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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Alumni Stadium – Boston College Eagles


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Alumni Stadium 2604 Beacon Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467



Year Opened: 1957

Capacity: 44,500

 

For Boston


Boston College fielded their first football team in 1893. They played at the original Alumni Stadium beginning in 1915. As the team grew in popularity through the 1930s and 40s, the Eagles called Boston’s two major league baseball fields (Fenway Park and Braves Field) home. When the Red Sox decided in 1957 that they would no longer allow football to be played at Fenway Park, Boston College built a new on-campus home in just 156 days at a cost of $250,000.


With a capacity of 26,000, the new Alumni Stadium’s first game was a match against the Naval Academy arranged by then-Senator John F. Kennedy in 1957. Renovations in 1971 and 1988 have expanded the facility to its current capacity of 44,500. Alumni Stadium also served as home to the New England Patriots in 1969.


The Eagles have a storied history, with 28 bowl game appearances and an unofficial national championship in 1940 on its resume. Two Boston College alumni (Art Donovan and Ernie Stautner) are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seven former players and three former coaches are enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.


Food & Beverage 3

Concessions are not a particular point of emphasis at Alumni Stadium. The majority of the stands feature only stadium basics, such as hot dogs and nachos. The menu at these stands do not offer much in the way of variety. Portable carts along the concourse sell chicken tenders and meatball subs.


However, if you head to the stands at the south end zone, you’ll find some welcome variety. Dubbed “Alumni South,” this area features portable carts offering burgers, sausage and pepper sandwiches and since we’re in New England, clam chowder and lobster rolls. These items cannot be found anywhere else in Alumni Stadium.


Coca-Cola products are featured at Alumni Stadium. Fans looking for adult beverages can purchase Budweiser and Bud Light at several portable stands. Again, for some variety, head to Alumni South, where brews from local breweries Harpoon and Cisco are sold.


Atmosphere 3

There have been many changes in recent years aimed at improving the game day atmosphere at Alumni Stadium. If you haven’t visited Chestnut Hill in a while, the biggest change you’ll notice is the increase in tailgating near the stadium before the game. The school allows the purchase of tailgating permits for games, and fans have responded by filling up seemingly every possible nook and cranny on campus with tailgates. The creativity shown by the fans is impressive.


Fans will find much that is familiar during an Eagles football game. What noise there is inside Alumni Stadium comes from the student section in the south end zone. Filled with maroon and gold clad fans every Saturday, the students lead the cheers and are a popular presence on the stadium’s two video boards.


Eagles fans have a reputation for being a bit too laid-back much of the time. Unfortunately, this reputation is really very accurate. Even though the pep band, cheerleaders and dance squad do their best to keep the energy up, this is definitely not a rowdy place to catch a game. When a top-ranked team visits Chestnut Hill, you are likely to find as many visiting fans as Eagles fans in attendance.



Neighborhood 4

The Boston College campus is located in Chestnut Hill, a village in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. Downtown Boston is located about six miles to the east. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of many “best place to live in America” lists. While the area does have some places to shop or eat, they are a bit of a walk or drive from the Boston College campus.


A popular destination on game days is Cleveland Circle, about a 15-minute walk from campus, where you will find, among other places, Eagle’s Deli, which is known for its massive hamburger challenges. This no-frills diner is a favorite of Boston College students.


As is the case in Greater Boston, streets in this area are frequently congested and busy, so be careful navigating the area around campus. Fans visiting the area during months when the weather is cooperating may choose to spend some time down at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir right behind Alumni Stadium. From the shores of the reservoir you get a view of downtown Boston in the distance. For those fans interested in seeing the best of what Boston has to offer, head towards those tall buildings, you’ll find what you’re looking for there.


Fans 3

Eagle football fans have a reputation for being a fickle lot, with a reputation for showing up in big numbers when Notre Dame and other big-name opponents are in town but avoiding Chestnut Hill en masse when other teams visit.


