Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field (map it)
615 Silver Lane
East Hartford, CT 06118
Year Opened: 2003
There are no tickets available at this time.
Football has been played at the University of Connecticut since 1896. From 1953 to 2002, their home was the on-campus Memorial Stadium, which seated 16,200 fans. This stadium was adequate for the team's needs at the time, as the Huskies played in Division 1-A. When the school made the move to FBS, the NCAA's top division, a new home for the Huskies was needed.
When the city of Hartford attempted to woo the New England Patriots to Connecticut, a stadium was planned to house both the Huskies and Patriots. When the Patriots announced that they were staying in Foxboro, the original 70,000 seat downtown stadium project was scrapped. A new site for the UConn stadium emerged when Pratt and Whitney donated land across the Connecticut River in East Hartford at the old Rentschler Airfield for a stadium.
Rentschler Field is located 21 miles west of the University of Connecticut campus. The stadium was the first new stadium used primarily by an FBS team built in the 21st century. The stadium has also served as the home of the Hartford Colonials of the UFL, and as host to several US national soccer team friendlies.
In 2015 Rentschler Field was renamed Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in a deal between the company and UConn. As part of the deal, Pratt and Whitney donated additional land at the site that will be used for game day parking.
UConn has played in six bowl games and won a pair of Big East conference championships since their move to FBS in 2000. The Huskies currently play in the American Athletic Conference, the new configuration of the Big East football conference.
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".
A definite strength of the UConn game day experience is the variety and quality of concessions available at Rentschler Field. Fans who do not take advantage of the active tailgating scene can still leave a Husky game with a full belly, and maybe even a few dollars left in their wallet.
Some of the best food available at Rentschler Field can be found outside the stadium. Fans should head over to FanFest at the southeast side of the stadium, where the legendary UConn Dairy Bar now has a food truck camped out at all home games. Several flavors of their incredible ice cream, which was voted the best in the state by Connecticut Magazine, are sold here.
Concession stands scattered along the outer edge of the concourse provide hungry Husky fans with a great variety of choices for a game day meal. Stands are organized by the food provided, so fans may need to search a little to find their desired items. Options include Grillmasters (burgers and cheesesteaks), Chicken Fry Fry (chicken tenders and sandwiches), Roma Pizza, BBQ Bear's Smokehouse, Hot Dog Nation, Chef Express (wraps, sausage and peppers) and tamale's (nachos, tacos, rice bowls).
Many fans will gravitate to the northwest end zone, where a variety of food trucks set up shop. Local favorite Ted's Restaurant serves up their famous steamed burgers. If visiting Rentschler Field from out of town, this is where you should head. Fans needing to satisfy a sweet tooth should stop at NoRA Cupcake Company for some gourmet treats.
Pepsi products are featured at Rentschler Field. There is an outstanding selection of beer available, from national brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light and Yeungling to craft brands including Sam Adams and Leinenkugel's and local favorite Two Roads.
UConn Husky fans will notice several game day experience improvements for the 2016 season.
There is an active tailgating scene here at Rentschler Field. Season ticket holders can enter the lots surrounding Rentschler Field five hours before kickoff, a full hour before the general public, and can reserve spots in selected lots for their friends so that they can all party together. Also new for 2016 is the student tailgating section for UConn students who drive to Rentschler Field. This section offers reduced price and a location closer to the stadium.
Be sure to check out the FanFest, located along the Husky Walk in between the Blue and Grey lots. More attractions have been added for 2016, including inflatables, tailgating games, sponsor giveaways and player autograph sessions. A highlight of the FanFest is the legendary UConn Dairy Bar food truck.
The UConn marching band, cheerleading and dance squads, and drumline performs throughout the game, and do a nice job of keeping the stadium filled with noise and energy. Kudos to the game day staff here for letting the band play during play stoppages, rather than playing piped in music throughout the game.
Other improvements have been made in the game day presentation to increase fan involvement and noise, including the relocation of the victory bell from field level up to the concourse. The bell is rung after every Husky score and victory.
Rentschler Field is located in a residential neighborhood in East Hartford, about three miles away from downtown Hartford. The stadium is surrounded by vast open spaces which serve as parking lots and provide an excellent tailgating scene, but there is little in the immediate neighborhood to attract fans.
Aside from a Cabela's retail store, a shopping center further down Silver Lane and a Margarita's restaurant just off I-84, there isn't much to do near Rentschler Field. Fans looking for a place to eat before or after the game will have to jump in their cars and head over the Connecticut River into Hartford.
UConn football averaged about 28,000 fans per game over the 2015 season. This figure represents a modest increase over the previous season, but overall, attendance has been declining over the past decade.
While there is solid support from the student body, who take shuttle busses from the Storrs campus, one can't help but wonder if Rentschler Field's location so far from campus has an effect on attendance. UConn's current streak of five straight losing seasons has undoubtedly affected attendance as well.
Rentschler Field is very easy to get to, located just off Interstate 84 across the river from downtown Hartford. The most direct route is to take exit 58 (Roberts St), and follow the signs to Rentschler Field. Traffic moves pretty smoothly for the most part, but be sure to arrive early, as lines do form with Husky fans eager to begin their tailgating. Many people talk about nightmarish traffic on weeknight games, as football traffic and rush hour combine, but on Saturday afternoons the local police and stadium staff have the routine down.
