Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Stadium – North Carolina Wesleyan Battling Bishops
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Stadium 3400 N Wesleyan Blvd Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Year Opened: 2022
Building for the Bishops
Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Stadium is home to the Battling Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan University. With the first phase completed in 2022, the brand new and expanding facility began with a state-of-the-art turf field that can accommodate football, soccer, and lacrosse. Stadium lights were also added so that the teams could practice and play at night.
Named after the biggest athletic donor in Wesleyan history, the facility currently seats about a thousand fans, with additional improvements planned for the future, including an athletic building and press box. NC Wesleyan previously played its football games at Rocky Mount Memorial Stadium but is thrilled to now have an on-campus facility, making it easier for fans to attend Bishops games.
Food & Beverage 2
Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Stadium offers a few concessions for fans from a stand at the main entrance – not a huge selection yet, but enough to get you through the game, including Chick-fil-A sandwiches, pizza, popcorn, candy, and chips, plus soda, bottled water, Gatorade, and a few other drinks. The Chick-fil-A sandwiches are by far the most expensive item on the menu at $7, but everything else is $1 to $3.
North Carolina Wesleyan’s football field doesn’t offer much yet, but the turf field has vibrant pops of color, and there is a tunnel for the players to come through as they enter the field. There is also a fence around the field that gives a rather stately feel to the setting. There are cheerleaders on hand to keep the crowd engaged, and there is also a team gear stand near the main entrance for fans to grab their Bishop's swag.
Rocky Mount is a small town in North Carolina about an hour east of Raleigh, with a population of around 55,000. There are a few restaurants to the south of the facility along Highway 301, including a few well-known chains such as Applebee’s and Chili’s, as well as a few more upscale choices such as Tap@1918.
There are plenty of hotels in the same area as the restaurants, and if you are looking for something to do in the area, there are a couple of local parks you can visit. If you plan to be in town for the weekend, downtown Raleigh features a ton of museums, including the Marbles Kids Museum for the little ones. There are also numerous local breweries located in the Raleigh-Durham area.
If you come to a game in August or early September, you may be able to catch a Carolina Mudcats baseball game during your visit, which is the closest professional team to North Carolina Wesleyan University.
Bishops football games don’t boast a ton of fans just yet, but attendance should increase as the facility continues to be built out. You will see the stands about one-third to half full, and most of them are rooting for the Bishops, which is nice to see – at many smaller college stadiums there will be more visiting fans at some games than home fans. It is also nice that most of the fans are wearing Bishops gear.
Behind the south end zone, there are a few tents set up, where the boosters and donors usually have a cookout going on during the game. This area is off-limits to general admission fans, but is a great spot to watch the game from if you would like to support the Bishops; NC Wesleyan is currently looking for additional donations to continue the planned upgrades to the venue.
Getting to Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Stadium is pretty simple, especially as the field is right next to the highway, across the street from a Sheetz gas station – most fans will enter from the west side, where there is parking for $10. Currently, there is only one entrance, located not far from the parking lot, with the team gear tent and concessions next to the ticket table. At present there is only one grandstand, also on the west side, with a small temporary press box on the east side. A few fans do stand along the fence on the west side to watch the game as well.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to NC Wesleyan football games are only $5, and programs are only $1. This is a great value for college football at any level, and well worth it if you want to spend a pleasant day watching gridiron action. Parking is reasonable at $10, and concessions are inexpensive as well.
There is no mascot here yet, and no band either, but there should be more amenities added as the stadium gets built.