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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

E. Claiborne Robins Stadium - Richmond Spiders Lacrosse

Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57

E. Claiborne Robins Stadium 23B Boatwright Dr Richmond, VA 23173

Year Opened: 2010 Capacity: 8,217

A Beautiful Web

E. Clairborne Robins Stadium is located on the campus of Richmond University and is home to the Spiders’ football and lacrosse teams. The stadium seats about 8,000 fans and has a turf field with a running track surrounding it. The stadium was built in 2010 and later renovations expanded the seating and replaced uncomfortable concrete bleachers with metal ones and a few chairback seats.

Stadium Journey visited Robins Stadium for lacrosse during the COVID-19 pandemic when social distancing and masking requirements were in effect. Capacity was officially limited to 1,000 fans, but the Spiders seldom drew more than that before the pandemic. Except for a few differences (which are mentioned below) things are pretty much the same as normal.

Food & Beverage 1

Stadium Journey visited Robins Stadium during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, and to minimize removal of masks, the only concession item available for sale was bottled water, which at least was affordable at $3. There is normally a much more extensive menu for football, which you can find in our football review, and some of these options are probably available for lacrosse under typical circumstances as well.

Atmosphere 2

Walking through the gates in the beautiful brick exterior of Robins Stadium will take you onto a concourse with even more brick architecture. Walking through the portal to the seats, you will find sets of bleachers with backs, one on each sideline. The west sideline (which is more north than west based on compass direction) has a few chairbacks in the center section. Normally seating is general admission, but due to the pandemic, all seats are currently reserved.

Those not affiliated with the university can only sit in the west bleachers, while those who are affiliated with the university (i.e. students, faculty, and staff) can only use the east bleachers. For football, the east bleachers serve as the designated student section, so students may prefer to sit here during lacrosse games in normal times as well, but this would not be required. There is a large video board behind one goal and a small digital scoreboard behind the other.

There is not a lot going on here to keep fans engaged beyond the usual playing of music. Part of this may be due to the pandemic, but it also feels like the lacrosse team plays second fiddle to the football program. Although there are a lot of signs, banners, and posters honoring the feats of the football team, you wouldn’t even know the lacrosse team plays here if you weren’t actually taking in a lacrosse game. For a normal game, the Spider Walk on one end of the stadium would be open featuring even more tributes to the football team, but this just further enforces the notion that this is a football stadium, not a lacrosse one. In any event, the Spider Walk is closed due to the pandemic so fans cannot access it at the moment.

Neighborhood 3

Richmond’s campus is about 20-30 minutes from downtown Richmond, right on the edge of the city limits. In fact, as fans of rival school VCU will love to point out, only about half of the University of Richmond campus is actually in the City of Richmond. The other half is in neighboring Henrico County.

If you head down Three Chopt Road, there are a few restaurants and other places available, but your best bet is to head about three miles east on Route 147 to the Carytown neighborhood which has far more options available. We recommend the Galaxy Diner and Carytown Burgers and Fries as your best bets.

Fans 3

Although capacity is limited to 1,000 fans at the moment, Richmond rarely drew more than that anyway, so the pandemic has not really impacted this at all. The fans who do show up are loud, but unfortunately, they are few in number. Often many of the fans will actually be there to cheer for the other team. This effect is more pronounced when they are playing a nearby opponent like Virginia, but when we went, the opponent was from halfway across the country, and about half the fans were still cheering for them. It would be nice if the Spiders could grow their own fan base, but they don’t seem to put the same effort into attracting fans for lacrosse that they do for football.

Access 4

The Richmond campus is located a couple of miles off I-64, the Downtown Expressway, or the Powhite Parkway, depending on where you are coming from. The first route is toll-free but the second two have small tolls. Once you arrive on campus, parking is free in any of the numerous lots surrounding Robins Stadium. Fans should have no trouble finding a spot and shouldn’t have to walk far to get in. The concourse and restrooms have plenty of capacity to accommodate all the fans, as they were designed for much larger football crowds. The fact that you have to drive a bit off the highway to get here, and possibly pay a toll, costs Robins Stadium the top score, but it is still easy to access the stadium and get around.

Return on Investment 4

Admission to lacrosse games at Robins Stadium is free unless the Spiders are playing a big-name opponent like Virginia or Duke, in which case tickets will be around $10 each. If visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic, note that tickets must be obtained in advance through the Spiders’ website or by calling the ticket office. Otherwise, just show up and walk in if they are not charging admission. There is a $1 delivery fee for the otherwise “free” tickets, which is the same charge regardless of the number of tickets you are reserving. This is disappointing but given the unusual circumstances, can’t really be held against the Spiders. Still, there isn’t enough here to earn the top score.

Extras 1

There are normally free game day programs available, although they are not being offered during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize touch surfaces. Fans can still download them onto their smartphones.

Other than that, there are no real extras for the lacrosse team. There are plenty of unique sights to see here honoring Spider’s football, but for a lacrosse game, all that does is make the team feel like second-class citizens in their own stadium.

Final Thoughts

Although Stadium Journey recently ranked Robins Stadium the #1 FCS football venue in the country, the experience at a lacrosse game here sadly doesn’t come close. The Spiders have a gem of a stadium, and it is a shame that they are not putting it to good use for lacrosse. If the athletic department put the same effort into lacrosse games here that they put into football games, this could be a great experience, but they don’t, and it shows in the result.

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