The many open grassy fields that surround Rentschler Field serve as parking lots on game day. Regulars stake out the prime spots closest to the stadium, and many of the lots are quite some distance from the field. On the plus side, if you park in the distant lots, you get to experience the entire tailgating scene as you take the Husky Walk to the stadium. New signage has been added throughout the parking lots to make navigating the vast open space around Rentschler Field easier.
Once inside the stadium, you will notice a wide, open concourse that completely circles the field. Concession stands and bathrooms line the outer edge of the concourse, while several portable carts are located on the inner edge. The concourses are more than wide enough to handle traffic throughout the game, although it can get crowded at halftime. Likewise, there are more than enough bathrooms around the stadium to handle a typical Husky crowd.
Rentschler Field is made up of two levels of seating, with the concourse located at the top of the lower level. Seating in both levels is made up primarily of metal bleachers without backs, with some individual blue seating with chair backs on both levels around midfield. All seats are angled towards the 50 yard line, which makes for excellent sightlines.
Tickets to Husky football games range in price from $32 to $60, with the majority of seats priced at either $32 or $36. Fans wishing to avoid the bleachers and sit in chair back seats can expect to spend between $45 and $60. Parking in the many lots surrounding Rentschler Field costs $15.
Concessions prices are reasonable for this level of football, with bargains to be found on the menu. Prices for select menu items have actually dropped for the 2016 season. Rent Dogs and bottled water can now be purchased for three dollars, a decrease of two dollars from previous seasons.
The Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame has a display on the Rentschler Field concourse. Many of the state's top coaches, administrators and athletes are honored here.
Former UConn player Jasper Howard is honored with a statue of his uniform number six in the northwest end zone. Howard, who was killed just hours after a Husky game in 2009, was an inspirational leader of the Husky teams during his three seasons with the team.
A final extra point is awarded for the numerous improvements in the game day presentation that have touched all areas of the Rentschler Field experience.
College football in New England just isn't the big deal that it is in other parts of the country. There are only three FBS schools in the entire six state region. Still, any college football fan will not be disappointed with a visit to Rentschler Field. Improvements to the game day presentation have served to enhance the experience greatly.
Follow Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
The University of Connecticut's football program has a long history dating back to 1897, but the sport did not reach the big time until 2000. That is when UConn moved up to the Division I-A level (now known as FBS) and after starting as an independent, they became members of the Big East.
A major part of the move was the building of beautiful Rentschler Field, which opened in 2003. Instead of putting it on-campus in rural Storrs, the stadium was built about 20 miles to the West in East Hartford, just outside the State Capitol.
What's interesting about the venue is that it's built on an old airfield with the same name as the old Pratt & Whitney space closed in 1999 and the land was donated for the stadium. Rentschler is a really nice facility that has turned into a terrific home for the Huskies and their fans, as they continue to build on their remarkable early success in the Big East.
One of the quickest ways to kill a the college football atmosphere is to play at a stadium off-campus which severely limits the student crowd. This wasn't too much of a problem at Rentschler Field, but all of the students were drunk and a bit out of control. In fact, despite a very large number of security guards, they managed to reportedly break the arm of the Iowa State mascot the night I was there among other fights.
The stadium is ok, but not flashy in any way. Beer was available for a hefty price.
Getting into the parking area was real easy, one of the best ever. They even had emergency lanes in place so when I missed my lot they were able to cycle me back around to the media lot even though my parking pass was still at will call.
I enjoyed my visit, and you can read more about it and my press box experience sitting beside the Big East PR director as the Pitt/Syracuse to the ACC news was breaking at my website http://www.collegiatestadiums.com
Overall a good review by the original Stadium Journey reviewer.
I live in Westchester County so this is one of the closer trips for me (along with RU and Army) but wouldnt consider it too "high" on the list for those making destination trips east.
I went to three games at The Rent this season (Towson, Louisville & Rutgers). After the season opening loss to Towson, a lot of optimism was gone and it showed in attendance. With that said, the fans who did show up were passionate and loud most of the time.
Parking is $15 and most spots are only a 15 min walk from the Stadium so that's a major perk. There arent too many places around the stadium to visit so the action is mostly contained to the giant parking lot.
The University of Connecticut has played football since 1896, holding their home games at Memorial Stadium on the Storrs campus from 1953 to 2002. As a member of Division I-A, the 16,200-seat facility was adequate for their needs. Beginning in 2002, the Huskies moved up to college football’s top division, the FBS, and into a new state of the art off-campus facility the following season. UConn has quickly enjoyed success since their move into the FBS, playing in 5 bowl games and winning 2 conference championships in the Big East. The Huskies currently play in the American Athletic Conference, the new configuration of the Big East football conference.
Rentschler Field, located 21 miles west of the University of Connecticut campus, is located in East Hartford, Connecticut. The stadium was built on the site of a commercial airfield, also named Rentschler Field. The land where the stadium stands was donated to the state of Connecticut in 1999, and is rented out to the university for events. The stadium has also served as the home of the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League (UFL), and as host to several US national soccer team friendlies.
Never attended the old venue, but UConn's new football stadium certainly has a modern look and feel. The tailgating is great, it is a lot of fun and has fans out in force hours before game time. Tickets are a little on the high side for the size of school, which may be due to the local cost of living. I say this about a lot of stadiums up north, but beware the night games b/c it will be cold.
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