Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium 350 N Razorback Rd Fayetteville, AR 72701
Year Opened: 1938
College Football in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on the campus of the University of Arkansas. The stadium is on the west side of campus and has been home to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team for over 75 years. In that timespan the Hogs have played 300 games here and have won more than 65 percent of those contests.
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium originally opened as University Stadium on September 24, 1938, with capacity for 13,500 spectators; the first game played here was against Oklahoma A&M (now known as Oklahoma State University). The stadium moniker was almost immediately changed to Bailey Stadium (after then sitting Arkansas Governor Carl Bailey), but in 1941 received the proper name of Razorback Stadium. Then in 2001, in honor of the late Donald W. Reynolds, the stadium was given its current name, while the playing field was named in honor of former athletic director and winningest head football coach in Arkansas history, Frank Broyles.
During the 2016-17 offseason the Broyles Athletic Center was demolished as part of a $160 million renovation and expansion of the stadium. The expansion added 4,800 seats and new premium seating to the north end zone. This expansion boosted the capacity of the stadium to 76,212 – the actual increase in capacity is fewer than 4,800 seats because some club seating on the east side was eliminated to add additional suites, but the current total capacity is close to the all-time single game attendance record of 76,808, which was set on September 25, 2010 versus the Alabama Crimson Tide. On August 5, 2019 the University of Arkansas installed natural grass as the playing surface.
Food & Beverage 3
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium features a variety of concessions options, with several types of food and an assortment of Coca-Cola products. The main stands offer all your basic fare such as hot dogs, popcorn, and nachos. These food items range from $4 to $12, while beverages range from $5 to $10. There are locations for craft beer ranging from $12-15 depending on your selection.
The rest of the stadium menu is from local or national restaurants ranging from Pizza Hut, Gusano’s Pizza, Slim Chickens, and Yarnell’s Ice Cream, along with my favorite, Wright’s BBQ, whose menu is small – a BBQ pork sandwich from Wright’s is $13, while the brisket sandwich is $16. There are also numerous carts and kiosks throughout the stadium, with Philly cheesesteaks, meatball subs, or Italian sausage. In addition there is a spacious food court near the team’s main apparel store where you can sit and eat. However, although there is certainly enough variety at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, there is no substitute for better deals and better food than eating in the local neighborhood eateries near the venue.
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium’s setting is one of the more picturesque places in the SEC. The stadium’s upper deck view of the vistas and surrounding Boston Mountains on the south side show off the beauty of the Natural State. The festive game day atmosphere begins several hours before kickoff with tailgating around campus. While almost all the tailgating spaces must be rented, there are areas reserved for free tailgating; if interested, you can visit the Arkansas Razorbacks’ game day information website.
Besides tailgating, there is so much to do and see for pregame activities, as Razorback Athletics provides a free pregame atmosphere in the AT&T Zone at the gardens. This includes inflatables for kids, live music, TVs, and food and drink vendors. Also at the AT&T Zone, two hours before kickoff you can witness the team walk and pep rally. In addition, on the north side of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium near the Pit (a colony of white tents) is the Frank Broyles Athletic Center. Inside, fans are welcome to walk through the history of Arkansas football, from the early beginnings through the changing of conferences from Southwest to Southeastern, with numerous artifacts and trophies, especially the ones for the 1964 National Championship. Also, fans can visit the Razorbacks apparel shop for an updated selection of Razorbacks gear.
As game time approaches, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium becomes a sea of red, with the Razorback Marching Band setting the stage by forming a huge ‘A’. This formation becomes a reality when the announcer introduces the marching band; the band then marches the length of the field while playing “Arkansas Fight”. When they finish there is an ‘A’ symbol that stretches from the Razorback locker room all the way to midfield. The band then plays “Arkansas Fight” again while the crowd roars, as the Razorback football team enters the field from the north side of the stadium, through a tunnel attached to the Broyles Athletic Center.
Arkansas Band, Photo by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Above the Athletic Center is a massive scoreboard, the biggest in the SEC and fourth largest in college football – it measures out to a little less than 6,300 square feet. Every time the Hogs score fireworks are launched off the Center’s roof. During the game, the spirit squads and the three Razorback mascots, Big Red, Pork Chop, and Boss Hog, signal the crowd for certain cheers. Throughout the game the fans stand and are very vocal, cheering and of course calling the hogs – ‘Calling the Hogs’ is the ritual where Arkansas fans raise their arms while moving their fingers in unison while unleashing a high-pitched yell of the words “Wooooooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Wooooooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Wooooooooooooo, Pig! Sooie! Razorbacks!” – it is unique and interesting to hear 70K fans in unison calling the hogs.
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is on the west side of the University of Arkansas’ campus in Fayetteville. Fayetteville’s population of around 80K is just slightly more than the capacity of its football stadium, making it the third largest city in Arkansas. The city is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains within the scenic Ozarks, and while the area seems to be safe for walking, the terrain is very hilly, especially throughout the campus.
