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Official Review by Drew Cieszynski, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
San Diego certainly has the Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs are one of the more reputable Southern California programs. Fans that want a more affordable option or want to avoid the hassle of Qualcomm Stadium can look no further than the San Diego Toreros football program.
Torero Stadium hosts the football program and sits just next to the school’s basketball venue, the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The stadium is now over 40 years old, but thanks to several renovations feels like a modern facility. The nickname of the University of San Diego is often not familiar to those outside of San Diego. “Torero” is a popular term in Spain, Portugal, and Mexico, commonly used to describe a bullfighter.
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Despite being connected to and using the Jenny Craig Pavilion concessions, the offerings were still rather limited.
The basic items included the hot dog ($4), bratwurst ($5), hamburger ($5), cheeseburger ($5.50), pulled pork ($5.50), French fries ($4), garlic fries ($5), chicken fingers ($6), onion rings ($4), corn dog ($4), pretzel ($3.75), nachos ($4.50), chips ($2.75), candy ($2.50), popcorn ($4), or the combo meal (sandwich, chips, drink for $9). Going with the theme of the Jenny Craig diet, the concessions offered a "Health Nut menu." The items here include fruit ($1) or a salad ($4). The beverage options include soda (Coke products: medium $3.25 and large $4.25), water ($3), Powerade ($3.75), and coffee or hot cocoa ($2.50). I did also enjoy the flat screen televisions on temporary stands outside the concessions that allowed me to catch some other sporting events while waiting in line.
If you've been to San Diego, you'll find it difficult to associate the city with a rowdy experience. As with most events in the city, fans can appreciate the beautiful natural settings and laid-back atmosphere.
Throughout the game, fans will notice that the program does a great job in keeping with Torero theme. The music played over the PA system, the chants of "Ole," and the attire of the mascot "Diego Torero" all align with the school's nickname.
After touchdowns, t-shirts are thrown into the stands for the appreciative fans. There are also many other promotions throughout the game that encourage fan interaction including "Jerome's Best Seats in the House."
The location of the campus is optimal for all fans. Located near downtown San Diego as well as nearby communities such as La Jolla, there is definitely something for everyone. I encourage any visiting fan to spend some time walking the campus prior to gametime for an opportunity to take in all of the gorgeous architecture.
Some of the more popular locations nearby include La Gran Terraza, Mr. Peabody's Burgers & Ale, Rocking Tunaki, Hunter Steakhouse, Urbane Café, and Tio Leo's Mexican.
It seems that most Torero games have an interesting dynamic between the home and away fans. Being that San Diego is a great vacation spot, opposing fans often fill Torero stadium, creating a great competitive spirit.
Most Torero fans were clad in the school's navy and Columbia blue colors. The crowd was a bit under capacity, but definitely created a great atmosphere when the game warranted. Several chants led by cues from the scoreboard could be heard throughout the contest.
Fans will be pleased to find free covered parking upon entering the campus. LED signage notifies fans of which levels have available spots. The parking garage is just a few moments stroll from the stadium entrance as well.
The entrance to Torero Stadium shares a plaza with the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Once entering the stadium, a single horseshoe shaped concourse surrounds most of the stadium. Fans enter above all seating areas will take some stairs down to get to their seats.
Fans will find restrooms available in both the Jenny Craig Pavilion as well as the Torero Stadium itself. Each restroom had 7-10 stations, and both were some of the nicest I had encountered at a sporting event.
I find it difficult to argue that Torero football is the best value for football in San Diego. Fans get free parking, reasonably priced concessions, a lack of traffic congestion, and inexpensive tickets.
Reserved seats are a mere $12 while General Admission can provide a few dollars of savings ($10 for adults or $8 for children). The family pack also appeared to provide a great value at $44, where fans get 4 General Admission tickets, 4 regular hot dogs, 4 regular soda, and 1 large popcorn.
The extras of the venue are all found in the neighboring Jenny Craig Pavilion or in the Eagan Plaza in front of the stadium.
The Pavilion houses the Chet and Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame. Here fans can read about some of the great Torero football players including Jan Chapman, Jeb Dougherty, and Matt Maslowski.
Eagan Plaza has a beautiful fountain to greet all fans as well as large piece of public art with plaques for peace, service, wisdom, love, respect, and mercy.
Of all sporting events available to fans, few require such a low initial investment as Torero football. I would encourage all San Diego residents and visitors to visit the campus and check out a football game.
Follow Drew's journeys through Southern California on twitter @Big10Drew.
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San Diego, CA 92110
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San Diego, CA 92108
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San Diego, CA 92108
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