard it was stored in. If you do decide to brave the cold in November, the fountain drinks might be frozen and limit your options further. The only different concession stand you will find is a burger stand, but they don't accept credit cards. Bottom line is to eat before or after the game.
The layout of the stadium will be most noticeable to you at the beginning of your visit because everything is so spread out. The seating is really split up into five main sections. The main seating is just under Peden Tower on the west side of the field. There is a family section in the northeast corner. The band and students sit with each other on the east side.
Without the Ohio University Marching Band, "The Marching 110," there is no atmosphere. They bring the party with them to the stadium and do a fantastic job of spreading the energy. If you talk with some students, they will tell you the open hill on the south side (named "Victory Hill") fills up for games with better weather and is only open to students.
If you are willing to spend a little extra money, you will never be closer to the players on the sideline than in the front row at Peden Stadium. It's very cool to study the sideline and hear the communication of a football team deep in the heart of battle.
Like most quaint college towns in Ohio, the surrounding neighborhood is filled with good times. Everything is located right off of Court Street, a five minute walk from the stadium. As you approach the bars, the area gets a little less family friendly because there aren't as many shops and restaurants. Similar to the stadium itself, Athens is known for its party atmosphere and lives up to it.
Some great spots to check out include Pawpurr's Bar, Court Street Diner, and Tony's. One of the best spots in town, Jackie O's Pub and Brewery, suffered a fire in 2014. It is unknown when they will be back for business, but it was a popular location which hopefully will be back in business soon. Be sure to check out whether or not they will be available on your visit.
Tony's has a bit of an older crowd and a friendly environment, a great spot to hang out for pre game. If nothing else, make sure you ask for a "hot nut" shot at Tony's with hazelnut liqueur and coffee. It may be the best beverage you ever have, especially on a cold day.
The fans at Ohio University are pretty supportive of their football program. The 24,000 seats at Peden Stadium will usually fill up for games in September. However, these fans in Athens love to talk about basketball. That said, the fans that are brave enough to sit through games in November know exactly where their team stands and what that game means for the season. On the other hand, you may talk to some fans that are there just because they received free tickets.
Similar to other stadiums in the MAC, students have trouble filling up the large section that is reserved for them. This impacts the atmosphere at any college football venue. Students need to be there to bring the energy.
It really doesn't matter where you drive in to Athens from, the city is very easy to find. You will most likely arrive via US -33, which is located right alongside the Hocking River and eventually Peden Stadium. Get off the exit, enter the roundabout and the campus will appear before you instantly.
Nothing is too far apart in Athens. This makes for a great experience because you can park for the game and explore the stadium, basketball arena, campus and Court Street. Lines for the concessions and restrooms are never an issue, and the friendly employees at the box office do a great job of finding the ticket that works for you.
Football in the MAC is different from major college football stadiums. The things you hear about the charm of these games are true. The competition is great, fans love their team, and tickets are never too expensive.
Normal seating will cost you anywhere from $22-$32. Parking is $5 and not located too far from the stadium. Overall, a day in Athens will be relatively inexpensive and enjoyable.
Peden Tower was built as a center for the Ohio University football program and houses the offices, press box and anything else needed for game day. It's unique because it looks like the stadium is built within the tower, even though Peden Tower was built after the original stadium was constructed. This is one of those things that jumps out upon arrival and is a very cool addition to the feel of the stadium.
Peden Stadium offers a historical aspect and a unique layout, but it's the combination of the surrounding area that make it a good time. You will find louder venues than Peden Stadium (and better food for that matter), but it can easily compete with any stadium in the MAC because of its culture. If you can, talk to some of the students or alumni while visiting Ohio University. They love their school and will be happy to offer more great places to check out. Whenever alumni talk about returning for a visit, they never say "going back to OU" or "going back to Ohio University.".Instead, they say "back to Athens."
Member Review by collegiatestdms
Peden Stadium is located on the banks of the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio. Built in 1929, it is the oldest stadium in the MAC and is showing its age. However, Athens is widely known as one of the best college party towns in America so the entire experience is worth a trip to Athens even if the game itself is not.
Member Review by jbarrett107108 on Apr 10, 2012
Great place to watch a football and the atmosphere has enhanced alot due to the recent success
Member Review by Aaron S. Terry on Nov 24, 2015
Easy to get in and out of due to the very small crowd (even at full capacity), and the fans are loyal to their team, so you will see a lot of green. The concessions are a bit disappointing, however. But the river setting is nice.
18 North Court Street
Athens, OH 45701
37 N Court St
Athens, OH 45701
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