- Eric Moreno
Alamodome - San Antonio Brahmas
Photos by Eric Moreno, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Alamodome 100 Montana St San Antonio, TX 78203
Year Opened: 1993
San Antonio Brahmas – Alamodome
The early months of 2023 saw the second revival of the XFL, this time under the auspices of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his business partners. This third iteration (XFL 3.0?) brought with it a new franchise in the Alamo City with the San Antonio Brahmas. Virtually every startup/experimental/spring/minor league football league has set up camp in San Antonio over the years.
Running the alphabet gamut, San Antonio has been home to the WFL (San Antonio Wings), USFL (San Antonio Gunslingers), WLAF (San Antonio Riders), CFL (San Antonio Texans), AAF (San Antonio Commanders), Arena Football League (San Antonio Force and San Antonio Talons), and the New Orleans Saints for a brief spell following Hurricane Katrina. Since the early ‘90s, all these fledgling teams have called the venerable Alamodome their home.
The Riders, Texans, Saints, Talons, and Commanders all preceded the Brahmas at the Dome. As always, the pro football-starved citizens of San Antonio have whole-heartedly embraced their new team and are one of the highest-attended teams in the XFL (just behind the St. Louis club), once again making the Alamodome a must-visit spot on the pro football landscape.
Food & Beverage 4
While most of the Alamodome’s concession stands are not open on XFL game days (as the lower bowl on the concourse level is all that is available for seating), what is offered is still pretty darn good. As I have mentioned in other reviews of the Dome, there recently was a great emphasis to expand the food and beverage fare at the stadium – this included brining in local and regional chains with pared down, specialty menus for fans.
These recent additions include local faves Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant (street tacos), Earl Abel’s (fried chicken), Big Bib BBQ (brisket sandwiches), Lagniappe Today (cajun nachos and tots), Rebecca Creek Distillery (liquor and cocktails), and the Alamo Beer Company (beer, of course, including a signature XFL brew). Other national brands on site include Papa John’s Pizza, Johnny Rockets, and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.
There are also plenty of other non-branded stands on the main concourse offering up the standard hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, bottled sodas, waters, and beer. Speaking of beer, the new Te Amo Micheladas stand serves up the refreshing Mexican-style cocktail.
The XFL and the Brahmas will pretty much get a pass this inaugural season as this new iteration tries to get its footing on the sports landscape. With that said, there is still some work that needs to be done in terms of Atmosphere at the Alamodome for the Brahmas. When it comes to the stadium’s main tenants, the UTSA Roadrunners, there is signage, coloring, and banners aplenty. However, for the new team in town, there is not much if anything to be found.
The team has converted the two merchandise areas to selling Brahmas gear, and the two emcees that host the games do their best to fire up the crowd (which does sport a surprising amount of Brahmas gear, both store bought and homemade) and get them to follow along with the “Horns Forward” chant.
One pretty fun feature is the augmented reality that the team employs on the fan cam. Fans showing up on the jumbotron, through the magic of digital technology, suddenly have either their faces painted yellow and black or are sporting brahma horns.
The one thing that has continued to bring pro sports and big events continuously throughout the years to San Antonio and the Alamodome is its location. Situated near two major highways in the middle of the Alamo City’s popular and energetic downtown, the Dome is ideally suited for big-time sports.
The Alamodome is within walking distance of the eponymous and legendary Alamo, famed San Antonio River Walk, lush Hemisfair Park, and awe-inspiring Tower of the Americas. All of these are must-see sites when visiting San Antonio, especially for the first time, and all can be seen either before or after (most) XFL games.
When it comes to dining, this area of the city has an abundance of dining options, including some of the best in the region. The Historic Pearl has, in the past decade or so, become the go-to spot for those looking to sample some of the city’s finest food – some highlights include Bakery Lorraine, which is a classic French bakery and serves up delicious treats like house-made macarons and croissants. Another spot not to be missed is the award-winning Cured, which can be best described as a charcuterie forward restaurant.
When it comes to places to stay, downtown San Antonio has you covered. There are dozens of options to suit everyone’s budget. There are also quite a few that are a short walk from the Alamodome; these include Staybridge Suites San Antonio Downtown Convention Center and City View Inn & Suites. There are also vacation rentals aplenty in the area, as the Alamodome abuts a residential neighborhood – again, it all depends on your budget.
As a lifelong resident I am still continually amazed at how much San Antonians flock to each and every one of these teams that come to town. Thus far in their infancy, the Brahmas have proven to be a hit with the fans. I attended what was only the second home game in team history, and I was blown away by the amount of Brahmas apparel that was seen in the crowd.
Fans came dressed in luchador masks; fans came face-painted, some with horns, some without. I even saw someone in a full Captain America-style outfit, modified with the Brahmas’ colors.
The fans were loud, tried to get a wave going numerous times, and did their best to participate in the emcees’ “Horns Forward” chant. This is a city all about loyalty, especially with its sports teams – if the Brahmas can stick around, crowds at the Alamodome will only get bigger.
The Alamodome is located directly off State Highway 281/37, between Interstates 10 and 35 and a 14-minute drive from San Antonio International Airport, which has flights from destinations far and wide at all hours of the day.
San Antonio is an hour and a half south of Austin, three and a half hours west of Houston, and four and a half hours from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Parking is plentiful at the Alamodome with two paid lots ($20); parking is also available at houses and businesses around the stadium.
If you would rather not drive yourself to the game or take a rideshare, San Antonio’s mass transit option, VIA Metropolitan Transit, has park and ride options you can take that will run you less than $3 per person roundtrip.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for Brahmas games start at $29 per person. The merchandise was a little on the pricey side, with the cheapest t-shirt option around $30. Concessions are what they are, cost wise – the closest comparison would be a high-end minor league ballpark in terms of dollars. The bargain is in the parking, especially if you use park and ride, rideshare, or one of the driveways in the area.
To be quite honest, the football on the field is a little rough right now in the XFL. I think there is plenty of room for improvement in the presentation of the product, as well. However, if you’re a sports fan or a football junkie, this will tide you over ‘til the regular season starts in the Fall.
There is not much in terms of Extras at XFL games; I can only assume this is being done to keep operating costs down. This includes no cheerleaders, mascots, nor other types of football trappings to engage fans.
There was supposed to be a tailgate area/fan zone set up before the game I attended, but that was rescheduled due to the weather. The Brahmas do employ a DJ, so there is that if it’s something you’re interested in. The team also promotes its head coach, NFL great Hines Ward, quite a bit. There are also contests giving away signed swag sprinkled in during the breaks in the action.
I’m a football fan and a lifelong San Antonian – I’ve seen pretty much every one of the defunct teams that I mentioned above, and I supported all of them as well. I want this iteration of the XFL to succeed as a fan; I think it’s better for the sport if one of these spring leagues can sustain itself long-term.
With that in mind, I think you have to be a true fan of the sport, or someone from this area, to want to come and see a Brahmas game at the Alamodome. With a little time, I’m hoping the experience will become more of a must see.
Follow Eric Moreno's Stadium Journey on Twitter at @EricMoreno6477.