New ASU Stadium – Alabama State Hornets
Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
New ASU Stadium 500 Harris Way Montgomery, AL 36106
Year Opened: 2012
The Alabama State Hornets play their home games at New ASU Stadium (or simply ASU Stadium) in Montgomery, Alabama, about a mile away from the Cramton Bowl, home of both the annual FBS Camellia Bowl and the annual FCS Kickoff game. The venue opened in 2012 and currently seats twenty-six thousand five hundred, but is expandable to fifty-five thousand if needed.
The four highest attended games at ASU Stadium have all been against in-state rival Tuskegee, where the current attendance record of 27,858 came in 2019. In fact the first game ever at the facility was also versus Tuskegee, on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 and resulting in a two-point win by the Tigers, which represents the second-highest attendance ever at the stadium of 27,500. The tradition of having a Thanksgiving game at the facility (which the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL also follow) was renewed in 2021, billed as “Turkey Day Classic 21”.
Food & Beverage 5
ASU Stadium has fabulous concessions options available to fans – while the main stands in the concourses along both sidelines have a more limited menu, offering only hot dogs, wings, nachos, popcorn, chips, and packaged candy, as well as bottled soda, bottled water, and frozen lemonade, where the facility excels is with the array of food trucks behind the southeast end zone, including half a dozen vendors offering items such as gelato, funnel cake, barbecue, mixed drinks, wings, etc. There is also a Dippin’ Dots stand on the home side.
The most expensive items are the food truck selections (prices vary) and the wings and nachos from the main stands ($9 and $8, respectively), but everything else at the main stands comes in under $4, so it is possible to feed a group without hurting your wallet too much.
Three things make watching a Hornets game at ASU Stadium a great experience – the first is the PA announcer, who is really into the game and very excitable; he really helps draw the home crowd into the game with his loud, boisterous game calls. The second is the atmosphere around the stadium – the tailgating scene is very impressive with tents and grills galore set up outside the facility, and the street next to the stadium closed down and packed with rabid Hornets fans.
Tailgating Outside New ASU Stadium, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
The third thing, though, which is a real treat, is watching the Majestic, Mighty, Marching Hornets perform at halftime – most HBCUs have great marching bands, but the Hornets take it to the next level with multiple formations, including spelling out the word “Blues” as a tribute to the popular music genre, and four drum majors who dance with swagger and pizzazz. The Marching Hornets are accompanied by the Stingettes and the Honey-Bees, the ASU dance team and cheerleaders, who also both give great performances. For some games you may also be lucky enough to see two HBCU bands perform at halftime, depending on who the Hornets’ opponent is that day.
ASU Stadium is located on Alabama State’s campus and mostly surrounded by other campus building and athletic fields, but is bordered on the north by I-85, with Jackson Hospital located on the other side of the freeway within sight of the sports venue.
As such there isn’t much in the way of restaurants or hotels in the immediate vicinity, but from a historical perspective there are plenty of museums and attractions nearby, given the history of the city of Montgomery. The state capitol is not far away, and you can also find the first white house of the Confederacy and the Dr. Martin Luther King home/Dexter Parsonage museum. More well-known are several other civil rights museums, including the Rosa Parks and Freedom Ride museums, which are definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. And for the music and literary fans among us, there is also the Hank Williams museum and the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald museum.
Most games at ASU Stadium draw between 10,000 and 15,000 fans (about 50-60% full), with only a few contests here drawing 20,000 or more (most notably games against Tuskegee). Attendance of course depends on how well the Hornets are doing at that point in the season, as well as who their opponent is for that day.
The fans who are here, however, tend to be pretty into the game, and you will see plenty of ASU gear in the stands and in the concourse. Many fans tend to come into the game late (since they are still partying outside during kickoff), so expect to see the stands most full around the middle of the second quarter. For games again local opponents you will of course see plenty of attendees wearing the opposing team’s colors, sitting on the visitors side.
Getting to ASU Stadium is pretty simple given that the venue is literally right next to I-85, but concessions lines are pretty long in the concourses, so you might try heading over to the other concourse, or to the food trucks in the end zone, to see if you can find a shorter line. It also helps if you get to the game early and get your snacks before most of the fans arrive from the tailgates.
There are plenty of bathrooms to accommodate the crowd, however, and there is plenty of room in the stands, so you should be able to sit pretty much wherever you want – the tickets do have assigned seats, but since the stands are usually only half full or less you don’t necessarily have to sit where you are supposed to. Fans also also welcome to sit in the berm, on the hill behind the northwest end zone.
There isn’t really any parking right next to the stadium unless you have a pass, but there is plenty of parking to be found along Carter Hill Road (on the south side of the stadium) for $20 or less depending on how far you want to walk – the $20 parking is the closest I found, and wasn’t too bad of a distance from the facility.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for ASU Hornets football start at $25, which is a pretty good deal for college football – I have rarely seen tickets at this level go for under $20, so $25 is not bad, and a lot less than other FCS stadiums. Given the experience you will have including the PA announcer and the halftime performances, I think this is a pretty solid return on investment for your sports dollar.
ASU has a great mascot and a nice facility that is new enough not to look dated. There are tents with club seating behind the southeast end zone, and the bleachers are raised a little above the field to make it easy to see the action. There is also a large scoreboard behind the northwest end zone which makes it easy to see replays even from the far side.
ASU Stadium is definitely worth a visit – the modern facility may not have everything you would want at a sports venue, but it is a great place to spend a fall afternoon, and allows fans to get really close to the action. If you are in the Montgomery area, make time to cheer on the Hornets – go ASU!