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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Saint Nick State University is a technical school in the ice fields of the Arctic Mountains, located north of Alaska at the top of the world. The school was founded long, long ago, and has approximately 9,500 students. They are primarily enrolled in the Toy Technology School or the Logistics and Distribution curriculum. Rumor has it that a secret IT campus is located nearby– tabulating who has been bad or good.
The Saints compete in the FCS (Father Christmas Status) level of NCAA competition and are a member of the Over the River (and through the woods) Conference (ORC). Other schools in the ORC include Merry State, Toys Tech, Austin Pay by Layaway, and FSU (Free Shoes University… but only if you are good and earned them!) and historic Slippery Rock (because it’s Icy) University. The football program has a very successful history– they have never been bad, they’ve always been good, for goodness sake!. They also own the best all-time winning record of any team in the ORC. Who would dare beat Santa?
The Saints call Snow Globe Stadium (a.k.a. the Chillerdome) home. The home field advantage is obvious, as the football team has an amazing 100% winning percentage in home games since the stadium opened. The original capacity of the stadium was 50,000, but numerous renovations over the years have brought its capacity up to its present 100,000 seats. Also, due to the fact that most of the student body are elves, the seats are tiny. The most recent upgrades occurred in 2010 and include the addition of 33 luxury sky boxes for toy execs, sleigh manufacturers, sno-cone operators and a new presents box for you know who! New red and green artificial turf has also been installed on the field (no frozen tundra here!)
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".
Concession stands are plentiful throughout the stadium, but food choices are very limited. Beverage selections consist of hot cocoa, milk and egg nog. Prices are very reasonable, as being a good boy or girl gets you a free serving. Food selections include chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies and fruitcake. The cookies are delicious, but I would stay clear of the fruitcake. If Oakland ever gets a new stadium they could build it out of the stuff. The concession stands are staffed by children and very friendly elves.
Snow Globe Stadium is always a festive place on game day. Families arrive early in their sleighs to begin setting up for some wonderful pre-game holiday celebrations. The settings are elaborate, as there is always a competition for best decorated, best use of lights, etc. The fans also love their school band, the Marching Toy Soldiers (think the Texas Aggie Band at Radio City Music Hall), as they perform before, during, and after the game, often to louder applause than the team. Even though the stadium is enormous you have a great view of every play thanks to the 2,400 foot flat screen TV/scoreboard that Santa delivered last Christmas. Expect a sea of red and green as SNSU fans are not shy about being Reindeer Rooters. Other nice touches include candy cane yard markers and the referees throwing coal instead of penalty flags.
The stadium is located on campus, so it is surrounded by academic buildings, toy manufacturing labs and dorms to house the elfin student body. The nearby college town of North Pole caters heavily to this population.
Area restaurants include Rudolph's Roadhouse Grill and Mexican fast food at Jingle Bell. Holiday Inn has a monopoly on accommodations, as their franchises are the only chain allowed in town. For pre or post game celebrating, head over to Blitzen's Bar for a wide variety of home brews. Just beware of Vixen, who plies her trade here, when she is not in the red/green light district... she is naughty...not nice!
The neighborhood really gets in to the home games, as they have wonderful Northern lights shows and ice sculptures on display.
This may be FCS level football, but you ARE at the North Pole. SNSU fans are rightfully proud of their team's success through the years. They are predominately alums of the school and work in this company town for the major employer. Instead of Mississippi State cowbells, these fans employ jingle and sleigh bells to distract the visitors. However they are always on their best behavior, as you know who is in the present box, watching who has been bad or good. The recent arrival of red-nosed freshman Rudolph Reindeer is expected to light up the scoreboard.
The main shortcoming of this stadium is its remoteness. It is not reachable by road unless you are friends with the "Ice Road Truckers," have a snowmobile, or a mush team of dogs. Snow Globe Stadium also has stringent security measures at all gates... if you've been bad, you are not getting in!
Airfare is prohibitively expensive and air traffic control space for most of the season is monopolized by SLEDEX and Amazon cargo flights. Even the executive airfield nearby is reserved exclusively by you know who.
Make sure you book your tickets for a regular season game, as the Saints are not bowl eligible due to business commitments in December and January.
Snow Globe Stadium at SNSU and the North Pole are obviously "destination" locales for watching football over the holidays. It is definitely a family friendly experience that you will never forget. Tickets are free (if you have been good) and so are the food and beverages. The stadium spirit shop will remind you of the FAO Swartz toy stores of your youth. Best of all you'll leave happy and filled with goodwill to all after your visit. That is priceless...... until the credit card bill comes in January.
As to the "other" ROI, Snow Globe Stadium has a comparable return policy to most retailers. However it is probably your fault if something does not fit or is the wrong color. After all, you gave Santa your list, dummy!
The staff at Snow Globe Stadium strives to provide a unique experience for every fan. There is a commitment from top management to the ushers to make sure you are happy. The newest "extras" for your game experience include cheerleaders recruited away from the Rockettes, a new stadium lounge for those who want join in the reindeer games socially, and exclusive tours, including locker room visits with the team after the game.
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