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Vanderbilt Stadium

Nashville, TN

Home of the Vanderbilt Commodores

3.4

2.6

Vanderbilt Stadium (map it)
Jess Neely Dr
Nashville, TN 37240


Vanderbilt Commodores website

Vanderbilt Stadium website

Year Opened: 1922

Capacity: 40,550

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Anchoring Down In Nashville

The Vanderbilt Commodores are going through a rough patch at the moment, but that doesn’t take away from the special feeling you get from witnessing college football in the Music City.

Located in one of the better parts of downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt Stadium has the potential to turn into a tough place to play despite the low seating capacity. It can get very loud when fans are given the reason to make it that way.

The new team slogan of “Anchor Down” can be heard numerous times during a game here. Simply put, if you’re in Nashville during college football season, get to Vanderbilt Stadium to see some quality SEC football in a beautiful part of the city.

3.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

Concessions at Vanderbilt Stadium are very ordinary for an SEC football stadium. There are all of your typical stadium options like nachos, soft pretzels, and hot dogs. These items range in price anywhere from $4 to $6. Coke Zero is a big sponsor of Vanderbilt football, and they were even handing out free miniature cans of this walking into the stadium during a recent visit.

A little more creativity and uniqueness would improve the concession experience, but the prices are very fair. Expanding the menu is needed to really stand out as a SEC football stadium.

Atmosphere    3

Since the James Franklin era, football at Vanderbilt Stadium has really become a sight to see. He introduced a lot of great traditions that still happen today even after his departure for the bright lights of Penn State's Beaver Stadium.

Vanderbilt Stadium itself is very basic. It's a horseshoe-style stadium that is predominantly filled with metal bleachers. I recommend bringing a fold-up seat with a back to it. The metal bleachers can get very uncomfortable by halftime. There are also limited entrances from the concourses, making for a very long climb to your seats if you're sitting near the top.

The introduction of the players is very exciting. The stadium blows a very loud foghorn that echoes through the large buildings of downtown Nashville, making for a really cool scene as the players run onto the field. The Vanderbilt band does a great job of setting the tone for a college football game in the South. They almost get as amped up as the players do when kickoff is approaching.

Neighborhood    5

It's hard to imagine that the neighborhood surrounding Vanderbilt Stadium could get any better, but it actually is improving year after year. Nashville is becoming one of the "it" cities in the country, and Vanderbilt Stadium is right in the middle of where a lot of growth is currently underway.

First off, the immediate surrounding area, known as West End, is filled with bars, music venues, as well as casual and upscale restaurants. You're also a short ride away from Broadway and all of the city's famous country music bars. It's very easy to enjoy both parts of the city with a cab ride right down West End Avenue, which turns into Broadway.

The Parthenon and Centennial Park are right across the street. It can be a nice place to walk around before the game. This is especially true if it's a beautiful, fall day.

Fans    2

The Vanderbilt fan base can sometimes be a perplexing one. The loyal fans of Vanderbilt football are some of the most loyal fans you will find. They've been through many decades of disappointments, and many still continue to go to every home game and stay until the final whistle.

The 2015 season opener against Western Kentucky was about 90 percent full in a stadium that seats around 40,000. A healthy turnout of Western Kentucky fans made it to the game, and I'm not so sure that the stadium would've looked as full as it did if not for such a strong showing of support for Western Kentucky.

A lot of fans have also seemed to have given up on where the program currently is. This was very apparent at the 2015 season opener. A large contingent of fans darted for the exits halfway through the 4th quarter, when the game was still a one-possession game. It's a complete turnaround from where the fan base was when James Franklin was roaming the sidelines through 2013. This simply can't happen when a fan base is completely on-board with where their team is at.

This isn't to say that there aren't plenty of loyal fans that stay until the bitter end, because there are some. However, it is shocking to see so many fans leave when the game is still hanging in the balance for Vanderbilt to win.

The loyal fans of Vanderbilt will never stop showing up, and they deserve a salute for standing by their team. Winning cures all, and that's what it will take for fans to really get behind this team again and fill up Vanderbilt Stadium.

Access    4

Getting to Vanderbilt Stadium is very easy, even if you're not familiar with Nashville. It's the traffic that you have to prepare yourself for. Even on days when there's not a game going, the area around Vanderbilt's beautiful campus gets very congested. The side streets that get you to the parking areas can get even more backed up. However, the traffic is usually handled very well by traffic officers.

The interstates around downtown are in the form of a loop. Finding Vanderbilt Stadium is not difficult at all from the interstates. If you have any experience driving through major cities, then you will have no problem navigating through downtown Nashville.

If you plan on experiencing Nashville after the game, I recommend parking near Broadway and taking a cab. It will be around a two-mile ride. By doing so, you will avoid all of the traffic, and be able to make an easy walk right to the stadium.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets being sold from the Vanderbilt website are $35 for general admission. There really isn't a bad seat in Vanderbilt Stadium. The price is very fair.

