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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Sanford Stadium is home of the University of Georgia football team, and it has been their home since 1929. The stadium seats 92,746 fans, which makes it the fifth-largest on-campus stadium in the country.
Since the stadium opened in 1929, Sanford Stadium has gone through its share of renovations, with the last one being in 2011 when they updated the video board, which now has full high-definition capacity. Sanford Stadium is also known for having privet hedges, which have been there since 1929.
Sanford Stadium has everything a college football fan needs to have the ultimate experience. From the food and the band to the mascot and the city of Athens, Sanford Stadium is never a bad experience.
And the football team is not bad, either, as they are almost always in the hunt for the SEC title each year. So to say Sanford Stadium is one of the best college football experiences in the country is not an overstatement.
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".
The food inside the stadium is the normal food you would find in a college stadium. There's pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and nachos, and each item costs no more than $4.
However, there are unique items, such as boiled peanuts and smoked sausage, which cost a little bit more, but are well worth it. Fans can also buy a huge bucket of popcorn, which costs $14. It's a bit pricey, but the bucket is something you can keep.
Because the state of Georgia is Coke country, Coca-Cola products reign supreme. The types of Coke drinks that are offered are Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite and Powerade. And because the stadium is on campus, no alcoholic beverages are served at the stadium.
If there's one thing you should get from the concession stand, boiled peanuts would be the best bet. If you are not from the South, then you definitely need to try them, because you will not be disappointed.
There are very few stadiums in the country that have a better atmosphere than Sanford Stadium.
First off, the stadium is huge, and when you walk in, there are seats aplenty. The hedges around the field give the stadium a unique touch, and it's also a place where fans can pick up pom-poms to wave throughout the entire game. The scoreboard is the one thing that stands out, because it's something everyone sees as they walk in before they go into the stadium.
The UGA Redcoat Band provides pregame entertainment, and they do a good job getting the fans going before kickoff. But the music inside the stadium is very interesting, because it can range from Drake to Taylor Swift with no hesitation.
The best place has to be in the student section, because they are always loud and rowdy. But if you can't sit in the student section, the next-best place would have to be the along the UGA sidelines, because it will be easier to watch the pregame and halftime entertainment.
Sanford Stadium is in the heart of the University of Georgia, which is in the heart of Athens, Georgia. It's considered by many as the best college town in the country, because there is never a day that is boring.
After the game, students flock to the many bars that are located in downtown Athens. Trappeze Pub, Normal Bar and Allgood Lounge are some of the most popular bars in the area.
And there are other attractions other than Sanford Stadium. Some of the best places to go are the State Botanical Gardens, the Georgia Museum of Natural History and the famous Georgia Theatre, where bands such as the Zac Brown Band and Pentatonix have performed.
There are some good hotels to stay in, as well. However, the best is the Hotel Indigo which is a nine-minute walk from the campus, and it's also five miles away from the State Botanical Garden.
Over 92,000 fans come to Athens to watch the Bulldogs play on Saturdays, and they are as passionate of a fan base as you will find in the region.
When it's a conference game, especially if its Auburn, the fans always bring a little more energy in the stadium because the fans know the history of Georgia football, as well as the other schools in the SEC.
And when there are over 92,000 fans at Sanford Stadium, they can get really loud. Even when there's a non-conference opponent at the beginning of the season, the fans are always excited to see the Bulldogs play.
The best part about the fans is when they get together at the start of the fourth quarter, put their right hands in the air and wave them up and down while the band plays "Krypton Fanfare."
If there is one weakness to Sanford Stadium, it would have to be the access.
Because Athens is located and hour and a half from Atlanta, there is no public transportation, so the only way to get to and from the stadium is by driving. And that can be a pain, because there is only one main highway to get to the stadium, and that can cause problems when kickoff is an hour away.
However, there are plenty of places to park on campus and in the city. Some parking lots on campus require a pass but there are other lots which are free and the campus buses will take you to the stadium if you are further away.
All the gates are accessible once you get to Sanford Stadium, so there is really not one that is better than the other. And there are no paperless ticket options as of 2015.
The concourse is wide, so traffic is never an issue. Because of how the stadium is built, there is no view of the field when entering the main concourse. And there are plenty of restrooms that stay clean throughout the game.
For the entire college football experience, going to a UGA game is well worth the price of admission.
The cost of tickets for a UGA game are not cheap, as they can range from $55-$255, depending on where you get them.
Parking can range from being $40 to paying nothing, depending on where you park. But if you park on campus, you can catch a ride to the stadium on the bus.
Also, the food is reasonably priced, so overall, you do get your money's worth.
The game day programs are something a fan must have. It only costs $5, and it's the size of a monthly magazine.
The bookstore right next to Sanford Stadium is the place to get any and all Georgia gear. They even have deals where you can get a shirt for $12.
The video board is one of the more iconic parts to the stadium. It's something fans can see when they walk alongside the stadium, and fans take plenty of pictures when they get close to it.
And the best way to watch the game is watching it in the stadium while listening to the radio broadcast. The call letters are AM 750 WSB and the announcers do a great job calling all the action.
