One of the most intimidating venues in college football, Tiger Stadium is home to the LSU Tigers and is situated on the beautiful Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tiger Stadium is home to some of the most passionate fans in American sports. In fact, LSU fans are so loud that after a game winning touchdown pass on October 8, 1988, the roar of the crowd actually registered on a seismograph meter in the on-campus geology department. Seating 92,542 spectators, Tiger Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in college football and will soon increase capacity to approximately 100,000 when an expansion is complete on in the south end zone. Additional information about the expansion can be found at preservedeathvalley.org/.
This is a rendering of what the expansion will look like upon completion (courtesy of preservedeathvalley.org):
Here's a picture of the south end zone construction as of November 2013:
Tiger Stadium was originally constructed in 1924 with a total capacity of approximately 12,000. In 1953, the stadium was completely enclosed creating a bowl and capacity reached 67,720. With the addition of west and east side upper decks, Tiger Stadium reached 92,000 in the early 2000s. Greatly enhancing the game day experience, an 80 foot wide video board was added in the north end zone in 2009.
Though Tiger Stadium is always a special place for LSU football, there is something particularly special about playing at night. LSU has a 78% winning percentage at home under the lights compared to 50% record during the day (as of June 2013). As you make plans to visit Tiger Stadium, make sure it’s at night and against an SEC opponent.
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 options at Tiger Stadium are adequate enough for fans to feed their appetite. However, this is a category where the LSU football experience could use some improvement. As many of the major stadiums and arenas across the nation are adding in multiple styles of concession stands with differing cuisine options, Tiger Stadium's main stands stick to the basics. Some could argue that this provides a more traditional experience, but others will notice a lack of options, long lines at the stands, and high prices. LSU could make a little extra effort here to take the concession experience from average to a strength, something that should be easy to do in cuisine rich south Louisiana.
At the main stands built into the stadium you'll find all beef hot dogs ($3.50), nachos ($4.50), burgers ($5.50), and a sausage poboy ($6) as the primary options.
The sausage "poboy" doesn't do the poboy label justice as it's simply a Manda sausage link on a hotdog bun. Here's a picture:
The nachos are small and basic. My favorite option here is the hot boudain for $5:
Additional items include popcorn ($3 for 46 ounces and $6 for huge 170 ounce bag), pretzels ($4), peanuts ($4), Cajun hot nuts ($5), and more of your basic items.
A few specialty carts are available in the concourse including Triple B's Cajun Corner which offers up some regional classics like Zatarain's jambalaya ($8), alligator sausage ($8), and crawfish pie ($6). This is an excellent option if you're looking for more than your generic items offered at the main stands. There's also a Papa Johns cart serving up pepperoni and cheese pizza for $7.50 and an All-Star Lemonade stand offering lemonade and pretzel dogs.
Drink options are headlined by Coca-Cola products which range from $4 for a 22 ounce and $5 for a 32 ounce. Dasani bottled water runs from $3 for a half liter and $5.50 for a liter. Frozen lemonade is available for $5.50 and hot chocolate for $4. Tiger Stadium does not offer alcoholic products.
As you cross the Horace Wilkerson Bridge driving over the Mississippi River, a view of massive Tiger Stadium dominates the skyline to the south. While making your way to the stadium, you'll pass miles of LSU tailgaters, many of which have been set-up since Friday night and some even before then. The tailgating scene is one of the most impressive aspects of the LSU game day experience, and that's saying a lot considering just how great the experience is inside the stadium. About an hour before kickoff, fans pack Victory Hill to see Mike the Tiger, the Golden Girls, and the Golden Band from Tiger Land march into the stadium. The sea of purple and gold crowded together to watch the march is a pretty special sight.
When you make your way inside Tiger Stadium, you'll witness the traditional LSU pregame show delivered by the Golden Band from Tiger Land. Before kickoff, the live tiger mascot, Mike, makes a trip around the playing surface in a cage on wheels, greeting the Tiger faithful. As the kickoff nears, you'll notice a packed house ready to yell for three full hours. Almost every down has some kind of traditional song or sign and it's very neat to see the entire student section (plus many more in other sections) joining in together.
