Alamodome – UTSA Roadrunners
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UTSA Roadrunners & Fans Remember the Alamodome
When the Alamodome was built over two decades ago, the move signaled San Antonio’s foray into “big time sports”. Originally constructed as a home for the San Antonio Spurs, the Dome was also built in an effort to attract a professional football team to the city. Those dreams have gone unfulfilled so far, but in 2011 a new tenant took up residence in the venerable stadium: the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Roadrunners fledgling football program. As the Alamo City’s only FBS-level athletics program, UTSA set a record for the largest average home attendance for a new football program, with 35,521 during their first season; they had previously set an attendance record of 56,743 for their very first FCS game. In advance of the Alamodome’s 25th anniversary, the City of San Antonio approved a $43.5 million improvements package that began in the winter of 2015. The new upgrades will bring the Alamodome into the 21st century, as well as ensure the Roadrunners are long-term tenants of the stadium (UTSA signed an agreement that will keep them here through 2035).
Food & Beverage 5
As part of the renovations to the Alamodome, new concession vendors were brought in, and several stands and kiosks feature local San Antonio restaurants that add a unique, one-of-a-kind dining experience. Popular new spots include Earl Abel’s Restaurant (try the brats), Los Barrios Restaurant (tacos, you want them, you need them), and Candy’s Old Fashion Restaurant (this is arguably the best cheeseburger you could hope to find at any stadium anywhere). At each spot, you can find something tasty to eat for around $6; not a bad bargain. If you are looking for more familiar tastes, you can get stadium-style nachos pretty much anywhere in the Alamodome. You can also find Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut (cheese, pepperoni, or supreme personal pizzas) on multiple levels in the venue.
When it comes to beverages, beer in particular, the Alamodome also has some new vendors that will be able to quench your thirst. First is the Alamo Beer Co. and their stable of easily accessible craft beers – the Golden Ale is their most popular and tends to sell out quickly. You will also find Freetail Brewing Co., another local craft brewer that offers up real, artisan craft beers – look for their Bat Outta Helles beer on tap for a great entry point into what they do. At both stands, you can expect to pay between $8 and $10, depending on what size beer you want.
While the Spurs may have hold of the hearts and minds of San Antonians, residents’ souls belong to the game of football, and it shows whenever the Roadrunners play at home. The Alamodome (re-christened “The Birdcage” by UTSA fans) is a cavernous venue for any sporting event. For football, this gargantuan space amplifies the crowd noise exponentially; in other words, it is either really loud or really quiet depending on how the team is doing. When it is rocking, though, it is really rocking. The university has done a great job fostering traditions for their fledgling program. Rowdy towels, Roadrunners flags, and team chants and cheers all make for a fun and engaging atmosphere. While these traditions are still in their infancy and the history isn’t there yet, things are building and it is a lot of fun to watch.
During timeouts and television breaks, the stadium crew does a lot to keep the crowd entertained. Live, on field contests with randomly drawn fans and taped video vignettes on the scoreboards liven up the down time during games.
In terms of what is around the Alamodome, you probably aren’t going to find a better college football venue. Not many major American cities have an FBS program (San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the country) and very few, if any, have their stadium in the heart of their tourist area the way the Alamo City has situated the Alamodome. Within walking distance is the city’s famed River Walk with its celebrated night life, restaurants, and shopping, and should you be interested in taking in some sites before or after the game, the Alamo, Tower of the Americas, and Institute of Texan Cultures can all be walked to from the stadium. Directly in front of the north entrance to the Alamodome is the city’s former train depot, Sunset Station, which has been remodeled in recent years and is now a hub of activity with restaurants and tailgating festivities before and after Roadrunner home games (note that this area is currently under heavy renovation). St. Paul Square, which fronts the Alamodome, is also a great place to visit on game day with many bars, restaurants, and more available for fans and visitors.
Downtown San Antonio is also littered with hotels of all price ranges, many of which are within walking distance of the stadium.
San Antonians are passionate about football, and that passion is on full display in the Alamodome on game day. The tailgating scene literally goes on for miles, and the regular stadium parking lots are dotted with tailgate grills, corn hole games, and speakers blaring music, all amid constant chants of “UT – SA.” The parking lots surrounding the stadium are also hubs for fans to congregate. Orange and blue can be seen everywhere in the crowds, including jerseys, t-shirts, full body paint, Mexican wrestler masks, etc. – all of these can be found at Roadrunner home games. Even though the program is relatively new, this is a passionate fan base, and that feeds into the atmosphere of the games and makes them true experiences.
You can’t beat how easy it is to get to UTSA home games. The Alamodome is accessible by two exits off of Interstate 37, and either exit will get you to the stadium’s parking lots or to the outlying parking areas. One of the better advantages of having UTSA play at such a large venue in such a large city are the public transportation options. The city has a park and ride service to all Roadrunners home games, so for $5 you can purchase a round trip ticket, and avoid parking costs and stadium traffic.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for UTSA games start at $20; if you couple that with public transportation and some frugal spending on stadium food, you can get a real bang for your buck. Part of the attraction to the game is the ancillary festivities; the Roadrunners have their “Spirit Walk,” in which the mascot and the band lead the players up to the stadium for the pre-game walkthroughs. This happens a little over two hours before game time and is free to the public. Also in the north walkway, near Sunset Station, there are food trucks and vendors offering giveaway items.
The mascot, cheerleaders, and school band all add to the ambiance of the game and make it a truly fun event for the family. The stadium also has a live band on the Plaza/Ground Level. There are also team stores throughout the stadium, as well as several stands outside that sell fan gear.
For the cost and for what you get, it is hard to beat a UTSA game at the Alamodome. The crowd is engaged and entertaining, and the band is enthralling. The atmosphere can be quite electrifying, and the stadium provides a unique home field advantage for the Roadrunners, in that they play in the largest venue in their conference. The added bonus of being able to enjoy one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country is just icing on the proverbial cake.
Holiday Inn Express – San Antonio Rivercenter Area
1309 E Commerce
San Antonio, TX 78205
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