Bob Ford Field – Albany Great Danes
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A Brand New Ford
UAlbany’s sparkling new stadium, Bob Ford Field, is a great FCS venue. Opened on September 14, 2013, the stadium is named after long-time football coach, Bob Ford. Ford became the head coach in 1973, and composed a 256-169 record during his time at the school before stepping down in 2013. Albany joined Division I-AA (FCS) football in 1999 as a member of the Northeast Conference. They won or shared six conference titles in the NEC. In addition to opening a new stadium in 2013, UAlbany also joined a new conference, moving to the Colonial Athletic Association.
Bob Ford Field has a capacity of 8,500, and the surface is FieldTurf. It is a great little stadium for a FCS program in Upstate New York.
Food & Beverage 2
Pretty standard fare is what is sold here. The prices are a little high, but also about what should be expected at a sporting event, falling mostly in the $5 range. There are two concession stands, on either end of the UAlbany side of the field. Lines aren’t too bad, but are a little longer than expected when the game is being played. This could be attributed to the fact that a good amount of people are there for more than the football game.
Beer is served in a “party” area near the main tower, which is surprising for this on-campus stadium.
Bob Ford Field is set on UAlbany’s campus, near most of the school’s other athletic facilities. There are two entrances, and you can buy tickets at either. The main entrance is the tower entrance, which is at the southwest corner of the stadium. The other entrance is due north, at the northwest corner. The two-tiered seating behind the UAlbany sideline is on the west side of the field, closest to the entrances. Bleacher seating is behind the visitor’s sideline, and is mainly for fans supporting the visitors. Most seats on the UAlbany side are also bleachers, but there are some chairback seats in the middle three sections on the lower level. The only real concourse is on the UAlbany sideline; this is where food, bathrooms, and merchandise can be found.
Sitting in the 200’s (upper level on UAlbany side) provides a great vantage point. You are pretty much looking down on the field; this is where I would want to sit.
The Great Danes enter the field by running down a ramp on the north side of the stadium. This ramp splits berm seating into two sections. It’s kind of like a smaller scale Clemson entrance. At the south end of the stadium is a beautiful scoreboard, which has crystal clear video. This is probably the best aspect of Bob Ford Field.
There are several tailgates scattered throughout campus, and they were going strong twenty minutes before kickoff during my most recent visit. Near the SEFCU Arena, there are different UAlbany themed games and bouncy houses, mostly geared towards younger fans. There is also a live band in this area.
There are cheerleaders, and a good PA system. The stadium is brand new so everything works like it should. Overall, the atmosphere is extremely family friendly, which is a good thing. This is FCS football, and it should be fun.
There are a ton of restaurants and bars on Western Avenue, just across the way from the field. Crossgates Mall is also just down the road, a five minute drive, and downtown Albany is just ten minutes away. While not spectacular, this area holds pretty much any necessity you could ask for.
There was a solid turnout for this home finale of the inaugural season. The Great Danes had not won a conference game in 2013, but that did not seem to deter fans from showing up. While not overly outgoing, most fans sport purple and gold in support of their team. Touchdowns lead to good pops from the crowd, but other than that the fans are relatively ho-hum. All and all, it seems a lot of fans are there for the social aspect, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Bob Ford Field is easily accessed by the CDTA, as both the 10 and 11 lines will bring you right to campus and a five minute walk from the field. Parking is scattered throughout campus and there are signs telling which lots are full and where to go to.
Concourse flow is good and never seems to be too packed.
Return on Investment 3
Even though there are no real expensive tickets, the cheapest tickets are for the family berm. Each price level of ticket feels a bit overpriced. I would go for the 200 level, as this lets you sit with the home fans and get a great view of the game, while being cheaper than the 100 level tickets. Food pricing is fair, and you can take a family to the game without breaking the bank, which is definitely a good thing.
Seeing a game in a brand new stadium is always fun, one extra point there.
Seeing Bob Ford’s last home game after 40 years on the job was pretty cool, another point.
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