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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

FAU Stadium - Boca Raton Bowl



Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

FAU Stadium 777 Glades Rd Boca Raton, FL 33431



Year Opened: 2011

Capacity: 29,419


10 Years of Boca Raton Bliss

In a state where numerous bowl games take center stage, one could be forgiven for overlooking the Boca Raton Bowl. It isn’t held in a giant NFL stadium, but instead in a small market on-campus one. One of many games played in Florida’s temperate winter climate every year, this game continues to move on with better and better matchups. For the teams who get this bowl berth, the warmth and proximity to beaches are a welcome sight. For fans traveling to this game, its affordability is nearly unmatched. And with a newer stadium and solid choices for fans for food and beverage, you get a great option to catch some bowl season action.

 

Food & Beverage   4

The food options at the Boca Raton Bowl are actually quite impressive, and the prices are not that high compared to most major sporting events. Burgers ($8-$9), soda ($5), and fries ($8-$10) will cost less than at most stadiums you go to.


What sets the Boca Raton Bowl apart is the wonderful bar that is on the main concourse that makes up the Delray Hyundai Deck. This full-service bar features TV screens, a nice aesthetic, and other smaller food vendors next to it that make it easy to grab a beer ($7-$9), an arepa ($10-$12), and some fries, all in one area. Another plus is the convenience of the concession locations on the lower levels – you never have to walk too far to find somewhere to grab food, which can be an issue at other locations.


The other side of FAU Stadium, opposite the party deck, features a full-service Subway location, complete with restaurant-style seating inside an air-conditioned storefront ($8-$13 for subs). There is also the Chick-fil-A stand on the main concourse of the sun deck, featuring chicken sandwiches ($9), chocolate chip cookies ($4), and waffle chips ($4).

 

Atmosphere   4

Yes, a college bowl game already comes with a base level of excitement – it is a bowl game, after all. However, when the two teams playing are from non-power 5 conferences, it’s a little hard to get the energy rolling. Most of the teams in these conferences are smaller programs in smaller cities, and therefore have a smaller fan base that is unwilling to travel. In fact, in the Boca Raton Bowl’s first few years of existence, despite having a sellout the first year and a near-sellout the second, the actual butts-in-seats count is below that, leaving large open areas in FAU Stadium that look bad on television; this lack of fans means a much lower noise level.



That doesn’t take away from the beauty of the stadium, however. The Atlantic Ocean is visible from the upper levels and suite boxes on the west side of the stadium. The warm ocean breeze is also there to greet fans all game long, and swaying palm trees make for one great backdrop in the southern end zone.

 

Neighborhood   4

Boca Raton is a beautiful part of Palm Beach County. In addition, FAU’s campus is clean, South Florida-esque in appearance, and overall visually appealing. Also, not far from the campus is a beautiful strip mall that plays host to PF Chang’s, J. Alexander’s, Shake Shack, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and more.


Equidistant to the east of campus is the Atlantic Ocean. There, you can find beautiful beaches, as well as the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, where visitors can get a look at some of coastal Florida’s natural habitats and inhabitants, thanks to boardwalks through the mangroves and natural butterfly gardens. Near the beach hotels are easy to find – the official hotel of the most recent game was Wyndham Boca Raton, just on the other side of I-95 from Florida Atlantic University’s campus. Another close place to stay is Renaissance Boca Raton right next door.


What Boca Raton lacks in nightlife more commonly found in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the area more than makes up for in relaxation. In addition, Palm Beach International Airport isn’t far from Boca Raton, with airports in Fort Lauderdale and Miami less than an hour away as well.

 

Fans   3

The fans of the teams who play in the Boca Raton Bowl are usually sparse and leave open areas in the seating. However, this is college football, and the passion of the fans is palpable.



Indeed, the Boca Raton Bowl has previously featured non-power 5 teams, but that is starting to change, and the people who come to the game are very loyal and leave nothing to chance as to who they are there supporting.


Access   5

Getting to FAU Stadium is easy to do – unlike several sports teams and colleges where the campus stadiums are miles away from the highway exits, the home of the Boca Raton Bowl is quite literally bordered by I-95 in Boca Raton. Also, just a few miles west is the Florida Turnpike.


Once off the exit from I-95, the FAU campus is immediately visible. Parking is quite plentiful, and even if you get stuck in a lot or garage that is a little further from FAU Stadium, the walk is not very far and is through a beautiful campus. Parking on site is $20 per car.


Once at the stadium entry is simple, as each ticket has a dedicated entry gate to limit exposure to large crowds as a COVID-19 precaution. Additionally, temperature screenings and checkpoints feature social distancing markers and signage that is clear and easy to see. Once inside signage is also well placed, showing fans where to go for seats.

 

Return on Investment   4

As the game is one of the early bowl games and not as big of a spectacle, tickets are less expensive than usual, so it won’t break the bank to go see a college bowl game. End zone tickets cost $32, while sideline seats go for $57; suite and club seats go from $450 to $600.


If you are a fan or alumni of one of the participating schools, there are various fan zones and alumni parties that take place on game day, giving you multiple options for celebrating with fellow die-hards, thanks to special ticket packages. In addition, if you want a family fun atmosphere the Boca Raton Bowl is perfect. Not too long of a drive to be within manageable driving distance from both South Florida and the Treasure Coast, the easy-going vibe at the game makes it perfect to bring the little ones too.


Extras   4

The fan zones outside are chock-full of freebies – from giveaways to concerts, fans can get tons of swag from the various booths outside FAU Stadium. Another bonus is the addition of charging stations; FAU Stadium recently added mobile charging stations so you can recharge your phone or tablet at the game, making it very convenient to get a power boost for your device. And after you get that boost, take a photo and post it to Instagram, and it may show up on the big screen – the Boca Raton Bowl showcases fan photos throughout the game on FAU Stadium’s Jumbotron, giving you the chance to be famous for about 10 seconds.



Fans can also grab a photo next to the statue of Howard Schnellenberger just inside one of the main entrances; this is a popular photo spot for fans of the famous coach, or just sports fans in general.

 

Final Thoughts

If you are willing to drive the distance to Boca Raton, then you are in for an easy-going treat. No, the crowd may not have FAU Stadium bursting at the seams, and no, it may not be the biggest roar you’ve ever heard when one of the teams scores, as you sit in an open section of the stadium. But you will not often find a college bowl game with affordable food, tickets, and easy access that won’t stress you out.

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