Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Finley Stadium Davenport Field 1826 Carter St Chattanooga, TN 37408
Year Opened: 1997
The Killer Mockingbirds
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a long history of playing football, as they have been fielding a team since 1904. The current version of the team is known as the Mocs, and they play at the FCS level of NCAA football. The Mocs play in the Southern Conference, where they have won seven league titles over the years. They also have gone on to play in the FCS playoffs in 1984, 2014,2015 and 2016. Their main rivals are the nearby East Tennessee Pirates and the Mercer Bears.
Finley Stadium has served as the home field for the Mocs since 1997. It seats more than 20,000 fans, which includes 1,600 chairback seats and 32 luxury suites. Recent improvements to the stadium have included a new sports turf field, the installation of a new scoreboard/videoboard with a LED screen and upgraded food concessions. The stadium is not physically on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus but is within walking distance of the school.
Finley Stadium has an adjoining facility in the First Tennessee Pavilion. The pavilion is an open sided, metal roofed structure that plays a key role on gamedays. It offers a sheltered facility that hosts the school’s tailgating activities and Scrappy’s Kids Zone, which offers games, inflatables, and other entertainment for the youngsters The building also hosts the pregame Mocs Walk by the team on their way into the stadium. A Spirit Walk featuring the Marching Mocs band, the Mocs cheerleading squad, the Ladies of Gold majorettes and the Sugar Mocs dance team starts in the building 45 minutes before kickoff. The UT-C students have a separate tailgate area known as the Moc Block. It features live music and competitions between the various Greek organizations on campus.
Chattanooga Mocs Spirit Walk, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Food & Beverage 4
The food and beverage concessions at Finley Stadium are a combination of permanent outlets and food trucks. If you enter the stadium through the stadium’s North gate you will encounter Food Truck Alley. There are a revolving set of trucks that participate in the home games, and the Mocs gameday staff will try to offer a wide variety of food categories at games. The food trucks at the game we attended sold pizzas, funnel cakes and sno cones.
If you enter through the South gate into the stadium, you will encounter a mix of permanently fixed stands along with some food carts featuring a single item. The main concessions stands are known as Finley Eats. They carry a wide variety of stadium standards including hamburgers ($8), hot dogs ($7), nachos ($6), personal pan pizzas ($8), candy ($3), chips ($2), cotton candy ($3) and popcorn ($3). They sell Coca-Cola brand beverages including water ($3), sodas ($4) and Powerade ($4). There is a secondary stand known as Windy City Eatz. It offers Chicago Style hot dogs ($12), Chicago Deep Dish Pizza ($12), Italian Beef sandwiches ($14), chicken tenders ($14), Impossible Burgers ($14) and grilled chicken salads ($14).
The Get Yer Beer Here stand sells only adult beverages. Its beer offerings include Bud Light, Blue Moon, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Michelob Lite, Sweetwater 420, Terrapin IPA and Wise Acre Tiny Bomb. All beers are $8. Wines are $13 and they include Crafters Union Brut Rose and Crafters Union Pinot Grigio. Canned Cocktails cost $9. They include the High Noon Vodka Sodas, Tanqueray Gin and Tonic, Jack Daniels Whiskey and Cola and Cazadores Margarita.
Finley Stadium offers a terrific gameday experience. You can enjoy the tailgating at the First Tennessee Pavilion, with food, drinks, and constant entertainment for hours prior to the kickoff. The Spirit Parade into the stadium 45 minutes prior to the kickoff gets you fired up before the game.
Once inside you will be able to enjoy the game, as the sightlines of the field are great. At just over 20,000 seats, Finley Stadium provides you with an intimate feeling to watch the game in. You will want to visit the Wall of Champions, where all of the Mocs Championships over the years are detailed. The Marching Mocs will fill in any breaks in the game with music and the scoreboard does a great job of providing you with game stats and scores from throughout the country. The on the field action should be very entertaining, as Southern Conference teams are geographically close together, and you can expect to see lots of visiting team fans at any conference games.
Your gameday experience does not end after the final whistle. You have easy access to the many fine restaurants and other attractions Chattanooga has to offer, as the downtown area around the stadium is very compact.
The Greater Chattanooga area has become a moderately priced tourist mecca over the last 20 years. Geographically, it is located halfway between Atlanta and Nashville, with excellent access via I-75 and I-24.
