Alumni Stadium – Boston College Eagles
Fly Eagles Fly
Boston College fielded their first football team in 1893. The team’s first on-campus home, the original Alumni Stadium, was built in 1915. As the team grew in popularity through the 1930s and 40s, they called Boston’s two major league baseball fields (Fenway Park and Braves Field) home. When the Red Sox decided in 1957 that they would no longer allow football to be played at Fenway Park, Boston College built a new on-campus home in just 156 days at a cost of $250,000.
With a capacity of 26,000, the new Alumni Stadium’s first game was a match against the Naval Academy arranged by then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Renovations in 1971 and 1988 have expanded the facility to its current capacity of 44,500. Alumni Stadium also served as home to the New England Patriots in 1969.
The 2017 season marks the 120th season of football at Boston College. The team has a storied history, with 24 bowl game appearances and an unofficial national championship in 1940 on its resume.
Food & Beverage 3
Concessions at Alumni Stadium do not stray very far from your stadium basics. Permanent concession stands located on the main concourse offer hot dogs, burgers, sausage sandwiches, pizzas, and assorted snacks. What variety is present here is achieved through the use of portable carts, at which fans can find offerings including local favorite Meatball Obsession. Fans looking for healthier choices can find portable stands selling assorted wraps, salads, and fruit. Visiting fans looking for a taste of Boston can find lobster rolls and clam chowder sold at selected stands. Quality of the concessions here is decent, and prices are in line with other major venues in the area.
Coca-Cola products are featured at Alumni Stadium. Starting in 2017 beer and wine are being sold at Alumni Stadium. Don’t expect a whole lot of variety yet, as Budweiser and Bud Light make up the majority of sales.
Depending on who is visiting Boston College during your visit, this score may adjust up or down accordingly. On the whole Boston College fans are laid-back and reserved, and don’t add a whole lot of energy to the stadium.
While not an urban campus, there is very little available space around Alumni Stadium for parking lots and tailgating. Priority for the precious available real estate is given to season ticket holders and donors to the university’s Flynn Fund. As a result, there isn’t a whole lot going on here to create a party atmosphere before an Eagles football game. The tailgating scene takes on a more reserved feel. The atmosphere before a game at Boston College feels almost scholarly, appropriate for the Massachusetts location. A rowdy party scene just wouldn’t feel right here in Chestnut Hill, even if the locals were to allow it.
The in-game entertainment follows the standard college football template. The energy present at Alumni Stadium is almost entirely due to the student section. Clad almost exclusively in their yellow “superfan” t-shirts, the student body fills the southwest corner of the stadium. In addition, the excellent BC band, cheerleading and dance squads provide entertainment throughout the game. Touches such as the “Eagles Walk” before the game add to the collegiate atmosphere.
The Boston College campus is located in Chestnut Hill, a village in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. Downtown Boston is located about six miles to the east. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of many “best place to live in America” lists. The campus is fairly self-contained, but there are several areas near campus where you can shop or eat, most of which are within walking distance of the campus.
In the immediate vicinity of Boston College your best bet is to head to Cleveland Circle, about a 15 minute walk from the BC campus, where you will find, among other places, Eagle’s Deli, which is known for its massive hamburger challenges. This no-frills diner is a favorite of Boston College students.
As is the case in most towns around Boston, streets in this area are frequently congested and busy, so be careful navigating the area around campus. Fans visiting the area during months when the weather is cooperating may choose to spend some time down at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir right behind Alumni Stadium. It’s a favorite place for walkers and joggers, and there isn’t a better spot to be in the fall or spring. From the shores of the reservoir you get a view of downtown Boston in the distance. For those fans interested in a faster paced environment, head downtown towards those tall buildings, there is more than enough going on there to keep anyone busy.
Despite the fact that Boston College is the only school in all of eastern New England participating at college football’s highest level, the Eagles are almost an afterthought in the crowded Boston sports scene. Fans in this corner of the country prefer professional sports, and all of Boston College’s teams struggle to draw crowds.
Despite having a team that has played in postseason bowl games in 15 of the past 18 seasons, Boston College averaged only 32,000 fans per game in 2016, or about 70 percent of Alumni Stadium’s capacity.
Boston College fans can be a fickle lot, picking and choosing which games they will attend. With Boston College’s membership in the ACC, the team attracts its share of marquee home games. If attending one of these games against nationally ranked teams, expect a packed house. If visiting Chestnut Hill for a lesser opponent, don’t be surprised if Alumni Stadium is only half full.