Parking can be expensive if you choose the security of a parking garage on campus. This option is $15, but this price makes it a really short walk to the stadium gates. Parking options along West End Avenue will be cheaper, but you'll be walking more. Sometimes you can get extremely lucky and find a spot to parallel park on the street for free.

Attending a game at Vanderbilt Stadium is probably one of the cheaper stadium experiences you'll find in the SEC.

Extras    3

One extra point to how well the football program markets itself. They do an outstanding job putting in the extra work to get the fans pumped up. The slogan of "Anchor Down" was nationally trending on Twitter leading up to their first game in 2015. The "V-U" hand gesture that the fans have adopted is also cool to see right before every kickoff.

Vanderbilt's traditional Star Walk also earns them some extra points. The fans line up and create a path for the players to walk from the locker room, across the street through the band, and into the tunnel of the stadium. A lot of football programs do this, and Vanderbilt's version is done very well.

Final Thoughts

A lot is lacking from Vanderbilt Stadium right now due to the current state of the program. Winning cures all, and that's what it will take to really make this a superb college football experience. It has the location, it has the conference and it has the loyal fans. It just needs success on the gridiron to make it truly special.

however, I\'d say that our fans are plenty loud/the ambiance is fine when the team truly give the fa

however, I'd say that our fans are plenty loud/the ambiance is fine when the team truly give the fans something to cheer about.

Auburn 08' was a perfect example of how loud it can get in there. Gameday was there, Vandy was
4-0, and it was insane in there/deafening. The atmosphere was amazing that evening, and when Vanderbilt puts a respectable product on the field, which is seldom, the fans respond. It can be just as imtimidating as most other stadiums in the SEC, imo, although granted it is not half that wild usually.

by bek7567 | Sep 17, 2010 04:25 PM

How do you miss the Parthenon?

Did you not notice the big, Greek temple half a mile from the stadium last time you were there? Sure, downtown Nashville is great, I'm not taking away from that. But the Neighborhood should get more than a 3 due to the fact that the only recreation of the Parthenon in the world is a mere 0.5 miles away, and it's a museum! Not to mention the huge lawn perfect for frisbee, pre-game picnic, football or whatever else you want to do.

by Joakes | Nov 06, 2013 12:19 PM

What;s the deal with the parking?

Love going to Nashville but when you try to find a park near the stadium you pass all these half-filled lots that are reserved for donors. After the game the lots are still only half-filled.

by pbt140 | Jul 31, 2014 03:39 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Dore to the Past

Total Score: 3.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

No, the present and recent past have not been glorious for Dudley Field at Vanderbilt Stadium, but dig back into history far enough and you'll discover a time when it was the place to be in the college football world.

Named for William Dudley, a Vanderbilt Medical School dean around the turn of the 19th century to the 20th, today's construct is actually the second home of Vanderbilt football. The first was literally just a field, also named for Dudley, close by.

But anyway, what makes all that significant is the man was responsible for the creation of the SIAA, the precursor to the Southern Conference (and therefore the SEC); and the stadium, when completed in 1922, was the first football-dedicated facility in the South.

So does it stand the test of time?

Vanderbilt Stadium- Bringing in a New Era

Total Score: 3.86

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The 2012 college football season marks the beginning of a new era for Vanderbilt football, and the offseason renovations to Vanderbilt Stadium’s field surface and Jumbotron helps illustrate that.

Big changes have occurred numerous times to Vanderbilt Stadium since its construction in 1922, which was the first outdoor stadium built for the sole purpose of college football in the South.

Once you get past how small the stadium is for an SEC football program, it’s easy to be impressed by the experience you receive at Vanderbilt Stadium. Vanderbilt Stadium’s current capacity is just over 41,000, giving it the smallest seating capacity in the SEC by 14,000 to Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium.

Don’t let the small seating capacity fool you. Vanderbilt fans can still make it very loud in this horseshoe style stadium that resembles a naval vessel with its concrete exterior.

Been to many games here

Total Score: 1.29

  • Food & Beverage: 1
  • Atmosphere 1
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 0
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 1
  • Extras: 1

As a season ticket holder who has seen many games here over my lifetime, I must say that VU Stadium leaves so much to be desired. Our "fans" arrive late and leave early. It's actually a large feat if they even bother to show up. Most SEC games here at home seem like an away game for my 'Dores as opposing fans ALWAYS outnumber us. The seating layout can make for an atrocious atmosphere when it comes to getting to your seat and out of the stadium. If the crowd is large and the game stays close to the end, I don't even chance trying to leave as it takes an average of 30-40 minutes to simply hit the exit gates. Having a new scoreboard and end zone seating section is so wonderful and long overdue. If the team can continue its recent success then I have hope that we develop some diehard fans and more facility improvements. Overall, this is a small, outdated stadium that is unfortunately the worst in the SEC and needs a major overhaul.

