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  • Eric Moreno

Amon G. Carter Stadium - TCU Horned Frogs

Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

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

TCU Horned Frogs website

Amon G. Carter Stadium website

Year Opened: 1930

Capacity: 46,000

TCU Horned Frogs – Amon G. Carter Stadium

They began playing football at Texas Christian University (TCU) in 1896, back when Grover Cleveland could be found in the Oval Office of the White House. The Horned Frogs are considered among the most successful private school programs in college football history. They claim two National Championships (1935 and 1938), one Heisman Trophy winner in Davey O’Brien, and scores of All-Americans and all-time greats, including Sammy Baugh and LaDainian Tomlinson.

They began playing in Amon G. Carter Stadium, named for one the most famous newspaper publishers and sportsmen of the early part of the 20th century, in 1930. The original seating capacity was for 22,000 and they have been steadily expanding the stadium ever since – the latest was a $113 million addition completed prior to the 2020 season that opened a new section of luxury suites.

The Carter – or “Hell’s Half Acre” as it has also been sometimes referred to – is a true football palace, done up in the classical style of a time gone by. Its brick and column facade inspires reverence among Horned Frog Nation, while it has also been a place of nightmares for opposing teams and their fans.

Food & Beverage 4

The food and beverage scene at Amon G. Carter is pretty much on par with other programs in the Big 12. Both sides of the stadium have matching concessions stands in that you can find the same exact stands on each opposing side of the stadium.

The standard concessions offerings cater to your traditional game day needs – your hot dogs, your popcorn (you can get a large order for $6), your sausage wraps (also $6), fountain drinks ($7), and bottled and draft domestic beers ($8).

With the return of fans to the stadium in 2021, TCU partnered with new concessions partners for the first time ever to offer up new menu items for fans, one of which is the Texas-born fast food fried chicken joint Chicken Express. This fan favorite spot has a pared down menu but be on the lookout for their $20 combo meal of tenders, fries, a hot roll, and a drink.

Another option is the Dusty Biscuit, a specialty beignet shop that serves up hot sweet New Orleans-inspired treats. There’s also a Dippin’ Dots stand and a loaded waffle fries cart ($4 for regular; $7 Buffalo chicken-style) just to name a few more new options.

Atmosphere 5

Since the disintegration of the Southwest Conference way back in 1995 (it still stings me personally, all these years later), the Horned Frogs spent the next two decades plus trying to get back to the Power Five. When they joined the Big 12 in 2012, big-time football returned to the Carter and the fans have responded in kind. When you head to the stadium, you will be overwhelmed by a sea of purple, as fans young and old alike are decked out in Horned Frogs gear as far as the eye can see. Once inside Amon G. Carter Stadium, the experience escalates even more.

When the Horned Frogs take the field, they are led out by the TCU Horned Frog Marching Band and their mascot, SuperFrog (more on them in the Extras section) with pomp, circumstance, purple smoke, and fireworks. These fireworks go off after touchdowns and after each Frogs game, adding greatly to the gravitas and overall atmosphere of games at Amon G. Carter.

In the stands, the fans will chant their century-plus-old cheer of “Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo” and throw up their Go Frogs hand sign. The Frog Horn (more on this as well in the Extras section) blows incessantly in the end zone during the game, much to the chagrin of opposing teams. Also there are team stores and merchandise kiosks scattered throughout the stadium for those interested in purchasing their own TCU gear.

The upper decks of the stadium are adorned with the reminders of past bowl victories. Again, this is truly big-time football, and you too will get that impression as soon as you get near the stadium.

Neighborhood 4

Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States, which doesn’t typically lend itself toward being a traditional college town. The Carter itself is located smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and as you exit either Interstates 20, 30, or 35W, you will find yourself in the middle of street after street of family homes.

However, what Cow Town, USA lacks in small-town charm, it more than makes up for in big-town appeal. When looking for activities, Fort Worth has you covered. Just a short drive from Amon G. Carter Stadium is one of the premiere zoos in the country in the Fort Worth Zoo. Founded in 1909, the zoo is home to over 7,000 unique species, and is a great way for families to spend time either before or after Horned Frogs games.

If you’re looking for something a little more grown up, then Fort Worth has you covered there, as well. The world famous Billy Bob’s Texas is something that could only truly exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dubbed the world’s largest honky tonk, it is famous for its live music and its indoor bullriding contests.

