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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Oakes

Founders Park - South Carolina Gamecocks

Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57

Founders Park

431 Williams St

Columbia, SC 29201

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 8,242

Sandstorm In Summer

Founders Park (formerly known as Carolina Stadium) opened in 2009 at a price of $35 million as South Carolina beat Duquesne 13-0 in front of 8,153 fans. Country music singer Darius Rucker sang the national anthem. Founders has a seated capacity of 6,600 and a total capacity of 8,242 including grassy berm areas.

Food & Beverage 5

Founder’s Park offers a wide range of concession offerings all around the ballpark. These range from grilled chicken to hotdogs, nachos, corn dogs, popcorn, peanuts, soft pretzels, sunflower seeds, and cracker jacks.

There are two sizes of Coca-Cola fountain products, with the larger size being a souvenir cup. Dasani bottled water is also offered. Both premium and domestic beer are also offered.

There are also several independent stands and tents around the ballpark that offer hamburgers, sausage dogs, cheese steaks, and ice cream. You may also see a couple of food trucks parked in the outfield depending on which game you attend.

Atmosphere 5

Upon approaching Founder’s Park, you realize immediately that you are in a “big-time” SEC atmosphere. The outfield exterior gates are donned with the famous South Carolina palm trees. Just beyond the outfield entrance, you will national championship trophies from the 2010 and 2011 seasons when the Gamecocks won the College World Series in Omaha. Seating at Founder’s Park runs from foul pole to foul pole.

All seats are chairback and are angled toward home plate for better sightlines. There is a small tiered picnic area around the left field foul pole that offers a great view of the field. Around the right field foul pole is a large grassy berm, which extends into the outfield. Beyond the left field wall is a large set of bleachers. While these are in the outfield, they are bench-back and offer a great view of the ballpark. However, you will be sitting in the direct sun during day games.

A large upper level with suites and a press box sits above the concourse and can be a great source of shade on hot South Carolina days. A large video board rises above left field. There is also a ribbon scoreboard on the façade of the suite overhang for folks sitting in the outfield.

Founder’s Park has a large 360-degree concourse with many areas to stand, socialize, and watch the game. When you are walking the concourse, be sure to check out the live chicken – Gamecock mascot.

Neighborhood 4

Founder’s Park sits on the banks of the Congaree River in South Carolina’s capital city. While there are few dining or lodging within (reasonable) walking distance, there are several choices about a mile or so away within the vicinity of Columbia Convention Center/ Colonial Life Arena and South Carolina State House. There is a Hampton Inn and Hyatt in this area, as well as several restaurants and breweries including Jimmy John’s, Longhorn, Marks Burgers and Shakes, Palmetto Pig BBQ, and Columbia Craft Brewing Company just to name a few.

If you are looking for other sporting events while in town, South Carolina baseball season overlaps with Gamecock softball and part of the basketball season as well. The Columbia Fireflies single A team also plays across town at Segra Park. The state capitol building and several museums are all within a mile or so of Founder’s Park.

Fans 5

The Gamecock baseball program has a proud tradition and a large following. The official capacity of Founder’s Park is 8,242 and you can expect a near-capacity crowd of 7,000-8,000 for a weekend SEC series. Even for midweek games, the Gamecocks average 5,000-6,000 fans.

Access 4

Columbia, SC is accessible from three major interstates: I-20, I-26, and I-77. Founder’s Park is located near downtown Columbia about a block from the intersections of US 321 and US 76. Parking is available in the lots between US 321 and the ballpark and on the opposite side of US 321. Several of the businesses between Huger St. and Williams St. also sell parking for baseball games.

Unfortunately, South Carolina enforces a clear bag policy. Otherwise, the security at entrances is pretty painless. There is a wide 360-degree concourse all the way around the ballpark and handicap-accessible seating and restrooms are all readily available.

Return on Investment 5

Ticket prices start at $25 which is not bad for this level of competition. Expect to pay around $10 to park near the stadium. Concessions are about on par with most athletic facilities. All in all, not a bad deal for top-notch SEC baseball in a beautiful ballpark.

Extras 4

Extra points for the following:

- Large playground for kids

- National Championship trophies and retired numbers

- Live “Sir Big Spur” mascot

- City skyline view from behind home plate

Final Thoughts

Founder’s Park is one of the nicest and most beautiful college ballparks that you will visit. Gamecock fans support their program like few in the country and it is a college baseball bucket list experience to take in a game here.

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