Bob Ford Field at Casey Stadium – Albany Great Danes
Highway to the Daneger Zone
After a 46 year absence, football returned to the University of Albany in 1970 as a club sport. The school elevated the team to varsity status in 1973. The Great Danes competed in Division Three for over two decades, eventually moving to the FCS subdivision of Division One football in 1999. Throughout this time, the team was led by head coach Bob Ford, and played at the 10,000 seat University Field.
The University opened a new 8,500 seat stadium in 2013, which they named for the only coach the Great Danes had ever known. After a $10 million gift from the Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation in 2015, the name of the stadium was changed to Bob Ford Field at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium. It’s a mouthful, and you will hear the facility referred to as both Ford Field and Casey Stadium.
The Great Danes have won six conference titles since beginning play in Division One. The team has appeared once in the FCS playoffs, losing their only game. Several UAlbany alumni have gone on to professional careers in the National Football and Canadian Football Leagues.
Food & Beverage 3
While the concessions at Casey Stadium won’t blow you away, there is a decent variety of food available for hungry Great Dane fans.
There are a pair of small concession stands on the concourse of Casey Stadium which offer your basic stadium fare. Options include Nathan’s hot dogs, chicken tenders, pizza slices and nachos. Some more unique offerings are the macaroni and cheese and beef brisket.
A pair of portable tents from local favorite Nicos Café serve up gyros, pockets, souvlaki and humoli. Fans looking to satisfy a sweet tooth should head over to the Ben and Jerry’s tent.
Pepsi products are featured at Casey Stadium. There is a beer garden in the south end zone, where fans can enjoy adult beverages, including Miller Lite and Labatt Blue.
The game day atmosphere at Casey Stadium is similar to most of the smaller football stadiums that dot the northeast. There is a reserved tailgating scene before the game, where longtime dedicated fans meet up in the lots right outside the stadium week after week.
The small marching band performs throughout the game, and the staff utilize their talent instead of piping in music during most play stoppages. There is a cheerleading squad and dance team who entertain the fans. While there are a decent amount of students roaming around Casey Stadium, there is no organized student section here.
The large grassy berm beyond the north end zone is packed with kids and buzzes with activity throughout the game. T-shirts are tossed into the berm after every Albany score, and there are numerous contests and giveaways throughout the game to keep the casual fan interested. The berm is split in half by a ramp utilized by the Great Danes as they enter and exit the field. The team enters the field at the beginning of the game through a cloud of purple smoke.
The $1.1 million, 39 foot by 22 foot Daktronics scoreboard located beyond the south end zone anchors the game day presentation at Casey Stadium. It’s put to great use throughout the game, with replays, fan cams and social media updates posted throughout the game.
The University of Albany is located away from the city’s downtown, out by the Albany International Airport on the northwestern edge of the city. Downtown Albany is located just a ten minute drive from campus.
The area around campus is quite busy, with many dining and lodging options a short drive from campus. A list of hotels within a half mile of campus can be found here. While Albany may not be known as a top foodie destination, there are many options throughout the city. City Line Bar and Grill is a popular gathering place for Great Dane fans. Fans looking for shopping options should head over to the nearby Crossgates Mall.
Albany averages around 6,000 fans per game at Casey Stadium, which ranks them in the bottom third of the Colonial Athletic Association. Larger crowds are common for opening night and homecoming.
Great Dane fans are pretty typical of northeast college football fans. While they are dedicated and knowledgeable, they are pretty laid back while taking in the action. You won’t find a rowdy scene here at Albany. Most of the buzz at Casey Stadium comes from the many children in attendance, who pack the berm with noise and activity throughout the game.
The University of Albany is located away from the city’s downtown, on the northwestern edge of New York’s capital city. Located at the junction of Interstates 90 and 87, the campus is easily accessed by car.
Fans utilizing public transportation will be pleased to know that several routes of the CDTA (Capital District Transportation Authority) stop at or near campus. Check out the CDTA website for routes, fares and times.
Casey Stadium is located on the southern edge of campus, near the university’s other athletic facilities, including SEFCU Arena and Varsity Field. A drawback to the stadium’s location is the lack of parking lots in the immediate vicinity, but there is ample parking a short walk from the facility. Shuttle busses run throughout the campus to transport fans to the stadium from more distant lots.
There are two entrances to Casey Stadium, one on each end of the main concourse, which runs along the western edge of the field. Most of the seating is located on this side of the field, consisting mainly of metal bleachers without backs. There are 629 chair back seats clustered around the 50-yard line. Additional bleachers are located along the eastern side of the field. A large grassy berm rings the northern end zone, which is split in half by a ramp utilized by the Great Danes as they enter and exit the field. Party tents line field level along the southern end zone.
The main concourse is quite narrow for a newer facility, and can get crowded during halftime. Restrooms are large and clean. Paved paths provide easy access to most parts of the stadium.
Return on Investment 3
The University of Albany utilizes variable pricing for its football games, so ticket prices may vary for your selected game. Tickets to Great Dane football games range in price from $15 for berm seating to $40 for chair back seats, with the majority of the seating priced between $20 and $30. Fans wishing to splurge can purchase gold level seats for $100. Check out the UAlbany’s ticketing home page for more details.
The Great Danes offer deals for selected games, including a 4 for $44 offer. Fans can take in the game from field level in the end zone for $30, which includes two drink tickets and access to the party tents located in the south end zone.
Parking in the lots located throughout campus will cost an additional ten dollars. Shuttle busses are available for fans not wanting to take the walk from the lots to the stadium. Concession prices are in line with other facilities in the area.
An extra point is awarded for the amount of giveaways available throughout the game. All fans can pick up stat sheets, rosters, posters and schedules upon entry to Casey Stadium. T-shirts are tossed into the stands throughout the game and after every Great Dane score.
A second extra point is awarded for the recognition of Bob Ford, who took the Great Dane football program from club status in 1970 to the opening of their new home in 2013. More than 100 coaches who learned their trade under Ford went on to be high school, college or professional coaches.
As a rule, college football is not the big deal in the northeast that it is in other parts of the country. Most facilities reflect this lack of emphasis on the sport, but in Casey Stadium the University of Albany has a modern, attractive facility that is the perfect size for this program, and worth a visit from any college football fans visiting the Capital District.
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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.