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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

Amon G. Carter Stadium - Armed Forces Bowl

Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Amon G. Carter Stadium 2850 Stadium Dr Fort Worth, TX 76129

Year Opened: 1930

Capacity: 45,000

Armed Forces Bowl

The Armed Forces Bowl has been part of the college bowl season for 16 years – originally the bowl was named the Fort Worth Bowl, and the 2002 inaugural game was a 34-31 win for Boise State over Amon G. Carter Stadium’s home tenant, TCU.

In 2006 the bowl was renamed the Armed Forces Bowl, with a commitment to honor past and present Armed Forces members. This bowl game is unique as being the only bowl game to have all three service academies as past participants, along with recognizing all five service branches. Lockheed Martin took a sponsorship role in 2014, and currently has a contract through 2019.

There were two years in which the Armed Forces Bowl was not played in Fort Worth – that was in 2010-11 when the game was moved to SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, which was due to the $164 million-dollar renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Amon G. Carter Stadium is named after Amon G. Carter, a Fort Worth businessman, founder of the Fort Worth Star and Telegram, and city booster.

Food & Beverage 4

There are plenty of options for food and beverages inside Amon G. Carter Stadium. The facility has a lot of local restaurant flavors, such as Los Vaqueros (Tex-Mex), Bobby’s Fajitas (Tex-Mex), Railhead BBQ, Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Bros. Pizza and Wings, and Dutch’s Burgers & Dogs. The basic classics like hot dogs and nachos are also available, and most of your food choices range between $4 and $10 depending on what item or plate combo you choose.

The beverages served here are Pepsi products ranging from $4.50 for a 24oz to $6 for a 32oz. Aquafina bottled water costs $4, and no alcohol is sold outside the club/suite in Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Atmosphere 4

Amon G. Carter Stadium has a grass playing field with a 45,000-seat open-air facility. The atmosphere in and around Amon G. Carter Stadium during the Armed Forces Bowl starts hours before kickoff. First off, there is Texas-style tailgating as you may expect, but on the north side of the stadium in Lot 3 there is another way to spend your pre-game activity time called Tailgate Outpost. Tailgate Outpost opens four hours prior to kickoff and features live music, interactive games, bounce houses, live radio shows, food stands, and a pep rally with the participating teams’ bands and spirit squads.

The Armed Forces Bowl has been considered the best bowl atmosphere outside of the championship bowls. The in-stadium pre-game begins with a military fly over and parachute teams, while the halftime festivities are filled with military enlistments and in-game warrior tributes such as honoring Purple Heart recipients from the State of Texas.

The view from any seat at Amon G. Carter Stadium is wonderful. The south end zone tunnel is where the designated-home team enters the field for the Armed Forces Bowl, while the visitors enter from the northwest tunnel.

Neighborhood 4

Texas Christian University’s campus is located about four miles from downtown Fort Worth, and Amon G. Carter Stadium is right on campus. The campus is divided by University Drive, where there are a few restaurants popular for serving TCU’s students.

Buffalo Brothers is a popular place for all fans to meet before and after the Armed Forces Bowl – fans flock to this local sports bar, which serves New York Style wings, pizza, and subs. Dutch’s Hamburgers, a burger and beer café that faces TCU’s campus, is also a great place to eat before attending any sporting event here at TCU – Dutch’s namesake is Leo “Dutch” Meyer, a TCU grad who became the most successful football coach in the school’s history.

There are several tourist attractions in Fort Worth near TCU’s campus, such as the Fort Worth Zoo on University Drive near the Colonial Country Club; the Zoo is a great place for families to visit. The Cultural District is also nearby and has several museums, including the world-famous Kimbell Art Museum, and you can also visit the Will Rogers Memorial Center, home of the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. A trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards is also a must when visiting the Fort Worth area, and is located just a few miles on the other side of downtown from TCU.

Two good options for lodging while in town for the Armed Forces Bowl include the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa at 1701 Commerce, or the Stockyards Hotel on Exchange Street.

Fans 4

College football bowl fans vary throughout the country, depending on the participating school or the importance of the bowl to the national championship scenario. For the Armed Forces Bowl, the fact is that most of the fans are from outside the Dallas area, so expectations should be lower.

