Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Ladd-Peebles Stadium 1621 Virginia St Mobile, AL 36604
Year Opened: 1948 Capacity: 33,471
In this case, U-S-A stands for the University of South Alabama, whose football team has played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, since their inception in 2009. The Jaguars were undefeated in their first two seasons of existence, and reached their first bowl game in year five, which was only their second year of bowl eligibility. Besides being home to the South Alabama Jaguars, Ladd-Peebles Stadium hosts the Senior Bowl (since 1951) and the GoDaddy Bowl (since 1999), as well as concerts, trade shows, and other events, including a rally for presidential hopeful Donald Trump in 2015. The venue was built in 1948, and currently has a capacity of 33,471 for football.
Food & Beverage 3
Ladd-Peebles Stadium offers basic fare at reasonable prices from its concession stands, many of which are closed during regular season games. Food options include barbecue, nachos, Foosackly’s chicken tenders (a local chain), burgers, hot dogs, chips, Lance crackers, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, candy bars, Krispy Kreme donuts, pretzels, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, and even dill pickles. These items range from $1 to $7, and some of them support local charities. Only some of the stands have credit card machines, so you don’t have to bring cash, but it would be easier if you did. Funnel cakes are advertised, but I didn’t see any actually for sale. Drink options include Coke products from the fountain, frozen lemonade, bottled water, and 11 varieties of beer. Other bottled drinks are advertised, such as Powerade and sodas, but I didn’t see any stands selling them. The prices are very reasonable – all drinks range in cost from $3 to $5, including the beer, which is lower than most stadiums. The 11 varieties of beer include Coors, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, 4 flavors of Bud Light Ritas, and Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale, which is brewed locally in Alabama.
During the regular season, the Jaguars draw very few fans, so the stadium might be more fun during a bowl game. All of the seats are metal bleachers, and some of the seats in the end zones are blocked off to make the venue easier to sell out (about half of the seats in each zone are covered over with banners). The four grandstands are not connected, which makes it a little difficult to move around, but not bad. On the plus side, there is lots of South Alabama signage, including banners, flags, and photos all over the stadium, but only one video board (NE corner), which is lower height-wise than you normally see. On one hand this is kind of nice, because you don’t have to strain your neck looking up. On the other hand, it probably isn’t quite high enough, because if you are sitting too close to it, the edges of the stands are in your way. The best place to sit is probably the west side (closer to the north end), since this will give you the best view of the video board. Unless you like chasing field goals and extra points, that is – there are no nets behind the goal posts, so you might be able to catch a ball if you sit on the ends. Either way, feel free to buy the cheap seats (in the end zones) and sit wherever you want, since they won’t sell out, and no one checks tickets anyway.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium is located in a slightly run-down residential area. There aren’t very many places to eat within walking distance of the stadium, except for some fast food places. But, if you are looking for somewhere to hang out before or after the game, there is a Ruth’s Chris Steak House about a mile away, a Logan’s Roadhouse to the west near I-65, and a Heroes Sports Bar & Grille to the east near the water. The most popular attractions in Mobile are the USS Alabama and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. And if you are staying in town overnight, there are plenty of hotels a few miles from Ladd-Peebles, either near the water or close to I-65.
The Jaguars fans who show up are very loud, and wear team colors – red is the most popular color, but blue is also acceptable, as is white. There are gear stands on both the east and west sides if you need to buy a shirt or hat there. The stated attendance during a regular season game is in the 10,000 to 15,000 range (about one-third to one-half full), but actual attendance is much lower. The Jaguars football program has not existed for very long, so this may help explain the low attendance. But, it would also help if the team could manage to win more games.
Designed as a bowl venue, Ladd-Peebles Stadium has plenty of spacious bathrooms, and plenty of room in the concourses, so you won’t feel cramped. There is plenty of parking near the stadium for around $10, or you can park for free further away and take a shuttle in (a lot of the students do this, since Ladd-Peebles is not on campus). Riding the shuttle will cost $2.50 per person (round-trip) so it may be more cost effective to park, depending on how many are in your crew. There are gates on both the east and west sides, and you can get to the end zone seating from any entrance by walking around inside the stadium. The ticket booth is at the north end of the west side (under the press box), but if you try to use will call, it helps if you bring the purchase code they emailed you, which will make it easier for the staff to look you up. Or you can just print them at home (unless you want a nicer souvenir). If you are sitting on the east or west side, there are ramps that take you into the middle of the stands, and then you have to use the stairs to get to your row (either up or down). In the end zones, the entrances are at ground level (in front of the first row of seats), so you have to use the stairs to go up from there. I did not notice any seating for those with disabilities.
Return on Investment 4
You can’t buy football tickets anywhere for less than they cost here, so even though the experience might only be so-so, it is definitely worthwhile cost-wise. Tickets to a Jaguars game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium start at only $10, with absolutely no fees, even if you buy online. You may even be able to buy them cheaper on the secondary market, since many more are sold than fans who show up. In addition, concession prices are about as low as you will ever find – I can’t think of many venues that offer beer and snacks for less than they cost here, especially football stadiums.
The fact they host two bowl games here every year gives additional opportunities to see the stadium.
Mobile is a nice town near the gulf, and the weather is second to none, so not a bad place to take in a football game. Ladd-Peebles may not be the best venue, but it is super cheap, and if you want a better atmosphere (read: bigger crowd) you could try one of the bowl games instead. Or wait until your favorite team comes to town.