Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Shuford Stadium 2295 Yost St Salisbury, NC 28144
Year Opened: 1925
Football Enclave in NC
As you drive into Salisbury, North Carolina you might not be able to tell that Catawba College exists except for the signage pointing you there. But nestled among the trees and beautiful old brick buildings you will find Shuford Stadium, home of the Catawba College Indians. Here you will find a venerable stadium that offers a lot more than you might expect from a D2 college football venue.
Food & Beverage 3
While Shuford Stadium does not boast a ton of food and beverage options, there is more than enough to keep you from going hungry during the game. There are three identical concession stands, one behind the visitors’ side and two under the home stands, that offer chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, popcorn and caramel corn, chips, and packaged candy. Nothing is over $5, and you can even get snow cones from a food truck near the visitor stands if you need something to help you beat the North Carolina temperatures.
Beverage options at Shuford Stadium include bottled Coke products or PowerAde for $2.50, and bottled water for $2 all of the concessions prices here are very reasonable and cheaper than you will find at most college sports venues.
Like many football stadiums at smaller colleges and universities, the multi-purpose venue at Catawba College has a track around the outside, and the field itself is also used for lacrosse. The stands on the home side look very modern and include a press box and suites, while the stands on the visitor’s side are accented with brickwork. The stadium is also partially surrounded by trees, giving a pleasing aesthetic, and there is berm seating behind one of the end zones – you might have to bring your lawn chair if you don’t want to sit on the grass, but the berm seating is very popular with fans, as it lets you sit in the shade under the trees as you watch the action.
Sitting in the Shade at Shuford Stadium, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Shuford Stadium does not have a video board yet, but there is a fairly large scoreboard behind one end zone that is easily visible from even the furthest seats to help fans keep up with the stats during the contest. The staff also provides some entertainment at halftime, in the form of the Catawba Indians band and dance team, to keep fans entertained during the break. Except for the ones right in front of the press box, all of the seats here are benches without chair backs, but given the size of Shuford Stadium, you are close to the action no matter where you sit.
Salisbury, NC is your quintessential rural small town, with a population of under 34K living in an area of about 18 square miles. Despite its small size the town boasts a theological seminary and three colleges, including Catawba and Livingstone, and offers several options for fans in town for the day or weekend.
A few restaurants close to Shuford Stadium include College Barbecue, Romano’s Italian Cuisine, and DJ’s Restaurant, a lounge-style bar that offers live music. For fans of the outdoors, nearby Hurley Park offers gardens and trails for walking or quiet reflection, or those with an interest in history can check out the NC Transportation Museum a few miles to the west. And, if you plan to be in town overnight there are plenty of hotels near the stadium (at the I-85 exit), including a Comfort Suites and a Courtyard by Marriott.
Shuford Stadium boasts a really solid fan base for a D2 football school, with plenty of fans showing up to support the Indians during games (though by no means a sellout). The home stands are a lot more crowded than the visitors’ side as you might expect, and you will also see numerous fans sitting on the hill in the berm seating; a few who want an even closer view will even set up chairs almost immediately behind the end zones, which is permitted at this venue.
Getting to Shuford Stadium could not be much easier – located in Salisbury, NC along with crosstown D2 football rival Livingstone, the venue is only a few miles off I-85 and offers free parking in a large lot right behind the stadium. There is no traffic to worry about as you approach, even if you are arriving within a few minutes of kickoff, and event staff are friendly and courteous in helping you find parking and the entrances.
Once you get to the venue, getting in and out is super easy thanks to the numerous entrances and the short lines. The concessions stands are also easy to get to, with plenty of space in front of them so fans trying to find their seats are not blocked by those waiting in line; there are also plenty of napkin and condiment stations, and more than enough bathrooms to accommodate the size of the crowd. Also, while there are a lot of fans in attendance the stands are by no means full, which means you have the option to spread out if you want to.
Return on Investment 5
Attending a Catawba Indians game at Shuford Stadium is highly recommended if you can make the trip – tickets start at just $10 for general admission seats (or you can pay $5 more for the chair backs), and concessions here are cheaper than at most of the sports venues you may have visited in the past. Throw in the free parking, ease of access, and beautiful setting, and you could bring your whole crew here for a pleasant day watching football without even getting close to breaking the bank.
The beautiful brickwork is a plus, and the Indians have plenty of signage around the stadium promoting the college and its numerous sports programs, including a wall of championship banners behind one of the end zones. The trees surrounding the venue are also a nice touch, giving Shuford Stadium that idyllic setting that should always accompany the best sport there is.
If you have a chance to see a game at Shuford Stadium I would highly recommend it – though it may be overlooked in a state with several other big-time football programs, the atmosphere and setting at Catawba make it well worth the trip.