Arute Field – Central Connecticut Blue Devils
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
Arute Field 1615 Stanley St New Britain, CT 06050
Year Opened: 2000
Devil of a Time at Arute Field
Central Connecticut State University is a school with just under 12,000 students located in New Britain, CT, just outside of Hartford. CCSU is Connecticut’s oldest publicly funded university, having been founded in 1849.
Jack Arute Sr. was the owner of one of Connecticut’s largest construction firms in the 1960’s. He was also an active member of the New Britain community, and through his dealings with the administration at Central Connecticut State University, became one of the school’s biggest boosters. Upset that the state government would not approve funding for a new football stadium, Arute took matters into his own hands, literally, using his own funds and manpower to build the original Arute Field in the 1950’s. The present incarnation of Arute Field is actually the third stadium to bear his name. All three versions have been located on campus.
Central Connecticut fielded their first football team in 1935. Since 1993 the team has competed in the FCS subdivision, and as a member of the Northeast Conference since 1996. The team has won five conference championships since joining the NEC. The Blue Devils have qualified for the NCAA tournament once, losing in the first round in 2017. One Central Connecticut alumnus, Joe Costello, has played in the National Football League.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one concession stand on the outer concourse of Arute Field. It offers a basic menu, with hot dogs, burgers and nachos the primary menu items. A variety of snacks are also available, including pretzels, chips and assorted candy.
Pepsi products are sold at Arute Field. On chilly fall days, coffee, tea and hot chocolate are popular items. Alcoholic beverages are not offered at this on-campus facility.
During Stadium Journey’s most recent visit, longtime concessionaire Ted’s Restaurant was not operating their food truck in its familiar spot in the north end zone. If they are there during your visit, their unique take on the cheeseburger, which is steamed, not broiled or grilled, is a must-try.
Visitors to Arute Field will certainly notice the absence of longtime public address announcer Joe Arnone, who retired at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Arnone served as the voice of Central Connecticut football and basketball for 56 years.
All the aspects that are familiar to college football fans are present at Central Connecticut, just on a smaller scale than at the bigger schools. Fans tailgate in the parking lot prior to the game, and the marching band, cheerleading squad and dance team perform throughout the game. The large video scoreboard on the northeast corner of the field is put to good use with replays throughout the game and Kaiser, the Blue Devil mascot, roams the grounds interacting with fans.
Fans in this part of the country are decidedly laid-back and reserved in how they enjoy a game. While Blue Devils fans wouldn’t be described as rowdy, they are more vocal and enthusiastic than at most FCS schools in the northeast.
Central Connecticut State University is located in a residential neighborhood on the northeastern edge of New Britain, a suburban city of 73,000 people located 12 miles from Hartford, Connecticut. Arute Field is located on the eastern edge of campus, directly off Route 9. All Central Connecticut’s athletic facilities, including the CCSU Baseball Field and the William H. Detrick Gymnasium are located nearby.
There are not many choices for dining or lodging in the immediate vicinity of Arute Field, but there is great diversity within a few miles of campus. Fans wanting a unique experience before or after a CCSU game should check out the East Side Restaurant, a German-themed pub complete with staff in traditional Bavarian gear and all the bratwurst you could possibly desire.
For a twist on a traditional American dish, visit Ted’s Restaurant in nearby Meriden. Their method of cooking hamburgers in steam trays is unique to central Connecticut, and Ted’s has been featured on several travel shows such as Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Lodging options are plentiful in nearby Farmington. Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, is a short fifteen-minute drive from Central Connecticut’s campus, and offers additional dining, lodging and entertainment options.
Central Connecticut averages around 3,500 fans per game, which is significantly above the Northeast Conference average. Fans at Arute Field are enthusiastic and vocal about the action going on down on the field.
The student section is located on the far side of Arute Field, and while a good number of students turn out for Blue Devils games, they spread out throughout the stadium, and don’t add a ton of energy to the festivities. They tend to blend in with the rest of the fans here. With many of Central Connecticut’s opponents located nearby, a good turnout from visiting fans can be expected.
New Britain is located about a 15-minute drive from Hartford. Route 9 passes directly by the campus, connecting with Interstates 84 and 91 a few miles away. With its suburban location, the great majority of fans drive to Central Connecticut.
There is a parking lot directly adjacent to Arute Field, which is large enough for most game day crowds. Parking is free, with additional parking available throughout campus. Once inside Arute Field, all areas of the stadium are easily accessible.
There is an open concourse located on the back side of the press box building, where the concessions and bathrooms are located. Restrooms are spacious and clean, and lines move quickly, even at halftime. Wide vomitories empty fans into the seating area, and paved walkways encircle the field to take fans to the visitors’ side of the stadium. Standing room is available beyond both end zones.
Arute Field consists of two sets of grandstands. The first several rows on the home side grandstand, which is raised about six feet above the playing field, are made up of metal bleachers without backs. These seats are sold as general admission seating. Fans sitting in the first few rows should be aware that there is a wide walkway in front of the seating area, meaning that passing traffic (and cheerleaders) may disrupt your view at times. The top few rows on this side consist of metal bleacher seating with seat backs and arm rests which are sold as reserved seating. Handicapped seating is located at the top of every section. Stands on the visiting side consist of metal bleachers. Fans sitting here will be happy to learn that there are rest room facilities located on both sides of Arute Field.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets to Blue Devils games at Arute Field are an absolute bargain. Reserved chair back seats can be purchased for twelve dollars, with other chair back seats sold for ten dollars. General admission bleacher seating costs eight dollars. Seniors and kids are admitted for just five dollars.
Parking is free in the lot adjacent to Arute Field. Concessions are also inexpensive, with the $4.25 hamburger the most expensive item on the menu. You can easily go to a Blue Devils game with a twenty-dollar bill and come home with something still in your pocket.
An extra point is awarded for Central Connecticut’s efforts to integrate into the local community. Several local organizations have tables set up at Blue Devils games to raise awareness or funding for their causes. For example, at the game Stadium Journey attended recently, the Hartford Cancer Institute was recruiting for their bone marrow registry. One of the CCSU players was recently identified as a match for a young girl, saving her life with his donation. The family was involved in the pregame ceremonies.
While many college football fans don’t consider FCS stadiums for their road trips, the tremendous value and entertainment at these small venues make them worthy destinations for a fall stadium journey. Arute Field is a solid, if simple facility at which to enjoy some good football at family-friendly prices.