Sanford Stadium is the place to be to see college football on Saturdays. From the team to the city of Athens, the stadium exemplifies what college football should be. I would highly recommend watching a game at Sanford Stadium, because you will fall in love right away.
Member Review by jmccurdy
Looking back, so many of my fondest college memories are set "Between the Hedges," taking in UGA football with classmates. Back then, it was about jumping up and down, producing a constant stream of noise (when the Dawgs were on defense, that is) and generally acting a fool.
Today, however, I remove myself from the student section with the intent to impartially evaluate glorious Sanford Stadium, that most hallowed of grounds"¦.
Whoops; this is supposed to be impartial, right?
Oh, who am I kidding? It would be even more dishonest to try to keep a straight face as I evoke 81 years of history and my time spent with "92,746 of my closest friends."
I can at least start with the easily worst category, though, so as to thinly veil my bias.
Member Review by Kristospherein on Jan 31, 2012
Ample nightlife in downtown Athens
Hedges, Uga mascots, and tailgaiting to boot
Parking lot-like drive in and out from Atlanta on game days
Better atmosphere than Neyland and Williams-Brice and similar to Jordan-Hare and Clemson's Death Valley. I have not been to Bryant Denny or Tiger Stadium (LSU) so I can't compare...even though admittedly they are most likely better.
Member Review by JB on Oct 21, 2012
Would give much better review if the food was worth ANYTHING! Possibly the worst food I have every experienced. High priced, poor quality, lack of variety, lines too long, sellers are rude, underage workers,...I could go on and on and on..
Not a positive fan experience.
Member Review by Brian L Jones on Dec 20, 2013
Athens, Georgia can be considered the most beloved city in the state. Yes, Atlanta has all the attractions and Savannah has the history. But there is nothing like going to Athens on a Saturday, especially in the fall.
The reason for this is that the Georgia Bulldogs play their football games at Sanford Stadium. Known as the seventh-largest on-campus stadium in the country, Sanford Stadium has been through a lot of changes since 1929. From the removal and addition of the privet hedges to the recent expansions, Sanford Stadium is certainly the place to be in Athens on Saturdays.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Sep 21, 2014
Georgia's structure won't win any awards. You see major slabs of concrete that give it a sterile feel. However, that is probably the only blip of the place. The atmosphere itself is amazing and definitely worth a trip.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Anytime when Subway is your standout concession item, you have problems. But you are in Georgia, the home of Coca-Cola. Grab it and for some reason it tastes better in Georgia anyway.
ATMOSPHERE: You are in a true college setting at UGA. No questions about that. The "other" sea of red looks neat and not many places can emulate a Saturday gameday like UGA can. And believe me, I am no UGA fan at all.
NEIGHBORHOOD: You are smack dab in the campus at the stadium. Not a lot to do until you get off the campus and then it is pretty neat.
FANS: Into the game even if it is a blowout. However, you have relatively rude people cutting in front of you for concessions, souvenirs, and to get in to the stadium. I have no idea why.
ACCESS: Depends on how you look at it. From Atlanta, you need to take Georgia 316 to get there and most of it is 2 lanes and under construction. If you are on campus, parking is cheap or free pending on where you go and relatively easy to get in and get out. You are parked a good bit away if you are on the intramural fields or by the Health Building (all free), but you can notch a free ride on the shuttle buses.
ROI: Tickets are not easy to come by at UGA, even for low-level schools like Troy, but prices for food and souvenirs (most shirts and caps were $15) are great bargains.
EXTRAS: Inside, and especially if you sit in the East End Zone, you have a beautiful scenic view of the campus (which emulated from UNC's Kenan Stadium). Also, everything is clean and well-run at UGA. Plus, the traditions they have is second to none.
Member Review by Gabtiger1 on May 13, 2015
Overall the stadium was nice, but the food was AWFUL. The fans were great and passionate, but for a stadium of its size the noise level just wasn't there compared to a few other places I've visited (Clemson, FSU, LSU).
Member Review by jdog1205 on Sep 12, 2015
I didn't really pay attention to the food and drinks but everything else was perfect. Especially the atmosphere. And tailgating is fun. Well UGA is ranked #1 at partying.
Member Review by Aaron S. Terry on Oct 22, 2015
So Georgia is an extremely popular team, you can get their games on the radio all over the country. I have noticed this about Kentucky as well, which is weird b/c the Wildcats are usually terrible. I was not impressed with the venue - sure it is loud, and the fans are crazed, but that is true at a lot of other big name programs, and getting in and out is a real pain. Athens is literally in the middle of nowhere, and the cops re-route traffic on game days such that you have to drive halfway to Atlanta to get out, which is fine if you live in say, the deep south, but not so hot if you are trying to go north. The hedges are pretty sweet, there has got to be a good story there. Maybe I will look it up.
265 Newton Bridge Rd
Athens, GA 30607
174-184 W Clayton St
Athens, GA 30601
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230 N Finley St
Athens, GA 30601
500 College Ave
Athens, GA 30601