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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium – Navy Midshipmen


Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium 550 Taylor Ave Annapolis, MD 21401

Year Opened: 1959 Capacity: 34,000

 

Football In the Navy

Few football programs in the college sports scene harken back to the old days of sports like Navy. Having been playing football since 1879, Navy’s football program is filled with history and pride. This is reflected in the pageantry of the game day experience at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. This facility is also home to the annual Military Bowl, and has hosted various other sports over the years, including soccer and lacrosse.

Practically assembled via previous class donations, the stadium features numerous small touches of history and education about the school’s past, as well as America’s military history. And while it may lack the modern touches of other stadiums, this facility is one that is a must see for any college football fan.


Food & Beverage 3

The food choices are solid enough for a sports stadium at Navy games. Beer prices are what would be expected, ranging from $9 to $11, with other beverages including coffee or hot cocoa ($4), bottled water ($6), and Gatorade or bottled soda ($6). Food options include hot dogs ($4), pretzels ($5), nachos ($6), popcorn ($5), candy ($3), and more. Burgers run $7 while sushi options, sub sandwiches, and wraps cost $8. The stadium even features a healthy food options booth, complete with veggie sticks ($2), kale chips ($2), and fruit cups ($8).


Additionally, food trucks and pop-up vendors fill the area as well, including Chick-fil-A and others. The biggest downside to all of this is the crazy long lines that fill up and never seem to dwindle during games.


Atmosphere 3

Navy-Marine Corps Stadium is a mixed bag in terms of the overall aesthetic. Opened in 1957 it has seen some updates, while also keeping some of its original character. The northwest end zone features general admission seating on a raised berm, as well as grassy areas for fans to watch from. These areas run all the way up to the end zone wall, meaning you can get close to the action, and usually feature kids and families.


The northeast and southwest sidelines offer two-level seating, while the southeast end zone features a large scoreboard with limited end zone seating, as well as several multi-level suite boxes with viewing patios.


The overall stadium itself is solid enough but lacks anything overwhelmingly modern. Restrooms are small, and the passages under the grandstands are equally as cramped when a full crowd tries to navigate them at the same time.


Neighborhood 5

Annapolis, the state’s capitol, is a beautiful town located on the shores of the Severn River’s exit into the Chesapeake Bay. It is located almost equidistant from both Baltimore and Washington D.C., providing easy access to two major metropolitan cities full of shopping, dining, and major airports. The area around the stadium is quaint and features many historic sites, including the Maryland State House. Shopping and dining are plentiful downtown near the Annapolis waterfront area as well, and fans can find plenty to entertain themselves there.


Fans 4

The fans at Navy football are unique – many of them are graduates, veterans, or their families. Of those, many have been coming to games for generations. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of Navy’s fans is the student section; over 4,000 current Navy students arrive in formation by division on the field before the game, dressed in full Navy uniform.

Overall the fans here can be on the older side, but don’t make any mistake; these football faithful can be loud when the time comes for critical plays.


Access 4

To get to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium you simply need to drive on US 50 from the DC area, or on I-97 to US 50 from the Baltimore Area; these two routes will both drop you steps from the stadium. Once you’re there, parking is plentiful – official stadium parking is $40 for pre-purchase or $50 on the day of, with numerous lots in the area ranging $20 and up. Signage in the stadium is plentiful as well, making it easy to get around and navigate the facility.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets to Navy football games start at $25 for kids and $35 on the end zone grassy hill and for standing room only, then go up to $50 for reserved seats. Kids 2 and under are free for standing room only access as well. Couple this with the price of concessions and it is incredibly affordable for FBS college football, especially at a program as historic as Navy.


Extras 4

The northwest end zone features the Navy goat statue as well as a memorial garden for the military, which showcases plaques and memorial statues from the Navy’s past. Also of interest is the Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet on display outside the stadium, which is a popular photo spot for fans.

The field itself also pays homage to former star players, with yellow player numbers painted near their corresponding yard lines, and finally, the stadium’s ring of honor features historic and notable Navy battles instead of former player names like at other facilities.


Final Thoughts

The game day experience at Navy is incredible – the history of the program is evident from the moment you arrive at the stadium, and the pageantry is nothing short of college football greatness. While the stadium itself initially lacks anything aesthetically that really stands out, the small touches around the facility make up for that. With the location and affordability, it is easy to see why so many college football fans recommend going to Navy home games.

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