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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Home of the New Mexico Lobos football team, University Stadium opened in 1960, has a capacity of just over 39,000, and sits not quite a mile about sea level (a mere 5,100 feet). The previous stadium, Zimmerman, held only 16,000, and was demolished to make way for the expanding UNM campus. Attendance at University Stadium has been on the upswing for the past decade, and Lobos football has boasted average attendance over 30,000 in each of the past four years. See a brief tour of the stadium here:
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
University Stadium's concessions offer everything you could ask for and then some, including stadium basics, local fare, and even traditional fair food, such as fried Twinkles.
So where to begin? The main stands on the east and west sides offer basics, such as burgers (three varieties, all served with chips), hot dogs, corn dogs, and brats, but you can find additional items on the plaza along the north side, including pizza, pulled pork, boneless and traditional wings, turkey legs, sausage sandwiches (with or without pulled pork), chicken tenders, and even Navajo tacos. These items range in price from $5 all the way to $12 for the largest items.
However, if you are more into snacks and desserts, you will find traditional items such as nachos, cotton candy, popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, and glazed nuts, as well as more exotic fare such as ribbon fries, fry bread, fried Twinkles, fried Oreos, fried ice cream, dessert nachos, caramel apples, root beer floats, and even roasted corn-on-the-cob. These items will cost between $4 and $7.
Drink options are not as numerous, but provide a good selection. Note that like many college venues, no alcohol is sold on-site. However, you will find coffee, hot cocoa, and cappuccino, as well as Pepsi products, Gatorade, bottled water, and fresh-squeezed lemonade (about $4 to $7 per item).
University Stadium has a modern feel, with premium seating on the south side, and regular seating on the north, east, and west. All of the seats are metal bleachers except the premium seating, which are plastic bucket-style seats. The mountains provide a nice backdrop, and the scoreboard above the north end zone is large enough to be seen by all fans. The east side has some nice landscaping on each end, including a stepped garden complete with local vegetation.
The experience at University Stadium includes the normal amenities, such as fireworks and the cheer squad running around with flags after home team scores, as well as two mascots (male and female). The band also does some unique formations, such as forming the letters U-N-M. There are ramps all the way around the stadium, so you can take in the game from multiple vantage points. You will also see flags from all of the Mountain West schools above the east grandstand.
There are several good restaurants near University Stadium, as well as some local attractions nearby (mostly of the outdoorsy type).
Traditional fare in the area is, of course, Mexican, and there are plenty of these restaurants near the stadium, such as El Modelo or Pasion Latin Fusion. However, if you are looking for something less traditional, you might try Kellys Brew Pub on Central Ave. Kellys is located in a converted body shop, and features house brews and a large menu.
The number one attraction in Albuquerque is the Sandia Peak Tramway, which takes you across canyons and other beautiful terrain, providing fantastic views of the local landscape. The Tram is generally open daily from 9 am to 8 pm, but is closed occasionally in the fall for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule.
Fans at New Mexico are loud and involved, and wear team colors, but won't always fills the stadium, depending on how their team is doing, or if the weather is too cold or too windy.
In recent years average attendance has been over 30,000, but the crowd tends to get smaller late in the year as the weather gets colder. And if the Lobos do not have a winning record, the attendance also tends to drop.
You will hear a lot of howling during the game (recorded wolf songs played through the loudspeakers) - for example, before the game, or after big plays, or during opposing third downs. You will also hear the crowd, who stay loud throughout the game, and cheer (or boo) at the appropriate times.
Depending on where you are coming from, Albuquerque could be a long drive up a lonely road, but University Stadium is very easy to find.
The stadium is right off I-25, and there is plenty of parking right off the freeway, for about $10 per car. There are entrances all around the stadium, and the east, west, and south sides are all connected by a long pathway/ramp that goes all the way around, so no matter where you park, it should be easy to get to your seat.
The concourse is easy to move around, and most of it faces the field, so you can easily see the game while you walk to and from your seat. There are plenty of bathrooms, which are all very spacious, and there are plenty of concession stands, so the lines are not too long.
Attending a Lobos game is a great value for the money - concessions are reasonable, depending on what items you purchase, and parking is fair. Ticket prices are also very reasonable - tickets for adults start at only $16 ($11 for fans aged 2-18), and do not vary by opponent, like at many football venues. Tickets cost $5 more on game day, however, so be sure to purchase in advance.
The mountains provide a nice backdrop, and the stadium is very well laid out and easy to move around.
There is also a lot of school color, and the presence of the state flag and Mountain West Conference flags add to the effect.
This is a great stadium to visit if you are in the area. Be sure to check out the Tramway while you are in town to truly experience the mountain scenery.
Member Review by ReyG
A sign on the southwest corner of University Stadium, in which the opposing team enters the football field, warns of "Acute Altitude Sickness." It tells University of New Mexico foes of the "dangers" of playing at 5,100 feet above sea level.
Perhaps, if the game-day experience at the stadium was more inviting, that would serve as more of an intimidating factor for opposing teams.
University Stadium opened in 1960 and underwent an upgrade in facilities in the 2000s. However, it lacks the charm and pizazz, respectively of neighboring Isotopes Park (Albuquerque's Triple-A baseball venue) and University Arena (the University of New Mexico's basketball arena that is better known as "The Pit") with a palatial ambience, thanks to a $60 million renovation in 2009.
Member Review by Chorizo16 on Jul 09, 2013
Haven't been there for a UNM game, but loved my experience at the bowl game.
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