Scheumann Stadium opened in 1967 and since its debut has expanded to a 22,500-seat stadium for the Ball State Cardinals football program. The stadium has undergone a few changes during the last decade that included $13.7 million in renovations that resulted in a new lighting system, concession stands, FieldTurf, an enlarged press box, and a new video board. Another improvement was enclosing the north end zone seating area that includes open grass seating.
These changes have not changed the intimate atmosphere that a visitor would have when attending a football contest at Ball State. The Cardinals play in the Mid American Conference (MAC), and depending on the weather or opponent, the cozy and relaxed atmosphere could be the perfect recipe for a wonderful Saturday afternoon in Muncie, Indiana.
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".
Walking around underneath the main grandstand, one would find the majority of the stadium's concessions. The prices are fairly affordable and features your basic stadium cuisine of pizza ($4), hot dogs ($3), and nachos ($4). For only $6, you can purchase a combo that includes a hot dog, bag of chips, and a pop or you can enjoy a brat ($4) or a barbecue pork sandwich ($5).
Peruse the game day program and you'll find that the university lists other concession items that include Chick-fil-A sandwiches, corn dogs, pork tenderloins, elephant ears, and walking tacos.
The atmosphere can be dictated by many factors including the weather, opponent, and the result of the game. When the stadium is packed, the place is rocking, but as the season winds down and the weather is not at its best, the atmosphere is somewhat tepid in nature. With that being said, the stadium's design and access is open, warm, and friendly.
The stadium is broken into three seating sections, plus a grass area at the back of the north end zone. The stadium features a majority of bleacher style seating from the main concourse to the student section. All of the concessions are underneath the main concourse, along with historic photos of the program's past and championship banners. It is a very functional stadium that offers a few aesthetics to make it stand out from other mid-sized venues of college football.
The grass lawn area at the north end zone is a focal point of the venue. It features a basic, but functional electronic scoreboard and the school's iconic pillars. This area fills up during the early parts of the season when the skies are blue and the sun is shining. Also, during warmer weather games, kid-friendly games are featured here that are becoming increasingly popular at college football venues throughout the nation.
Charlie Cardinal is an entertaining and impressive college mascot. He is a rather active bird. During the game, he can be seen on the field with the cheerleaders, leading the band after a touchdown, and starting the the school chant, "The Chirp." When the opposing team is on third down, the student section will move their hands up and down chanting chirp, chirp, chirp. It's a tradition that began in 2004 and was modeled after similar traditions at Purdue and Indiana University. Traditions are an important part of college football games and this one is perfect for the Ball State Cardinals.
Scheumann Stadium is located right off the main campus and a few miles away from the village area of town. The area can become somewhat congested at times with mall shoppers, but there are a few ideal locations to seek out before or after the game. Thai Smile 2 was recommended by WLBC morning host Steve Lindell and is only a few blocks away from the stadium.
Amazing Joe's offers giant tenderloins and steak dishes, and Savage's Ale House is your typical brewpub that features juicy burgers, chicken wings, and a bevy of fried appetizers - try the aloha burger.
Downtown Muncie features Scotty's Brewhouse, Heorot Pub and Draught House, and the Fickle Peach. You will find great beers, pub food, and college atmosphere during your visit.
They chant "The Chirp," but you will likely see less tailgating, barbecuing, or tossing cornhole before the game. Inside the stadium, the student section is lively with the band performing adjacent to them during the four quarters. In this area, you can see some fans with signage, face paint, and a lot of cheers. During my most recent visit one fan was holding a sign that read "Boom Goes the Dynamite" - a catchphrase coined by former student Brian Collins on a campus newscast in 2005. On the other side at the main concourse, there are a few die hard fans who do their best to cheer on the hometown Cardinals.
Scheumann Stadium is relatively simple to arrive to from I-69. Local police guide cars into the various lots surrounding the stadium. It will cost only $5 to park, but on the day I went, I did not see anyone collecting payments. Even the furthest lots near the baseball field are close, making a trip to a Ball State football game very convenient.
