Wallace Wade Stadium was built in 1929 and lights were added in 1984. The stadium is built as a horseshoe design, with the scoreboard located at the open end of the stadium. The largest crowd ever was on November 19, 1949 when 57,500 watched Duke play North Carolina. The current configuration of the stadium holds 33,941.
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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".
For a small stadium, the design allows for plenty of concessions. The actual concession buildings are small and don't have much to offer, but there are lots of temporary structures from local companies that provide a great variety of food.
My only real complaint was that if you wanted something specific, there was often only one stand selling that item so you had to walk around to find what you wanted to eat.
Offerings included burgers ($5) at a stand called Andy's Burgers. They also had chips ($1) and 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola products ($3). For dessert, I tried the mini donut stand, $5 for a baker's dozen. This stand also had coffee ($2/$3), hot cocoa ($2/$3), mocha ($4) and sweet tea ($4).
The atmosphere was one where the fans wanted to believe in the team, but it seemed like every time Duke was about to gain momentum in the game, they would turn the ball over or allow a big play on defense and the fans would murmur around about the lack of consistent play.
There was nothing noteworthy when it came to the band or piped in music. The mascot also didn't spend a whole lot of time interacting with the fans.
Driving around was a bit difficult because a few roads were closed down to through traffic around the campus. I wound up eating at a chain called Cook Out where you can get a full meal for under $5. I recommend the platter where you get a sandwich and two sides.
The fans cheered for the team, but not consistently. It was like they never gave full support. Every bad play resulted in sighs and disbelief. The student section was very small. So small that I would guess they draw more to a basketball game than they do for football.
It took me a while to figure out parking as most lots on campus were $10, but I found plenty of spaces on Lewis Street that were free and an easy walk to the stadium. The walk was about a mile and took me through a beautiful garden, around a small pond and past Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Getting into the stadium was fairly easy and I was able to bring my entire camera bag without a problem. My general admission seat allowed me to sit anywhere in the closed in end zone, which was nice because you could decide if you preferred to sit down low or up high, and allowed for me to avoid some of the kids running around wildly.
Bathrooms were a hike from my seat and not very nice. They are the sole reason I did not award access a four star.
The concourse was fairly easy to move around, but due to the design was a bit uneven. The concourse level almost had a carnival or fair type of feeling to it.
Football just does not seem to be the preferred sport by either the administration or fans at Duke. There is not much investment into the stadium to make it nice or add more bathrooms or proper concessions. The program just is not on par with other Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
The campus is beautiful and worth walking around so I gave an extra point here. The other extra point is for some of the activities that took place for kids in the Krzyzewskiville area.
With North Carolina and North Carolina State both being located within 30 minutes, it seems like Duke has just decided to concentrate on basketball and allow the football team to lag behind their local rivals. If you are in the Raleigh/Durham triangle area, you are likely going to enjoy a game at one of the other schools over Duke.
If you are going to Duke with high expectations on the place for football, then this is not the place for you. The stadium is very small for a program which resides in a BCS Conference and for the longest time hasn't been very good. It seemed to me that the fans were just waiting to pass the time for the basketball season to arrive.
Food & Beverage: Overall it was a great variety of food for a small stadium as the official reviewer said. It wasn't the BEST food in the world and you could probably have the same quality at a high school game, but overall the selection is pretty varied.
Atmosphere: It was okay. But there was not a vibe of a football place like I've been to other college stadiums. It seemed like football was to pass the time for basketball.
Neighborhood: Probably overrating this but it is situated on the campus and while there aren't any major places to hang out after the game, you have Cameron Indoor Stadium (which they will allow you to tour for free after the game), the athletic complexes where you can check where the basketball teams practice, and the souvenir store (albeit limited). The campus area is very nice, clean, and one of the best scenic places I've ever been to.
Fans: Somewhat coincides with atmosphere. I will they they had knowledge of the sport when they talked about the teams of years' past, but most fans kept it to themselves. But I went when Duke was still pretty rough to watch so fans had a hard time cheering for the Blue Devils when they got behind. It was "oh, here we go again." And a large fraction of the fans were Florida State fans too.
Access: The problem with this is, the stadium is so small you cannot see it until you get to the stadium itself. It is on a low level where you walk in and you walk down to the bleachers. The only real architecture is the press box/luxury boxes. So you won't see anything until you get up and you really have to follow the masses to figure out where you were going.
ROI: Just a small football stadium. Nothing out of the ordinary and it isn't going to ever be mistaken for Michigan, Alabama, or Clemson for the stadium itself. They had a nice scoreboard though.
Extras: Prices to watch a Duke game are very cheap regardless of who comes to town. The scenic view around the stadium is one of the best around however and I really liked how they made it nice all over.
Overall it was definitely not the worst experience I had. It was nice and cozy, but just not really a place that screamed college football.
18,000 fans doesn't make me think D-1 football. The restrooms are the worst I've seen and the fans are waiting for basketball. Even their rowdy basketball fans are mostly students in a gym that holds about 8000. Wallace Wade is a storied old stadium but little has been done to improve it since it was built. It makes a nice outdoor track venue but for football you'd be better off at some high school games. Durham isn't an easy city to drive around either, especially off the beaten path.
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