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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

William H. Greene Stadium - Howard Bison


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

William H. Greene Stadium 2400 6th St NW Washington, DC 20059

Year Opened: 1926 Capacity: 10,000

 

Home of the Howard Bison

Located on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Greene Stadium is home to the Bison’s football team. The stadium opened in 1926 when it was known as Howard Stadium, with the inaugural game being played against Morehouse College on October 16 of that year. At the time, Howard Stadium sat only 2,000 fans, which was too small for football, so the Bison played most of their games at Griffith Stadium, and later at RFK Stadium. However, these stadiums were also home to the Washington Redskins, and contractual obligations prohibited the Bison from playing a home game within 24 hours of an NFL game at the venue, so this made it extremely difficult for them to play home games on Saturdays.

In 1977, Howard Stadium was expanded to 9,000 seats and the Bison moved back on campus. In 1986, the stadium was renamed Greene Stadium in honor of William H. Greene, who was a doctor and donor to Howard. There have been several proposals for a new stadium to replace or renovate Greene Stadium, which is aging and of poor quality, but none have come to fruition.

Howard is one of the oldest and most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country and competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with many other HBCUs.

Food & Beverage 2

There is no food or drink for sale in Greene Stadium itself. Instead, the “concession stand” is actually a food truck parked on 6th Street NW outside the stadium. Fans must exit and reenter the stadium to access this truck, which sells hot dogs, soft drinks, water, and assorted snacks. Prices are affordable but the selection is limited, lines are slow, and it is extremely difficult to access, especially for fans sitting on the home side, who will have to walk all the way around the stadium.


Atmosphere 4

Like at many HBCUs, a football gameday at Howard can feel like a marching band performance with a football game on the side. The band, which is among the best in the country, performs before the game both inside and outside the stadium, then puts on a show at halftime as well. They are what many fans have come to see, with the action on the field only secondary. The Bison also have a mascot and cheerleaders, but the band is the main attraction here.

As for the stadium itself, all seats are uncomfortable metal bleachers on both sides of the stadium as well as behind one of the end zones where the band sits. There are two scoreboards, a big one with videoboard on the band side and a smaller one in the other end zone.


Neighborhood 5

Howard University is located amidst a number of historically African American neighborhoods in Washington. Shaw, U Street, and Columbia Heights, each of which have their own history in the African American community, surround the college. Ben’s Chili Bowl, located about a 20-minute walk away in the U Street neighborhood, is not just an outstanding restaurant but a historic landmark as well. The chili, hot dogs, half-smokes, and burgers are renowned throughout the area, but keep in mind there is often a long line to order due to the popularity.

And, of course, you’re in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, and there’s plenty to do throughout the city. The best part is that most of it is free. Whether it’s taking in the many monuments on the National Mall or visiting one of the numerous museums, there is so much you can do here. All government-run attractions are free to the public, but some of the privately-run ones are not. Just keep in mind if you want to tour the White House or Capitol, you will need to book that in advance.

Fans 3

It is really a tale of two halves at Greene Stadium as far as the fans go. In the first half, the fans arrive early and cheer on the Bison loudly and passionately. Then the band performs at halftime, which is really the main attraction for many in attendance. After that, it can clear out pretty quickly, with many fans leaving after the band performs or shortly into the third quarter. This means it can be a totally different atmosphere in the second half than the first half.


Access 2

Howard University is in a tricky spot to get to. It’s just far enough from the heart of downtown that it isn’t easily accessible via public transportation, and just close enough that it’s hard to drive there. The closest Metro stops are Shaw and Columbia Heights, but each is about a 20-minute walk away. There is some street parking available relatively close to the stadium, but much of it has a two-hour limit, obviously too short if you are attending a football game. There are some paid lots, but you may have to walk a bit to get to the stadium from there. Your best bet, if you are not coming from too far away, is to take an Uber or Lyft to the stadium, but even then, depending on traffic, it may be quicker to get out and walk the last block or two. Be mindful of road closures in the vicinity of this stadium which can make access even more difficult – roads adjacent to the stadium have been closed this season for multiple home games due to reasons beyond the control of the team.

Once you are inside the stadium, it is still difficult to get around. Entering the stadium will put you on the visitor’s side, and to get to the home side, you will need to walk down a set of bleachers, around the field, and back up. It is not always clearly marked where to go, although staff will direct you if you ask. The restrooms and concession stands are equally convoluted to access.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets for adults are $25 for general admission seats or $30 for reserved seats at midfield. If buying the day of, prices are $5 more, so buy in advance if possible. Tickets for homecoming are almost double the price, and while Howard Homecoming is a unique experience in its own right and well worth the money if you are into that kind of thing if you are just looking to go to a football game, it is best to avoid that day if possible.

Concessions are affordable, if limited, but it will likely cost you a bit to get to the stadium, whether in parking or Uber/Lyft fare. The Metro is available as a cheaper option if you are willing to walk a bit and likely deal with lengthy headways.

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Extras 2

The band is a huge extra here as they are one of the best in the country.

Look for the murals painted on the building behind the end zone honoring Howard football and the other Howard teams to play in Greene Stadium.


Final Thoughts

Howard University has one of the best marching bands in the country, and for that reason alone, a visit to a Bison football game is well worth it. That being said, football seems almost a sideshow here. While this is true to some extent at many HBCUs, which are known for their excellent bands and not-so-great athletic programs, it is especially true at Howard. HBCU football is certainly a unique experience, and Howard is no exception, but fans more accustomed to college football in other settings will find it different than what they are used to. It is not necessarily better or worse, but it is certainly different.




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