Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Johnny ‘Red’ Floyd Stadium 1500 Greenland Drive Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Year Opened: 1933
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders – Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium
The Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) first took to the gridiron way back in 1911. Current Head Coach Rick Stockstill is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in the FBS, taking the top spot in Murfreesboro in 2006. In that time the Blue Raiders won their most recent of their 13 conference championships, and have made 9 bowl game appearances.
Since 1934 they have called the stalwart Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium their home. Named for two-time former head football (and one-time former head basketball) coach Johnny “Red” Floyd, the stadium is located right on the lush campus of Middle Tennessee State University. It has seen several renovations over the years, with the most recent taking place in 2019 with the addition of the Blue Raider Beer Garden in the South End Zone.
The Blue Raiders have remained competitive since moving to Conference USA. Floyd Stadium definitely shows its age, but is still a respected stop among its conference peers – read to learn my thoughts.
Food & Beverage 3
When it comes to concessions, for the most part it’s a straightforward affair at Floyd Stadium. Hot dogs, popcorn, soft pretzels, candy, fountain drinks, and bottled water are the standard offerings. All of these can be had for just $4, which is not too shabby. There are several kiosks featuring these offerings on both the home and visitor sides of the stadium.
This is fine, but what keeps the score from being lower are the aforementioned Blue Raider Beer Garden, which serves unique craft beers from Steel Barrel Brewery (including a blue beer), and the Zaxby’s stands, which are also on both the home and visitor sides of the stadium.
Ubiquitous in the south, Zaxby’s is known for its fried chicken, and the stands at Floyd Stadium offer box meals featuring either four of their chicken strips or one of their chicken sandwiches, chips, a cookie, a drink, and one of their signature dipping sauces for $12. If you want something beyond a hot dog during the game, this is your only option.
As mentioned (and honestly this will be a running theme), Floyd Stadium is an older facility. It’s a classical design with lots of open areas and lots of bleacher seating in most areas. I’ve already mentioned the Beer Garden, which is really a high point for the stadium. Fans in this section can not only eat and drink at field level, but they are right on top off the visiting team’s tunnel. Things can get pretty lively here, as you might imagine.
In the north end of the stadium is the Family Fun Zone, a carnival-like area with face-painting, bounce houses, and games. It’s a great area for the whole family, but especially for younger fans. This is often an area that gets neglected in the college arena, so it’s nice to see MTSU taking this into consideration.
Whenever MTSU scores, be it touchdown, field goal, or even extra point, the stadium lights dim off and on, which is a pretty neat effect. Another atmospheric point of interest is how MTSU has added signage to celebrate their conference championships to the exterior of the stadium, and signage for the bowl appearances inside.
They also have the numbers of their retired players (I was fortunate to be there for the retirement ceremony of Kevin Byard’s number) on the exterior of the press box. These are just added reminders of how long and sustained the program’s success has been.
Murfreesboro is about a 40-minute drive south/southeast of Nashville. While a fairly large town, with a population over 150,000, Murfreesboro is still a college town with MTSU and the Blue Raiders at its core. If you’re heading in for a game at Floyd Stadium and are looking to do some activities in town (rather than heading into Music City), there are sites to see in Murfreesboro.
For history buffs this area of the state has plenty to offer you. The area was a major theater during the Civil War and there are important sites across the region, including Stones River National Battlefield. Fought on the last day of 1862, it was one of the fiercest battles of the entire war and changed the complexion of the clash between the Union and the Confederacy.
Families traveling in for the game will want to make time to stop by and visit the Earth Experience – Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History. This is the first natural history museum in middle Tennessee, and it has some real treasures amongst its collections. Dinosaurs, rocks, gems, and other fossils collected from across the state are all on display for visitors.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat before or after Blue Raiders games at Floyd Stadium, you really can’t go wrong with Tennessee barbecue; Slick Pig BBQ is one of the best restaurants in Murfreesboro. With specialties including barbecue pork, chopped chicken, and hickory smoked wings, you won’t go away hungry. One other spot I’d like to point out, for those that enjoy a good craft beer, is Mayday Brewery. Specializing in craft beer and craft pizza, Mayday Brewery is all about having a good time, enjoying a good bite and good beer, and making new friends.
Middle Tennessee State has averaged just a hair under 16,000 fans per game at Floyd Stadium in recent years. This ranks them near the bottom of Conference USA, which is a shame considering how successful the program has been. I was honestly looking forward to seeing what the crowd had in store for my visit. With MTSU coming off a monumental win and taking on a big conference opponent, on paper this promised to be a big crowd. Alas, it was not, and I could not help but be a bit disappointed.
The student section was fairly full and the Beer Garden was packed, but you could not help but notice how empty most of the rest of the stadium was. To be fair the game I attended was a Friday night game and not a traditional Saturday tilt, so that may have skewed attendance some.
Getting to Murfreesboro and Floyd Stadium, unless you’re a resident of the state, is not super easy. As mentioned it is about a 40-minute drive from Nashville. That’s the good part; Nashville International Airport is one of the busiest in the country, so you won’t have a problem flying in from wherever you happen to reside.
The stadium is clearly visible once you get near the MTSU campus (which is clearly marked off MTSU Blvd), and there is ample parking in the lots surrounding the stadium. The city does have a public transportation option, but it stops running at 5pm on Fridays, so if you don’t want to drive a rideshare is your only option.
Return on Investment 3
Single-game tickets for MTSU games at Floyd Stadium can be had for as little as $8 per person (depending on the game, of course). This is an incredible bargain for an FBS team that has a really strong track record of success.
When it comes to parking, as just mentioned above there are ample spots in lots surrounding the stadium. Best of all, the vast majority of these lots are free to the public. If you combine this with the low-cost for the concessions (I didn’t even mind springing the extra for the Zaxby’s), you’re getting a fantastic bargain at Floyd Stadium.
On gamedays MTSU brings out all of the regular accoutrements of college football to enhance the experience for their fans. It starts with MTSU’s Band of Blue, who lead the team out at the start of the game, play endlessly throughout, and entertain at halftime.
The Blue Raider Cheerleaders and Dance Team are always on hand to interact with the fans and perform during breaks in the action. There is also the team’s mascot, the winged, blue horse Lightning. Always around for photo ops, Lightning is a fan favorite, especially among young MTSU fans. These are all in addition to the previously discussed Family Fun Zone and Blue Raider Beer Garden, which are also great additions for fans to check out.
While I was admittedly disappointed by the turnout, I was happy overall with my visit to Murfreesboro, MTSU, and Floyd Stadium. This is a beautiful part of the country and a great, old-school venue, the likes of which I’m personally a fan of.
I would not say that anyone needs to add this venue to their bucket list, by any means. However, if you’re a fan of college football, you can’t beat the price you pay to attend Blue Raiders games at Floyd Stadium.