The student section sits in the southeast corner of Alumni Stadium. Again, the representation of the student body is entirely dependent on the day’s opposition. Even when not filled to capacity, the students here manage to breathe life into what can otherwise be a staid and reserved crowd.
The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Despite its location in the suburbs, Boston College shares many of the same access issues familiar to Boston residents. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of greater Boston by car can tell you how difficult driving in and around the area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet is to find a copilot who knows their way around town.
Most native Bostonians will tell you that your best method to get to Boston College is to take public transportation, known in these parts as the “T”. The green line’s B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the Chestnut Hill campus. From here, it is a short five minute walk to Alumni Stadium. The Green Line’s C train stops at Cleveland Circle, a 15 minute walk from campus. The Green Line’s D train stops at Reservoir Station, and Boston College operates free shuttle busses that pick up riders from that station, as well as several other points around town. The complete route schedule can be viewed here.
For those who insist on driving, the best route to arrive at Boston College avoids Boston entirely. Take exit 24 (Commonwealth Ave.-Route 30) off of Interstate 95 (also known as Route 128). Follow Commonwealth Avenue for about 5 miles, and you will find the Boston College campus on your right. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus.
The lack of parking at Alumni Stadium is the biggest drawback to attending a game at Boston College. Since there is little room on campus for parking, most fans will be resigned to parking at one of three satellite lots, from which they can take complimentary shuttle busses to Alumni Stadium. More information on the parking situation can be found here. Unless you are lucky enough to score a rare on-campus parking pass, taking the T to Boston College is by far the easiest way to get to Alumni Stadium.
Once arriving at Alumni Stadium, fans will find a fairly basic, no-frills facility. There is a single concourse that runs below the seating bowl. Getting around the stadium is fairly easy, although passage can get difficult at halftime. Most seats are aluminum bleachers without chairbacks, while seats around the 50 yard line feature padding. Sitting behind the BC bench on the south side of Alumni Stadium will allow you to see the Eagles logo right side up. Fans sitting in the upper level of the south end zone can get a nice view of the Boston skyline in the distance. Restrooms, while on the small side, are more than adequate for a typical Eagles crowd, with lines forming at halftime.
Return on Investment 3
Boston College utilizes variable pricing for their home games at Alumni Stadium. Prices range from $15-$40 for most games, with prices increasing to $25-$50 for conference games. Prices are jacked up when nationally ranked teams visit Alumni Stadium. For example, tickets for 2017’s Florida State game range in price from $40-$80, and tickets for Notre Dame’s 2017 visit range from $100-$160.
Parking at the satellite lots begins at $40. From here, complimentary shuttle busses will take fans to Alumni Stadium, dropping them off at the facility’s front door. Again, if you aren’t lucky enough to score a parking spot on campus, taking the T to Boston College is highly recommended. For a one-way fare of $2.75, the Green Line’s B train drops you off a short 5 minute walk from the Stadium.
Even thirty years later, Doug Flutie and the “Miracle in Miami” enjoy elevated status at Boston College. A statue of Flutie launching the legendary pass is located at the Gate D entrance to the stadium. Many fans still wear Flutie’s number 22 jersey to games.
Banners commemorating legendary figures, teams and events in Boston College’s 120 year football history hang throughout the concourse at Alumni Stadium. Retired jerseys line the façade of the southwest end zone.
Conte Forum, the home of Boston College’s basketball and hockey teams, is attached to Alumni Stadium’s south side. The two facilities share luxury boxes, and Conte Forum’s concessions and restrooms are open during Eagles football games. Take a walk along the Conte Forum concourse if you get a chance and check out the Varsity Club, the Boston College Hall of Fame.
Despite being one of only three teams in all of New England to play at college football’s highest level, Boston College struggles to attract sustained attention in pro-sports obsessed Massachusetts. Boston College’s membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference guarantees nationally ranked teams will annually visit Chestnut Hill. While not the most spectacular venue you may find in the country, Alumni Stadium fits in perfectly with this beautiful campus, and is worth a visit by any serious college football fan.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Fans who are used to the lively game day scene of most FBS schools may be disappointed by the atmosphere here in Chestnut Hill. The fans who come to Chestnut Hill are, as a whole, laid-back and almost scholarly in their enjoyment of the game. This type of game day atmosphere is most fitting in New England, where big-time college football is an anomaly.