Finley Stadium is in Downtown Chattanooga, where most of the main tourist attractions, hotels and restaurants are located. You will find Chattanooga to be a very walkable city, which allows you to park at one location for the day, as you can either walk to the major attractions or take the free electric shuttle bus that circulates the area on Broad and Streets.
One of the main attractions in the downtown area is the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It includes a hotel, the famed Choo Choo railroad engine, gardens, shops, and restaurants. It is located just a few blocks from Finley Stadium. The Chattanooga riverfront also offers multiple attractions. This includes the Tennessee Aquarium, the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge that crosses the Tennessee River, and the Bluff View Art District. For a complete list of Chattanooga attractions, lodging options and restaurants, go to www.chattanoogafun.com .
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has a very strong fanbase, as many of the school’s graduates choose to stay in the Chattanooga area after they complete their studies. Many of the school’s leaders have gone on to become civic leaders for the city, and this played an integral part in the funding of the construction of both Finley Stadium and the First Tennessee Pavilion.
The student section at Finley Stadium is known as the NoogaNation. They sit next to the school band, the Marching Mocs, along the south side of Finley Stadium and create a great deal of noise and encouragement to the team throughout the home games.
UTC also has a Fan Council that suggests ways that the fan experience can be improved at Finley Stadium. The Council consists of student leaders, faculty, alumni of the school and parents of students at the school.
Getting to Finley Stadium on gamedays is easy, due to its proximity to I-75, I-24, I-59, and Highway 27 North. It is less than a two-hour drive from Atlanta, Nashville or Birmingham.
Parking lots serving the stadium open six hours prior to the kickoff. There are four lots that specifically serve the stadium. Go to www.finleystadium.com for a map of where these lots are located. Parking runs $10. You can also utilize lots elsewhere in the downtown area or simply walk over from your hotel as downtown Chattanooga is very compact and walkable.
Gates at Finley Stadium open 90 minutes prior to the kickoff. The adjacent First Tennessee Pavilion opens several hours before that, and it will have ongoing fan activities underway throughout the day.
Return on Investment 3
When you factor in coming to a Chattanooga Mocs game, think about an entire weekend, not just the game itself. Chattanooga has so much to offer for visitors, and it would be a shame to miss it by rushing in and out of town. Hotels in the downtown area offer rooms right at the $100 a night level and parking around the city usually will cost you are $10 a day. You can stroll around the Chattanooga Choo Choo without paying an admissions fee. The riverfront area offers great views of the Tennessee River, and you can stroll along the 20-mile-long paved Riverwalk.
OK, back to game specific expenses. Gameday parking is $10, Tickets run from $15 to $35 (tickets are $2 more if purchased on gamedays). If you stick to the stadium standards for food, you can expect to pay $12-$15 per person. There will be several free items distributed by vendors and sponsors at the pregame tailgates in the First Tennessee Pavilion.
Finley Stadium hosted the NCAA FCS National Championship Game from 1997-2009.
The stadium is also used by the Chattanooga FC soccer team, as the start/finish line for the annual Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon and as the main concert venue for the Chattanooga area. Finley Stadium and the adjoining First Tennessee Pavilion together host more than two hundred events a year.
The Mocs moniker is short for Mockingbird. A mockingbird is fierce in defending its territory, as they protect their home with a combination of courage, skill, and determination. It is also the State Bird for the state of Tennessee. The mascot for UTC is a mockingbird named Scrappy. Scrappy was the last name for one of the most successful football coaches in the school’s history. The school also uses railroad-oriented icons on its marketing platforms in recognition of the importance of railroads in the early development of the city of Chattanooga. A railroad horn goes off after each Mocs score.
Finley Stadium has played a major role in the revitalization of the Southside area of downtown Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Lookouts minor league baseball team hopes to build a new stadium on the Southside in the near future.
The school welcomes their freshman class each year with the Mocs Flock Freshman Run. Members of the incoming Freshman class are allowed to run onto the field just prior to the Mocs team’s entry at the first home game of the season. This is a treasured tradition at the school.
Finley Stadium has been one of our highest rated FCS level venues for many years. It is no wonder that our most recent visit has only solidified our rating. The gameday experience offers not only the in the stadium experience, but also the terrific pregame experience at the adjoining First Tennessee Pavilion. Take our advice, make your visit to a Chattanooga Mocs game into a full weekend, as Chattanooga has so much to offer at very reasonable prices. You will not be sorry!