Fayetteville is a model college town. The University of Arkansas is just a short walk from Dickson Street, the city’s main artery; Dickson Street has a long list of bars, restaurants, and other entertainment options for visitors. There is a long list of places to choose from on Dickson Street such as Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese, Hills Hideaway, Boulders and Brew, or Pickleman’s Gourmet Café. There is plenty of live music as well, so be sure to check out George’s Majestic Lounge or Piano Bar.
If you want to avoid the college bar scene on Dickson Street, then Foghorn’s has two locations around Fayetteville, serving up beer and wings, with its closest location right across the street from the school’s baseball venue, Baum-Walker Stadium. My favorite eatery to visit while in Fayetteville is just up the road called the Catfish Hole – if you are a catfish person, this place will be high on your list.
The lodging around campus can be scarce, as on football game days the city of Fayetteville almost doubles in population. However, there are a few choices around the area; in downtown Fayetteville the Chancellor Hotel is a great choice, or there is a Staybridge Suites near Baum-Walker Stadium. There are also chain hotels, such as Candlewood Suites and Hampton Inn off I-49 at the MLK exit, and if you can’t secure lodging in Fayetteville, then check out historic Fort Smith – Fort Smith is about 45 minutes south of Fayetteville, off I-40.
There are plenty of serious Razorback fans, one of the most recognized being Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, a member of the 1964 National Championship team. Mr. Jones, along with his wife, have put a stamp on the Razorbacks program with the building of the Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Building, along with sponsoring the annual Southwest Classic (a football game featuring the Arkansas Razorbacks versus the Texas A&M Aggies), which is played in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium.
Razorback fans have a common purpose when attending a Razorbacks game, and that is ‘Calling the Hogs’. No matter the size of the crowd, the fans stand for much of the game, and are well engaged in everything from the band to the spirit squads, as well as in the action on the field. Overall, the fans are certainly knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to rooting for their Hogs.
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is nestled in the hills of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The location of Fayetteville itself can make access difficult for visiting fans, as the campus is amid a large collection of hills in the Boston Mountains. Once you arrive in Fayetteville, the parking is just like other major football programs, with close parking only for donors or season ticket holders. However, general parking is available for $20 at the Harmon Avenue Parking Garage located north of Center Street, or you can park for free at Baum-Walker Stadium, which is about a mile from the football field. Parking spaces are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is shuttle service provided to and from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium beginning four hours prior to game time.
Arkansas athletic events enforce the clear bag policy – bags must be clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC, and must not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”, or they can be one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc or similar). Individuals may also carry a small clutch purse, no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”, with or without a handle or strap.
There are plenty of entrances into Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, and going in brings an old time feel, as the entrances are small. However, the stadium concourses are wide enough for an easy transition around the stadium, although the signage can be very confusing for first time fans; once you see a map or have walked around the stadium a little the transition becomes easier.
The best way to reach the upper decks is by using the ramps, as the elevators can have a long and frustrating wait. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium also has seating areas for ADA / handicapped guests to watch the game; if needed check with the ticket office to make sure you can be accommodated.
Easier access to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium can be achieved by getting to Fayetteville early and getting some decent parking, leaving more time to enjoy the pregame atmosphere of Razorback football. However, leaving after the game is a little more time consuming – although the entry and exit routes are well-planned and will get you to your destination, the tight area around the stadium is packed. As a result, some fans just hang out and maybe have a postgame tailgate until the traffic has whittled itself out.
Return on Investment 4
The prices for Razorbacks games range between $30 to $270, which is very reasonable for teams in the SEC. Just plan well in advance because Arkansas uses flex pricing, with tickets to the Alabama game starting at $168 in the upper section for example. There is free parking if you choose to seek it out, and the walking distance from that parking isn’t that much different from the general paid parking. The concessions stand is a little high for items, though, so if you are looking to get the best monetary return on your trip, then eating before or after would be your best option.
Overall, the Return on Investment is above average to excellent, for a wonderful football atmosphere in what some will argue is the best football conference in the country.
The setting is great, with the stadium’s south side upper deck view of the Boston Mountains. The atmosphere is festive during tailgating, and seeing the live mascot Tusk V being paraded around the stadium is unique, with the cheerleaders standing above the cage. Tusk V’s cage sits in the corner of the stadium for fans to see throughout the game.
Besides the above, there is also the tradition of the Razorback players running through the ‘A,’ along with all the years of history of Razorback football throughout the stadium, both of which provide special extras for fans visiting Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The official game programs are also complimentary for all fans.
A trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas anytime is a wonderful adventure, as you travel into one of the most scenic college campus towns in the country – the ‘Natural State’ motto is truly appropriate for the campus nestled in the Boston Mountains.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Fayetteville for any college football fan; the fans are pleasant and the atmosphere unique, but the tradition of ‘Calling the Hogs’ makes the trip a must. WPS-Wooooooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!