However, the Armed Forces Bowl is committed to honoring service members, so having a military service academy as a participating team brings a larger contingent of fans – the Armed Forces Bowl showcases the military, so having at least one military academy on the field for the game is a great way to honor all service members. A sellout was announced for this year’s version of the Armed Forces Bowl, which ended with Army-West Point beating the University of Houston to become the first three-time Armed Forces Bowl champion.

Access 4

Amon G. Carter Stadium is located on the campus of TCU, just a few miles from Fort Worth – although near the city, the campus is set back in an old neighborhood. Note that the stadium uses the clear bag policy, meaning that only items fitting inside clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bags smaller than 14″ x 14″ are permitted, or you can bring in a small clutch about the size of your hand. You may also bring in one un-opened small bottle of water, and exceptions will be made for other medically necessary items.

The parking lots around Amon G. Carter Stadium during the Armed Forces Bowl are reserved, and a pass is required to park near the stadium; these passes can be purchased in advance. However, there are also cash lots available at the following locations: Alice Carlson Elementary on 3320 Cantey Street, University Baptist Church on 2720 Wabash Avenue, or University Christian Church on 2720 S. University Drive. In addition, there are a few lots within reasonable walking distance that are designated for free parking.

If you don’t care to sit in the traffic near the stadium there are also plenty of taxis if you are staying at a hotel downtown, but cab fare can be as high as $25 each way depending on traffic, so it is better to use the Uber/Lyft service for $15 – the pick-up/drop-off location for these is located at the corner of Bellaire Drive North and Stadium Drive (in front of the TCU Admissions building).

There are 10 entrances into Amon G. Carter Stadium, so getting into the stadium is easy – the ticket lines move quickly since there are plenty of gates, the concourses are very wide, and there are ramps for the walk up to the 400 sections. Note that the walk up to the 400 section is very long, but there are escalators going up to the club seating in the 200-300 sections that you can use, making it a shorter walk. The signage around the stadium is also plentiful and helpful in finding your section, and the restrooms are well placed, so there are no lines interfering with people walking around the concourse.

Return on Investment 5

Armed Forces Bowl tickets are similar in cost to other bowl games in a similar tier, but Amon G. Carter Stadium is smaller, so fans can get closer to the action for a lot less cost.

There are five levels of pricing for the Armed Forces Bow, the highest being Champions Club at $125; the other levels include the upper deck for $50 and the lower level for $60 to $75 (depending on how close you are to midfield). However, the cheapest tickets and best value are the general admission seats – these cost $25 and have first-come, first-served seating located in the lower end zone corners or the 300 and 400 sections on the west side of the stadium.

Compared to other sports venues, Amon G. Carter Stadium’s concessions are reasonably priced, although it is always better to find a local restaurant in the neighborhood, and Fort Worth has plenty of options. Also, the Armed Forces Bowl does have nearby free parking that is within reasonable walking distance.

Over the 16-year history of the Armed Forces Bowl the games have been thrilling to watch, and now with a recently upgraded stadium, plus being in a wonderful city like Fort Worth, the return on investment here is very high.

Extras 5

The Armed Forces Bowl has the unique honor to be the only college bowl game that has had all three service academies participate during its short 16-year existence. The trophy is also forged from combat-tested metal and steel from the United States Armed Forces, and stands as a testament to all brothers and sisters in arms.

Recently the Armed Forces Bowl created the Wall of Heroes, a collection of over 2,300 fan-submitted photos of heroes – these photos are located throughout Amon G. Carter Stadium as a salute to the service members of the Armed Forces. The stadium’s friendly confines also give fans great up-close access to top-level college football action.

Final Thoughts

The Armed Forces Bowl is a great experience, and the bowl committee provides a great honor to all service members. The beautiful setting of Texas Christian University, the friendly confines of a beautiful architectural marvel such as Amon G. Carter Stadium, along with the city of Fort Worth, creates a wonderful destination during the college bowl season. In fact, the Armed Forces Bowl could even be one of the best return-on-investment experiences in all of college football.

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