VU Stadium

Total Score: 1.57

  • Food & Beverage: 1
  • Atmosphere 0
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 0
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 2

As a season ticket holder who has seen many games here over my lifetime, I must say that VU Stadium leaves so much to be desired. Our "fans" arrive late and leave early. It's actually a large feat if they even bother to show up. Most SEC games here at home seem like an away game for my 'Dores as opposing fans ALWAYS outnumber us. The seating layout can make for an atrocious atmosphere when it comes to getting to your seat and out of the stadium. If the crowd is large and the game stays close to the end, I don't even chance trying to leave as it takes an average of 30-40 minutes to simply hit the exit gates. Having a new scoreboard and end zone seating section is so wonderful and long overdue. If the team can continue its recent success then I have hope that we develop some diehard fans and more facility improvements. Overall, this is a small, outdated stadium that is unfortunately the worst in the SEC and needs a major overhaul.

Vandy Saturday

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field, completed in 1922, is the first stadium in the South to be built specifically for a college football team. With a capacity of 40,350, it is the smallest stadium in the SEC by a significant amount, but amazingly was the home field for the Oilers in their first season in Tennessee, and also the host of the inaugural Music City Bowl. Nowadays, the only football played at Vanderbilt Stadium is between the Vanderbilt Commodores and their opponent on a given Saturday.

The stadium is built in typical horseshoe fashion, with one end zone area entirely open, save the large replay screen that’s been added in recent years. The exterior is painted a dark grey, and is meant to resemble a battleship, although you would never guess that just by looking at it. However, the naval theme is a constant presence, with the “Anchor Down” cheer and hand sign, and the alarmingly loud foghorn after Vanderbilt scores. It makes for an atmosphere that is unique to anywhere, save perhaps the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Vanderbilt has had its moments since the arrival of James Franklin as head coach in 2011, but overall I would describe fan support as “meh”. It’s hard to blame them, as Vanderbilt is a small school, with just 12,750 students, and nearly half of those are graduate students who probably have allegiance to their first college. That being said, this is SEC football, and it’s not too great a task to fill its smallest stadium, even if a large percentage of fans are for the visiting team.

Not an SEC Venue, but.......

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 2
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

Obviously, Vanderbilt has never been at the forefront of SEC football and is somewhat of the black sheep of the conference, having a stadium capacity way lower than any of the other teams. So going to a game thinking you will get the same feel of the SEC like you would at Alabama, Florida, Auburn, LSU, etc. is just not in the cards. It is too small and it feels like a glorified high school football stadium.

With that said, the place isn't bad to take in a game. You feel pretty close to the action, fans are good, and you still have a great college atmosphere (which stunned me). It isn't on a lot of people's bucket lists to run to Vanderbilt, but it is not the worst place to take in a game.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: Nothing major to note. Very standard foods (the Anchor Down Dog is just a hot dog with Jalapenos and cheese on a pretzel bun) and nothing out of the ordinary. Food tasted average.

ATMOSPHERE: Was thinking Vanderbilt would be like Duke in terms of "oh we have a football game on our campus today?" mentality. But the campus and the area around was rocking. It had a nice feel in and around the area, knowing there was a game.

NEIGHBORHOOD: You have options around from the chains to some unique restaurants within walking distance, once you are away from the baseball stadium (which is sharing the concourse with the football stadium) and the basketball arena.

FANS: The fans I saw were very into the game and really enjoyed being there. That's what it was about. However, it wasn't too great they bolted at halftime.

ACCESS: No major interstates or highways near the place and they pretty much buried it with the other athletic facilities as well as hotels that were fairly taller than the stadium structure itself. Even when you could see it, you couldn't cut through the other venues to get it. But if you got lucky, parking was free, but on the other side of campus.

ROI: Tickets are easy to come by and you do get a good view of college football. Food prices were what you expect, but some of the souvenirs were on the high.

EXTRAS: The stadium and the campus itself was incredibly clean. I like how they are trying to get traditions built in with the whole "Anchor Down" bit, albeit somewhat cheesy. Besides that............

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Local Food & Drink

Crema  (map it!)

15 Hermitage Ave

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(615) 255-8311

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Exit/In  (map it!)

2208 Elliston Pl

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The Stage on Broadway  (map it!)

412 Broadway

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(615) 726-0504

http://thestageonbroadway.com/theStageOn/home.php

The Parthenon  (map it!)

2500 West End Ave

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(615) 862-8431

http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Parthenon.aspx

Lodging

Opryland Hotel  (map it!)

2800 Opryland Dr

Nashville, TN 37214

(615) 889-1000

http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/

Marriott Nashville at Vanderbilt  (map it!)

2555 W End Ave

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(615) 321-1300

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bnaav-nashville-marriott-at-vanderbilt-university/

Holiday Inn Nashville-Vanderbilt  (map it!)

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(615) 327-4707

http://www.holidayinn-nashville.com

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