The first level of Tiger Stadium is bowl style with seats completely surrounding the playing field. Currently, both the west and east sides have a second level. By Fall 2014, the south end zone improvement will close in the south side of the two upper decks. In an era of artificial playing surfaces, LSU has remained traditional with natural Celebration Bermuda Grass. Another traditional aspect of the stadium surface are the H style field goal posts. This allows the team to run straight from the tunnel through the goal posts and on to the field from the north end. A unique aspect of the field is the marking the yardline numbers by the 5s. The center of the field is painted with a purple, gold, and white eye of the Tiger. In 2009, an 80 foot wide video board was installed in the north end zone. Listed at the top of the scoreboard are LSU's three national championship seasons: 1958, 2003, and 2007. To the right of the scoreboard are three flags, each displaying the championship years as well.
If you can swing a seat in the lower bowl, you certainly won't be disappointed with the atmosphere. A seat in the upper portion of the southeast end zone is my personal favorite spot. The upper decks on the west and east side are pretty far from the ground level, but you will still get a great birdseye view.
Tiger Stadium is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on the sprawling campus of Louisiana State University. Since you're in the middle of a college campus, there are not a lot of restaurants immediately around the stadium. Despite that, the LSU campus on game day becomes an active neighborhood. Just outside the stadium, several vendor booths are set up offering plenty to feed your appetite.
If you're lucky enough to be attending an LSU tailgate, don't be surprised to find plenty of great Cajun food like a huge pot of jambalaya or gumbo. If you're wearing opposing team colors, I wouldn't recommend mingling with random LSU fans because you could be asking for trouble (AKA: Tiger Bait). However, if you're in neutral or home colors, you will meet plenty of friendly fellow fans who will likely be kind enough to offer you food. Besides great tailgating food, there a few on-campus attractions like the Jack and Priscilla Andonie Museum which chronicles LSU athletic history and Mike the Tiger's new million dollar habitat.
A short drive from the stadium will bring you plenty of additional options. A must-stop restaurant option while in town before or after the game is The Chimes. Here you'll find great Cajun dishes, seafood, and a fun college environment. The birthplace of the growing Raising Cane's restaurants is located near the campus. This quick service restaurant has some of the best fried chicken fingers and an addictive dipping sauce. The Mellow Mushroom is a good stop for pizza and a fun atmosphere.
There are plenty of bars and college dives to fill up an entire fall semester. If you're looking for that kind of fun, you'll have no problem finding it. Outside of that, there are a few other attractions to check out while in town. The USS Kidd is located on the Mississippi River and offers a tour of a restored World War II Destroyer. If you are into the casino experience, check out the L'Auberge. The Louisiana State Museum offers plenty of great exhibits on the history of the Cajun state.
You will find plenty of hotels in a city the size of Baton Rouge. I recommend a stay on the LSU campus in the Cook Hotel and Conference Center which is run by the LSU Alumni Association.
There are few fans in American sports as passionate as LSU Tiger fans. It's quite a sight to see 92,000+ fans fill Tiger Stadium and yell in support of their defense. If you're an opposing fan, expect to hear endless "Tiger Bait" and "LSU, LSU, LSU" chants in your direction as you make your way to the stadium and while you're inside. Expect a to witness a full crowd as LSU has averaged over 92,000 fans per game since 2005.
The student section is particularly rowdy. Not a down goes by without the student section joining together in unison in a chant or hand gesture. Here are some video clips found on Youtube of the various songs and chants:
When the Tigers make a first down:
The second down song:
The third down song:
When LSU stops an opponent on third down (Chinese bandits song):
Besides adequate concession items, the other area that could use some help is access in and around the stadium. When 92,000+ fans emerge onto a college campus near a major city, expectations for quick access should be kept in perspective. Complicating the issue even further is the fact than many more thousands of fans head to Baton Rouge simply to tailgate without any plans to attend the game. Before heading to the campus yourself, I strongly recommend that you visit LSU's football parking website and come up with parking game plan. Also check out the LSU football fan guide available online. With so many people planning to tailgate before the game, get to the campus and reserve your parking spot as early on gameday as possible.