The prices for single game tickets are reasonable at $17-$27 for adults. Kids tickets are only $10 and this can make for a very affordable afternoon of college football at Ball State for families. The game day prices are comparable with other football programs in the Mid American Conference.
Scheumann Stadium receives two additional stars for the enclosed grass seating behind the north end zone and the student section chanting "The Chirp" on third downs.
In 2007, Ball State's Scheumann Stadium reopened following a $13.7M renovation that included installation of Field Turf and the four-level Paul and Pat Kozel Media Center. It continues to be an intimate college football experience, with a seating capacity of only 25,400.
Even with the updates and the small venue, there just isn't the energy you would hope for when attending a Cardinals game at Ball State.
I visited Scheumann Stadium on a rainy Wednesday night on 11/18/2009 when they played Central Michigan. Attendance that day was a sad 5,736.
I will say this is the strangest visit I've ever had to a stadium. I was actually able to sneak into the stadium without a ticket by just walking right through gate 5, which had no staff but was just wide open. Anyone who brought a new blanket to donate to the local rotary club got a free ticket anyways, so I actually exited the stadium just to give them the blanket I brought and get an actual ticket. This was a nightmare because no one from the rotary club showed up so the gate and ticket staffs had no idea what I was talking about except the manager. It took me a good 20 minutes to finally get a ticket and donate the blanket.
It was a solid 8 hour drive for me so I was hungry by the time I finally did get inside with a ticket. I found a concession stand that didn't have any customers. They had a nice combo deal that got you a hotdog, a 32oz soda and a bag of chips for $6. It was an average hotdog and a nice sized bag of chips. They did offer some other things such as a giant tenderloin sandwich but the pattie was so much bigger than the bun that with the rain I thought it was be soggy before I could eat it all.
The atmosphere was weak. The big buzz among the fans who where there was about Colt's GM Bill Polian and other NFL scouts being there to watch CMU's QB Dan LeFevour. Other conversations I overhead involved the contract dispute with Coach Hoke and how the team fell from a 12-0 regular season to one of the worst teams in FBS in just 1 season. The band did a good job even with it raining and the game quickly getting out of hand. Better than most schools in that regard.
The road I came in on led me through a lot of commercial areas including a Menards and a Walmart (where I stopped and bought the blanket real quick). I also took a little drive around a few parts of campus and through a residential area where it looked like you could park for free. At the end of the residential area was a high school, which is where I parked for $5. It was about a 3-4 minute walk to the stadium from there. I will say compared to some other places I have been, I felt safe as I walked around the residential part.
The fans were just not there. Sure it was raining but there is a reason why Ball State consistently ranks as one of the bottom 5 teams in home attendance in the FBS. The fans just don't show up, even when the weather is good. The luxury boxes were full but the rest of the stadium was a ghost town. The students had a lot of energy at the beginning, but it disappeared as soon as CMU scored.
Access as I mentioned about was a little too good, at least through gate 5. Then when I went to get a ticket, it was a royal pain. It was like no one trained the staff or told them what was to go on. A real disappointment and probably a turn off to those who might want to follow the team. Also, I never did figure out where I was supposed to sit with my general admission ticket so I sat in the end zone bleachers by the scoreboard. One other thing I did notice is that there is a good bit of room to move around under the stands. Plenty of room for them to actually add more concessions and souvenir stands if the demand ever comes.
Because I got in for a $9 blanket and the meal was $2 off with the combo, I consider the return on investment to be fair. One thing missing was any sort of promotion to draw fans. Some sort of raffle to those in attendance or at least for the students who showed up would have been a way to try and draw a few more fans.
Not too much in the way of extras. Tailgating was very limited. Parking in the official lots was $5 but not many people selected that option. They were basically unlit and with the rain I don't think many people wanted to park in the grass fields.
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