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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex – Hawaii Rainbow Warriors


Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Clarence T. Ching Athletics Complex 1105 Lower Campus Rd Honolulu, HI 96822



Year Opened: 2015

Capacity: 15,000

 

Ohana Means Football Family

A decade and a half removed from their magical undefeated 2007 regular season, Hawaii Football often goes unnoticed on the national stage during the weekly college football landscape. Falling into the same trap as a traveling sports fan would be an incredible mistake.


Perhaps no other game day experience captures the true feeling of family, the connection to the local culture, and the enthusiasm that college sports can create than that you’ll experience at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. Located on the campus of the University of Hawaii Manoa, this growing facility has quickly morphed from a track-and-field facility to a respectable football facility in short order.


Food & Beverage 5

If you’re looking for a local flavor instead of stadium basics, Hawaii football is going to be your promised land. A myriad of local vendors and food trucks pack into the east end zone and offer nearly every type of food possible. Local grilled meats, snow cones, grilled seafood, fresh fruit and veggies, Asian fusion, sushi, and so much more are available for fans to choose from on game day.


Beer and drink concessions are also located around the stadium, ranging from $9 to $12 for a beer; even snack and soda vending machines are available outside of the Ewa end zone entrances. If you leave this stadium hungry, that is simply a problem of your creation.


Atmosphere 5

There is so much more to the game day experience at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex than meets the eye. An expanded seating capacity for 2023 has grown the seating here to accommodate 15,000 fans, an increase that will only grow as time progresses with the school’s continued investment in the facility. In a perfect mix of old and new, the former video scoreboard from the team’s former home, Aloha Stadium, has been relocated to the stadium, paying homage to the Rainbow Warriors’ past. Additionally, new green-backed seating along the sidelines adds to the green color palate seen in the team’s aesthetic.


While pre-game tailgating is not allowed at the nearby parking lots and garages, the Hawaii athletics department has an impressively solid alternative. Hours before the game starts, the team opens up access to nearby Les Murakami Stadium (the Warriors’ baseball stadium), complete with open concessions stands, a team store, kids bounce houses, and various sponsor activations. Live music from local artists is performed on a stage set up on the baseball field for fans to enjoy until the football stadium gates open up.

For Hawaii, cultural traditions run deep within the game day experience. Did you feel a light rain on your face while walking into the stadium? That is a good omen! Hawaii fans welcome the periodic light mist that wafts off the nearby Koolau Mountain range as a sacred good omen that washes away bad luck and cleans the air.


When the team runs onto the field, they’re led by tribal drummers and torch-carrying warriors chanting to lead the players to glory. At various locations around the field, sacred ti leaf leis have been placed to bless the field, players, and fans for the coming season. These leis are not to be touched out of respect for what they represent.


You also will hear the “Chee hoo!” yell over the PA system whenever the ‘Bows get a first down, a yell that is called back by the fans. Finally, at the start of the game, both the National Anthem and the Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī are performed on the field, honoring Hawaii’s heritage, in addition to its history as a US territory.

Neighborhood 4

The stadium itself is located on the University of Hawaii campus, located just north of the popular Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu. Just a few miles from campus are the world-famous sandy beaches that have attracted visitors for hundreds of years. You’re also not far from local restaurants, as well as chain favorites and hotels. To the east is Diamond Head State Monument, a popular hiking site, and beyond that are iconic shorelines of rocky cliffs.


Fans 5

The fans pack into Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex for each Hawaii home game, and with them, they bring a fervor and loyalty for their ‘Bows that many would believe was reserved for teams in much larger conferences on the mainland.


Hawaii fans are hardcore, knowing all the players as well as the team’s long history. On game day, many can be seen holding gathered ti leaves, sometimes waving or shaking them in the air. This is meant to ward off evil spirits and enemies. If you wish to join them, local flower shops often sell ti leaves, as taking them off of plants not at your own house is frowned upon in Hawaiian culture.

Many fans have been coming to games since they were kids, and now bring their kids. And speaking of which, Hawaii games are the perfect family affair – fans of all ages can be spotted in the stadium. The student section located in the Diamond Head end zone is also alive with loud cheering fans all game long. And don’t let the small capacity for its crowd fool you; this stadium gets loud during big-time plays.


Access 3

The parking at Hawaii football games is arguably the biggest struggle for game day experiences. The nearby Kalele Road Garage and UH Guest Parking Garage offer the best and closest options. Entry off nearby Dole Street or Kalele Road makes for easy in-and-out access. Both of these are located right off of the H1 Highway, making for easy driving if you’re staying nearby, or farther away. Once at the stadium, fans can easily access the entire perimeter of the stadium via walkways and pathways both around and under the grandstands.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets start at $20 for end zone seats and go up to $95 for 50-yard line seats. Coupling this with several free parking lots in the area, as well as the affordability of various food options, makes this a stellar value for the price paid. You also get some of the best views in all of college football.


Hawaii’s iconic sunsets show off when the sun drops below the iconic dome of the Stan Sheriff Center. Off to the east, the stunning peak of Diamond Head rises in the distance above the palm trees swaying in the breeze. To the north, stark mountains filled with tropical misty forests serve as a verdant backdrop.


Extras 3

The stadium features stunning views from practically every seat, including views of the video screens. Two different screens are in place, including the recently installed scoreboard from Aloha Stadium. The facility is also close to the rest of Hawaii’s sports facilities, including the baseball, softball, tennis, and basketball stadiums.


Finally, thanks to the frequent mist that falls from the nearby mountain ranges, rainbows frequently appear over the stadium during games, a fitting sight for the home of the Rainbow Warriors.


Final Thoughts

Though nearly every stadium in the FBS division of college football features a larger capacity for its home crowds, this is by far one of the best stadium experiences in the NCAA. Perhaps no stadium features 360-degree views that are all stunning in their way.


The fan base is among the most loyal in sports, showing their ability to cheer on their athletes regardless of record or score on the field. The concessions showcase the best local cuisine available. Without a doubt, no team is as connected and active in respecting the traditions of the local culture as Hawaii football. This is the biggest Ohana you don’t realize you’re a member of until you arrive through the gates.

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