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Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The University of Buffalo Stadium (UB Stadium) is a football and track and field stadium which is the home of the University of Buffalo Bulls of the Mid American Conference (MAC). Opened in 1993, it was expanded later in the decade by adding massive end zone bleachers to bring the capacity up to 29,500 seats. The venue was also a host facility for the World University Games in 1993.
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 concession stands here are spacious and offer pretty much the standard ballpark fare. They grill the polish sausage and the brats and add the toppings right in front of you, a nice touch. No beer or alcohol is sold inside the stadium. Otherwise it's candy, popcorn, nachos and soft drinks.
The problem with UB Stadium is one of design, and it's not one that is easily corrected. The facility doubles as a track and field stadium, meaning an eight lane running track surrounds the football surface, putting fans far far away from the action. It is hard to get energy or crowd noise into the game because of these distances. Even the end zone bleachers are a canyon distance away from the action. The team does not draw all that well so the end zones are generally empty. In fact, the north end zone surrounding the scoreboard has been tarped over with advertising.
The UB North Campus is sprawling, lacks intimacy and was designed in such a way to inhibit gathering (and protests) of students. So enjoy the parking, and more parking, and plan to make your pre and post game getaway to eateries close to the campus. Just south is Zetti's, offering New York style pizza, and Duff's in Amherst, just down Millersport Highway, is a Buffalo institution when it comes to hot chicken wings. Otherwise, a trip west down Maple Road will end up close to Boulevard Mall, and just about any national chain of casual eateries and fast food can be found.
UB fans have had little to cheer about since the Division 1 program's inception in 1999. That is, save for one magnificent year, 2008, when the team ran right to the MAC Championship in Detroit and then on to the International Bowl that season. The team commemorates that accomplishment with banners on the fences, a display in the concourse and their MAC trophy showcased in the entrance to its suite and press box lounges. One thing fans do know how to do here is tailgate; the ample and spacious parking lots at UB allow plenty of room to do just that.
The street grid surrounding the campus is for the most part a divided highway and network of ramps coming off of the I-290. All will take you into the any of the many surface lots which are available on game day. From there it is a pretty brisk walk to the stadium itself. None of this was designed with the fan in mind, and traffic flow post game can be a bit of a chore. Public transportation to the games here is not an option, although a UB Shuttle is available to transport students back and forth between the North and South campuses.
A game ticket here costs $15, which is ridiculously cheap for Division I football. Promotional rates, four packs, and half price offers abound if one knows where to look. Oh, and parking is free. This is, quite frankly, an entertainment bargain and priced for a family outing.
We'll give the top extras score for this reason "" in 1958, the old UB men's football program was invited to the Tangerine Bowl game in Florida, with the proviso that their two black players stay home. UB declined to participate. That courageous decision in that era of segregation is a hallmark of pride today for the program, and is also commemorated with a concourse mural. Well done.
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4621 Maple Rd
Buffalo, NY 14226
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