While getting to the stadium is a bit of a challenge, getting into the stadium is pretty easy. If you're heading up to the cheap seats (and I use the term loosely considering these seats usually start at $60), you'll be pleasantly surprised to find an escalator taking you there. Getting to the upper tier is often quite a workout at stadiums of this size, but not at Tiger Stadium. There's plenty of gate availability around the stadium and you're not likely to run into long lines.
Getting around the stadium can be difficult at times. The long concession lines block the concourse traffic forcing fans to squeeze through. There isn't a connection between the upper deck and lower deck. The entry and exit to the upper deck puts you outside the stadium with no reentry allowed. Moving up and down from your seat is pretty painless with adequate spaced aisles and rows.
While attending an LSU game at Tiger Stadium is anything but cheap, the return on your significant investment for admission is very high. Though the concessions and access will be a little disappointing, the passion of LSU fans, SEC-level competition, and a great college atmosphere will deliver an elite experience. If you're buying tickets early before the season begins, you can likely score upper deck tickets for as low as $60. If you want to get seats in the lower bowl, I recommend you checkout resale ticket sites and look for deals you can afford.
Outside of game tickets, you'll find higher-end concession prices and near outrageous apparel prices. However, a bonus is the availability of free parking if you plan ahead. All things considered, there's a reason 92,000 fans consistently pack this stadium on Saturdays in the fall. Despite the high costs, the experience at Tiger Stadium is well worth the price.
• If you're hoping to listen to the game on your radio but don't know who is carrying the call, you will be happy to notice signs in the concourse announcing which radio station to tune into (currently Eagle 98.1).
• LSU provides a fan guide that breaks down all the need-to-know information into a single guide. Be sure to check this out to plan your visit.
• Seeing the National Championship years on the scoreboard and with the flags next to the scoreboard is a reminder of Tiger greatness.
• Bonus points definitely go out to the loyal Tiger fans. A 5 out of 5 rating just isn't good enough. If there are more passionate fans in America, they are few and far between.
• The escalator to the upper deck is a very fan friendly feature.
Attending a game at LSU's Tiger Stadium is an experience you will never forget. It is like attending Mardi Gras, a Voodoo Ceremony, and a college football game all in the same day! They call Tiger Stadium "Death Valley" which was originally "Deaf Valley" due to the tremendous noise generated by LSU fans during games there and that name fits perfectly.
How would I describe LSU fans? LSU fans are the only fan base to have ever been officially recorded on the Richter Scale. That's right, in 1988 LSU fans erupted after a big play against Auburn that actually moved the needles at LSU's Geology Department!
LSU is located in Baton Rouge just west of New Orleans between I-10 and the Mississippi River. Actually I would almost have to call Louisiana State University a suburb of Baton Rouge due to the fact that it is on the outskirts of the city of Baton Rouge. If you are planning to attend a game at Tiger Stadium and are thinking that LSU is located in a urban setting you would be completely mistaken. Instead you will drive through one of the nicest areas of town that is filled with beautiful homes and serene lakes that gradually melts into the LSU sprawling campus.
LSU fans approach college football the same way they approach life, and that is by going all in! So if you are planning to attend an LSU game at Tiger Stadium, then you had better tighten your chin strap and brace yourself for one hell of a ride!
Having been to many games at Tiger Stadium, I have to say a night game is a must go. It is exponentially more exciting than a day game. The fans have all day to prepare for the game. While rowdy they are very good natured, except for a few, like at most places. Do your self a favor go to a night game at LSU if you have a chance, you won't be disappointed!
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