Boston College averaged only 26,000 fans per game in 2021, well down form their average attendance in recent years. This figure places them far below the ACC average. True to their reputation, Eagles fans are not the most rowdy you’ll come across, but the team does have their share of devoted fans, and the student section is packed, no matter who is visiting Alumni Stadium.


Access 3

The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Despite its location in the suburbs, this area shares the same access issues as downtown Boston. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of Greater Boston by car can tell you how difficult driving in this area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet is to find a copilot who knows their way around town.


Stadium Journey recommends leaving the car at home and using public transportation to arrive at Alumni Stadium. Boston’s subway system, known as the “T,” has several stops that access the Boston College campus. The green line’s B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from campus. From here, it is a short five-minute walk to Alumni Stadium. In addition, Boston College operates free shuttle busses that stop at several points around town. The complete route schedule can be viewed here.


If driving to Boston College, it’s easier to avoid the city and come in from the western suburbs. Take exit 24 (Commonwealth Ave.-Route 30) off Interstate 95 (also known as Route 128). Follow Commonwealth Avenue for about 5 miles, and you will find the Boston College campus on your right. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a nice suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus. Complete driving directions can be found here.


Space is at a premium at Alumni Stadium, and the precious parking near the facility is reserved for Flynn Fund donors. Other fans will be resigned to parking at one of the satellite lots, from which they can take complimentary shuttle busses to Alumni Stadium. More information on the parking situation can be found here.

Once arriving at Alumni Stadium, fans will find a basic, no-frills facility that is absolutely a product of the time it was built. There is a single concourse that runs below the seating bowl around the entire facility. Getting around the stadium is fairly easy, although passage can get difficult at halftime. All seating consists of aluminum bleachers without chairbacks. Sitting behind the BC bench on the west side of Alumni Stadium will allow you to see the Eagles logo right side up. Restrooms are adequate for a typical Eagles crowd, although lines do form at halftime. Be aware that Boston College practices a clear bag policy for football games.


There is a rather large construction project going on at the adjoining Conte Forum, but this does not significantly affect access to the football stadium.


Return on Investment 3

The Eagles utilize variable pricing for their games at Alumni Stadium. Tickets start as low as $10, increasing to a maximum of $150 for marquee conference games. For most Eagles football games, ticket prices max out at about $60, with many seats priced even lower. Nationally ranked teams regularly visit Chestnut Hill, as do the Notre Dame Fighting Irish every other season.


As mentioned before, fans looking to park on campus should reserve their spots well in advance, as space on campus is extremely limited. Many of the available spots are reserved for donors to the Flynn Fund and season ticket holders. Parking must also be purchased in advance at the satellite lots, with prices beginning at $30. Some parking spots come with tailgating privileges, some do not. It can be pretty confusing, but all the needed information can be found here.


Concessions are a bit on the high side but are in line with other facilities in the area.


Extras 3

Even though he graduated over thirty years ago, Doug Flutie still casts a giant shadow in Chestnut Hill. A statue commemorating his famous “Miracle in Miami” Hail Mary stands outside Gate D. You will be sure to see plenty of number twenty-two jerseys at Alumni Stadium.


Conte Forum, home to the Eagle basketball and hockey teams, is attached to the west grandstand, and the two facilities share a bank of luxury boxes. It is open during Eagle football games so that fans can use the indoor bathrooms or concession stands. Take a walk around Conte Forum and check out the Varsity Club, the Eagles Hall of Fame and the many championship banners won by the hockey and basketball teams.


Boston College’s long and storied football history is on display all over Alumni Stadium. Honored players have their numbers posted on the southeast corner of the stadium in a nice new display. Eagles players who were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft are displayed in the other corners of the stadium. Notable players in Boston College football history have their pictures wrapped on posts throughout the concourse.


Final Thoughts

College football just isn’t a big deal in New England. However, local pigskin fans can get a taste of the big-time at Alumni Stadium. Boston College’s membership in the ACC and longstanding rivalry with Notre Dame guarantees that nationally ranked opponents come to Boston regularly. A fall trip to Boston is certainly a Stadium Journey worth taking.



Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter or Instagram @PuckmanRI.


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