Photos by Eric Hasman and Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
Rivets Stadium 4503 Interstate Blvd Loves Park, IL 61111 Map It
Year Opened: 2006 Capacity: 3,279
A Riveting Good Time in Rockford
The Rockford Rivets are a team in the Northwoods League, a wooden bat collegiate baseball league. They joined the league in 2016. The name Rivets is tied to the city’s manufacturing history.
Baseball has been played in Rockford since 1871, with the Rockford Rox being the main moniker until 1949. Other teams such as the Rockford Expos, Royals, Cubbies, and Reds played in the city. The Rockford Riverhawks of the Frontier League played ten years (2002 – 2012) in town. Rockford is well known for being the home of the Rockford Peaches, a professional woman’s baseball team in the 1940’s and 50’s.
The Rivets play their home games at the comfortable Rivets Stadium in Loves Park, IL which opened in 2006. The stadium hosts Rockford University Regents baseball in the spring. It also holds concerts and superregional baseball tournaments.
Food & Beverage 3
The Rockford Rivets sell the traditional stadium fare. Prices for hot dogs, brats, and burgers range from $3 – $5.50. Corn dog and chicken nugget baskets and walking tacos cost $8.75. Snacks run $3.50 – $10 and feature funnel cakes, cheese curds and funnel cake sundaes. Other choices are cotton candy, deep fried chips, nachos, popcorn, ice cream, pretzels, etc.
Bottled soda and water cost $3.50. A concessions bar is on the third base concourse and sells cans of beer and mixed drinks ($8). Domestic beer is $6 while Milwaukee-based Broken Bat Brewery beer is $7.
Visiting a game at Rivets Stadium is low-key and more about the game than other ancillary goings-on seen at many Northwoods League stadiums.
Seating is all on one level and fans enter the seating area from the top of the pleasantly wide concourse. All chairs are the blue stadium fold down type with cup holders. Some VIP seats with tables and cushioned chairs are along the concourse.
Rivets Stadium Table and Chairs, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
A party patio is down the first baseline in right field. A covered picnic pavilion is down the third baseline. Except for the picnic pavilion, the seats are not covered. Bring sunscreen and/or a poncho or umbrella, depending on weather.
Sit behind home plate (sections 100 – 106) if you don’t pay attention or are afraid of getting hit by a foul ball. Otherwise, all seat sections are net free. The press box is in a small building behind home plate along the concourse.
The game day staff thankfully does not play the music loudly and it is only played between players and half innings. Not between each pitch. Sweet!
The field comprises gorgeous, thick natural grass and real dirt. The bullpens are on the field down each baseline.
The player locker rooms are down the first base concourse. Kids and autograph seekers may be able to get autographs there before the game. Players walk across part of the concourse to get to the field.
Watch out for yellow jackets.
Starting lineups are posted on a white but don’t believe them. We recommend not filling out your scoresheet beforehand but waiting till the announcer calls it.
At the game of this review the scoreboard didn’t work. Storms had knocked out the power earlier and the Rivets organization was unable to restore the scoreboard before the start of the game. When working, it shows the line score, player information, and advertisements.
Rivet Stadium is northeast of Rockford, in Loves Park, IL about 10 miles from downtown Rockford.
While there’s not much within a mile of the stadium, several restaurants and fast food places are a little over two miles. Check out AERO Ale House (American Bar and Grill in a comfortable environment), Waffle Shop Family Restaurant, or Rock Pho’d (yummy Asian).
Three hotels are a tad over a mile from the stadium: Home2Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and Quality Inn & Suites.
While Rockford is not next door, there is plenty to do in the city if visiting for a Rivets game. Visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens for a serene outdoor stroll. A trip to the Midway Village Museum offers historic exhibits of Rockford and a Victorian village tour. Be sure to visit the Home of the Rockford Peaches where the winningest women’s professional baseball team played from 1943 – 1954.
Rockford Peaches, Photo by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Be sure to visit the MiLB Beloit Sky Carp just a 20-min drive north. The two closest Northwoods League teams are the Madison Mallards and the Kenosha Kingfish, both 70 miles away. In the winter, check out an exciting Rockford IceHogs minor league ice hockey game.
The Rockford Rivets have the traditional mix of fans attending games: families, kids, young adults looking for a night out, and retirees. The season ticket base is small but loyal. The 2022 season saw an average of 874 fans in attendance per game, putting them in the lower portion of Northwoods League attendance.
The stadium is right off Interstate 90 with plenty of free paved parking on site.
Rockford provides bus service to the nearby (.4 miles) Costco but the schedule looks like the transit service stops running before an evening game ends, so that is not a viable option to/from a game. The closest commercial airport is in Madison WI (MSN), though you’d get more choices if flying into Chicago O’Hare (ORD) or Milwaukee (MKE). All three are an hour to 1 ½ hour drive (depending on traffic) to Rivets Stadium.
A grand gate entrance greets fans. The gates open an hour before first pitch. The organization does not have any silly bag rules.
The stadium has a nice, wide concourse where fans can walk easily and without congestion. Handicapped and wheelchair seating is on the concourse on top of the seating area. Fans cannot walk the entire circumference as the outfield is blocked. Serviceable restrooms are on the first base concourse.
Note: If driving south from Wisconsin to Rivets Stadium, get gas in Wisconsin as prices in that state are significantly less costly than in Illinois.
Return on Investment 3
All seats are $12 regardless of where they are. The organization holds promotion days several times during the season where all seats are $3.
Parking is free and concession prices are about the same as other Northwoods League ballparks.
It’s an enjoyable evening at the ballpark and certainly worth your sports entertainment budget.
A few items are worth noting (or noting again).
Not found very often anymore is net free baseball. watching a game NOT behind a net is becoming rarer and rarer. Not everyone will agree, but I (not necessarily Stadium Journey) consider this a bonus.
The team having $3 admission nights is an excellent and affordable way to bring fans into the stadium and watch the Rivets.
Players who made it to the MLB are posted along concourse facing, a nice touch exhibiting the prominence of the Northwoods League.
If you’re looking for all kinds of contests and activities between innings and constant blaring music, this is not the stadium for you. If you want to sit back and actually enjoy the game, this is the spot.