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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Oakes

Walter J. Zable Stadium – William & Mary Tribe


Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Walter J. Zable Stadium at Cary Field 100 Stadium Dr Williamsburg, VA 23185



Year Opened: 1935

Capacity: 12,672

 

Football In The Colonial Capital


Walter J. Zable Stadium at Cary Field has been the home of William & Mary Football since the facility was built in 1935. The first game in the facility was the 1935 season opener when the Tribe battled the University of Virginia to a 0-0 tie. A $28 million renovation in 2016 added suites, a press box, and an upper deck which now make Zable Stadium a great spot to catch some FCS football.


Food & Beverage 4

Zable Stadium offers a good variety of food options to keep you from getting hungry while at the game. The concession stands on the main/lower level concourse of the home side stands offer hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, chicken tenders, and fresh-cut fries. Snack items include nachos, pretzels, popcorn, and candy (M&M’s, gummies, etc.). Beverage items include fountain Pepsi products and bottled water.


Keep in mind that the concession stands on the upper level of the home side only offer nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, and candy, along with bottled water and soda. So, if you are sitting in the upper level and want more filling options, you’ll have to take the hike down to the lower level. There is one smaller concession stand for the fans sitting in the visiting sideline stands in the corner near section 119, which has similar offerings as both stands on the home side.


Atmosphere 3

Zable Stadium is a brick structure with two levels of seating on the home side and one seating level on the visiting sidelines. On the home-side stands, there is a single level of suites between the upper and lower level. At the top of the upper deck, is a large and spacious press box. Brick archways surround the facility including in both end zones. As is the case with many older FCS facilities, a track surrounds the field. This pushes the fans back, but as long as you are sitting higher up, should not affect your view. The track is open for fans to walk on in both end zones to get from one side to the other. The field is artificial turf and there is a large video board in the south end zone.

Zable Stadium Home Side and Press Box, Photo by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey


William & Mary have a small band that plays on the field pregame as the team runs out through green smoke. The band also plays throughout the game. In the northwest end zone corner, there is an army artillery canon. Keep in mind it fires at the start of the game and second half, as well as after each Tribe score. It is loud, so don’t be startled! Zable Stadium has a mix of bench back and bleacher seating. For an afternoon game, we recommend sitting on the home side so the sun will be at your back and not directly in your eyes.


Neighborhood 5

If you are looking for other things to do while in town for a William & Mary football game, there are many options in the Williamsburg area. Colonial Williamsburg has many colonial-style homes, shops, restaurants, and attractions in the downtown area. One interesting restaurant with great food is Food for Thought, which has a menu as diverse as the minds of great American thinkers. Food for Thought’s décor features biographical pictures of inventors, scientists, and social leaders while the walls display thought-provoking quotes used to set the tone for a positive and enjoyable dining experience.


Also, nearby is Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement on the east coast; and Yorktown, the site where the British surrendered and the Revolutionary War ended. There are also many other resorts and attractions nearby including theme parks Busch Gardens and Water Country.


Fans 2

William & Mary have not made the FCS playoffs since 2015 and have had several down seasons in a row, so fan support is not the greatest. Unless the Tribe is playing James Madison (which will not happen again due to JMU moving to FBS, expect only around 6,000 fans in attendance. This is only 50% capacity of the renovated stadium. When we attended in 2021, there were 10,000 in attendance, but several thousand of these were the aforementioned JMU fans.


Access 3

Zable Stadium is located right off of Richmond Road in Downtown Williamsburg. Due to this location near Colonial Williamsburg and being on campus, allow yourself some extra time going to the game. The two-lane roads surrounding the stadium back up easily.


Most of the parking around the stadium is reserved for season ticket holders. However, there is general parking for $10 near Kaplan Arena. There are also many pay-to-park lots in downtown Williamsburg.


The easiest gates for entry are in the south end zone. Once you enter here, you have easy access to stands on either side of the field. Note if you are sitting in the lower level on either side, you will simply walk along the sideline and up into the stands. If you are in the upper deck there are stairs and elevators to access.


Return on Investment 3

Ticket prices start at $20 and go up, which is about right for this level of football. $10 parking is a little steep so we suggest finding free parking on the streets/lots around downtown Williamsburg. Throw in affordable concessions and you can have a good experience watching FCS football without breaking the bank.


Extras 1

Zable Stadium earns an extra point for the colonial soldiers that roam the sideline throughout the game. This is a nice touch and fits the vibe of the stadium’s setting in colonial Williamsburg amidst many historic buildings.


Final Thoughts

Most folks will not think of William & Mary football when visiting Williamsburg, VA. However, recent renovations make it a nice facility for FCS football on a fall afternoon in the Colonial Capital.

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