For dining options, you are pretty limited in the immediate area around the stadium. As mentioned it lies in a

residential neighborhood and there are few restaurants nearby. However, not too far from the area there are plentiful options. Among these is Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, which is an upscale farm-to-table restaurant and offers up such fare as elk tacos, bison tenderloin, and crispy quail legs. Another popular option is Meso Maya Comida y Copas, a restaurant that pays homage to Mexican and Mayan food and features such dishes as cochinita pibil, short rib rellenos, and ceviche.

When it comes to overnight accommodations, if you’re not choosing to utilize one of the vacation rental services, there are hotels not too far Amon G. Carter Stadium. One option is the Hyatt Place Fort Worth/TCU; while not within walking distance, it is the closest hotel option to the stadium. The next closest is the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth University Drive, which is also close to the Fort Worth Zoo.

Fans 4

While Amon G. Carter Stadium is not one of the larger facilities in the Big 12, it does still pack itself to the gills with devoted Horned Frog fans. While the official capacity of the Carter is 46,000, the largest crowd ever was over 50,000 for a game against the Utah Utes in 2009.

Under the reign of Head Coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs have become a perennial power in the Big 12 Conference (TCU has even built a statue in his honor on campus) and the fans have responded by regularly filling Amon G. Carter Stadium to capacity week and week out each Fall. As mentioned, the stands are awash in a sea of purple with the Go Frogs hand signs up throughout the game. The student section is as raucous as any I’ve experienced in my travels to date.

Access 4

In terms of Access, there are few faults that can be found with Amon G. Carter Stadium. As mentioned, Fort Worth is a major metropolitan city and as such has all the transportation conveniences of such a city. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in all of North America. There are tons of flights in and out of DFW, so if you go that route, you won’t have an issue flying in from anywhere in the continental USA.

Once you touch down in the Metroplex, the Trinity Metro TEX Rail, Trinity Metro bus line, and TRE light rail are all great public transportation options that will get you to and from Dallas and Fort Worth. If you’re driving, Fort Worth is a 30-minute drive west from Dallas on Interstate 30 or four-hour drive north on Interstate 35/35W from San Antonio.

There are eight official parking lots available at Amon G. Carter Stadium, but those are by permit only. However, there are also three paid parking lots and two free parking lots, but those tend to fill up fast – especially the free lots at the Doxology Bible Church and the Travis Avenue Baptist Church (expect to do some walking if you get in either of these). The paid parking lots do have shuttle services to and from the stadium. If all else fails, many of the houses in the neighborhoods around Among G. Carter “rent out” their driveways on game days and you can expect to pay anywhere between $40-$60 to park at one of those.

Return on Investment 3

Single-game tickets for TCU Horned Frogs games range anywhere from $45-$200 depending on the game and the seat, which is not as high as some of the larger programs in the Big 12. Considering the caliber of opponents that the Horned Frogs face, this could be a pretty good bargain depending on the game.

Concessions are on the average side in terms of cost, while parking does tend to run a little on the high side unless you can get into one of the free parking lots. All things considered, you do get what you pay for; this is college football at the highest levels, played by a storied program in a premiere conference against top notch opponents in a beautiful stadium.

Extras 5

This is an area where college football truly sets itself apart from a lot of other sports; there is a lot of pageantry and circumstance that go along with the sport’s long history and the outstanding on-field action.

TCU has all the great accoutrements that make college football special. These include the aforementioned TCU Horned Frog Marching Band, which can be found performing the school song before and after games, shows at halftimes, and blaring out songs in the stands all throughout TCU games. There are also the TCU Cheerleaders, TCU Showgirls (aka the dance team), and their beloved mascot, SuperFrog.

Lastly, make sure to spot the infamous Frog Horn, a gift of the Burlington Northern Railroad; the horn – decked out in purple, naturally – blasts out and blows smoke all game long. It’s truly something one-of-a-kind and has to be seen to be believed.

Final Thoughts

I had been personally looking to cross Amon G. Carter Stadium off my sports bucket list for a long time and I was glad to be finally be able to do so. It is really a beautiful stadium; I’m a sucker for the old school brick and column design the way they used to build them back in the day. If you too are a fan of college football, you definitely need to make a pilgrimage to Fort Worth to take in a Horned Frogs game at the Carter; you won’t regret it.

Follow Eric Moreno’s Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.

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