Carter-Finley Stadium – North Carolina State Wolfpack
Running With The Pack
North Carolina State University is the flagship school in the North Carolina University System. It has a student body of more than 33,000 students and it educates more North Carolinians than any other school in the state. Though established as a land grant university, it is now better known for its engineering, technology and biomedical programs. The central campus for NC State is in downtown Raleigh, just a few blocks from the State Capitol.
The athletic teams at NC State go by the name of the Wolfpack, and Carter-Finley Stadium serves as the wolf’s den for the football program. Built in 1966, it has a capacity of 57, 588. It has gone through major renovations in both 2001 and 2006. These renovations added the Vaughn Towers, multi-level facility housing 51 luxury suites, 955 club seats and areas for the media. They also included the construction of a fan plaza, the installation of a large video board and an increase in the number of concession areas.
The football program marked its 125th anniversary in 2017 and Carter-Finley celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016. In this period, the Wolfpack have won 7 ACC Championships and participated in 30 bowl games.
Food & Beverage 4
Food and beverage selections at Carter-Finley Stadium are your standard football fare, as all of the concession stands are managed by NCSU’s Campus Enterprises. Their menu includes BBQ sandwiches ($6), hot dogs ($3), Chick Fil A sandwiches ($6), pizza ($5), peanuts ($4),popcorn ($4),cotton candy ($4), nachos ($4),Coca Cola products ($4), and bottled water ($4). The stands are located frequently enough that there are little or no lines to deal with.
Located in the Research Triangle, NC State provides a great football experience amid a basketball-centric region. Carter Finley uses bright red highlights throughout the stadium and features many wolf -related references. The team enters the field prior to the games through a cave-like structure called the Wolf’s Den. During the entrance they are serenaded by the Power Sound of the South Marching Band playing the NC State fight song. The cheer squad has not one, but two mascots, with both male and female Wolves leading the cheers. Wolf howls are repeated so much during the game that you feel like you are on the “Thriller” set.
There is not a bad seat in the house, as Carter-Finley features the closest sidelines to the stands in the ACC. If you want to be comfortable in that seat it is a good idea to bring a seat cushion with you, as Carter- Finley features metal bench seating.
The neighborhood surrounding Carter Finley Stadium is primarily the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, as NC State’s main sports facilities are located off the main academic campus. Football is located at Carter Finley Stadium, while the Wolfpack basketball team plays at the PNC Arena adjacent to the football stadium. This allows the two facilities to share the parking lot and other support operations. These venues are approximately 3 miles from the main campus in downtown Raleigh, which limits your dining and lodging choices near the stadium. There are two exceptions… the Comfort Suites Arena is across the street from Carter Finley Stadium and the Hyatt Place Raleigh West is also close by. The Backyard Bistro Sports Bar and Spirits Pub and Grub are great choices for post-game celebrations.
The Pack Backers fill Carter-Finley Stadium regardless of the team record. Most of the Wolfpack players are from North Carolina, so the fans have been aware of their football exploits since high school. This familiarity factor has built a bond between the players and the fans.
The fans in Raleigh are exceedingly nice to visitors and fill them in on the players as well as good places to eat around the stadium. However, the fans are very tough on the referees, resulting in warnings from the conference office after several incidents.
If you ask an NC State fan who their most intense rival is, you are likely to get several answers. Both Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill are less than 20 miles from Carter Finley Stadium. What Wolfpack fans do agree on is that they love to play a spoiler role by upsetting traditional conference powers Clemson and FSU. They have accomplished this on several occasions in recent years.
The accessibility at Carter – Finley Stadium is excellent. Getting to and from the stadium is very easy, as it is located just off I-40. It’s separation from the main academic campus allows for a much better traffic flow, as downtown Raleigh traffic can be very congested. The parking immediately adjacent to the stadium is by permit only for season ticket holders. However, there is excellent parking for the remaining crowd in the Veterinary School’s parking area. Shuttles run constantly from this location and bring the students over from the academic campus. North Carolina State also partners with WAZE to provide game day traffic reports and suggestions of alternative routes to the stadium for fans headed to the game. Duke, UNC and NC State work together in trying to avoid mutual home dates, in order to prevent traffic gridlock.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to NC State games have a dual pricing system of $35 for non-conference games and $75 for ACC games. You can expect to pay above face value for tickets that feature the two other Research Triangle schools (Duke and UNC), whose campuses are just a few miles away. Parking in the Veterinary School lots is $20 per car. There is a wide selection of hotels in all price ranges between Raleigh and the RDU Airport.
There are many activities available in the NCSU/Greater Raleigh area:
If you are in town on a weekday, the NC State Wolfpack Hall of Fame is well worth a visit. Located in the historic Reynolds Coliseum on the main campus, it houses a two-story museum covering the history of Wolfpack sports. It features exhibits on the great NC State basketball heritage and the Wolfpack’s gridiron success on the football field, information on many of the Wolfpack traditions and a salute to members of the Wolfpack Hall of Fame.
The West façade of Carter-Finley stadium features the names of Wolfpack players who have had their numbers retired. Some of the more familiar names in this group include Roman Gabriel, Phillip Rivers and Russell Wilson.
Carter-Finley Stadium has hosted concerts from some of the world’s most famous bands. These include The Who, the Rolling Stones, U2 and Beyoncé.
NC State has received numerous national accolades for its’ Carter-Finley playing surface. Its’ Bermuda grass turf meets the USGA standards for putting greens (i.e. a smooth and true playing surface.)
As befits a school whose mascot is an animal, the NCSU Veterinary program has been ranked as the third best in the country by US News and World Report.
The Wolves Den at NC State has proven to be a very intimidating stadium for visiting teams. This is due to the roar of the crowd, the constant wolf howls and the fact that the stands are the closest to the sidelines of any stadium in the ACC.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Out of the North Carolina schools in the ACC, NC State probably has the best college football atmosphere. Ironic because the Wolfpack are often forgotten with the whole Duke/UNC rivalry even in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. The place is big and it is very unique, using their mascot a good bit for some unique designs. POSITIVES: NC State as I mentioned really uses their Wolfpack mentality of coming out the tunnel in like a &quotcave&quot setting while the &quotwolves howl&quot when the Pack scores a touchdown. Adding on, everything is red, silver, and black for the architecture. And despite it being a fairly big venue, there isn&#039t really a bad seat in the place and nothing to warrant a nosebleed. Prices were reasonable and the fans were supportive. Not much more to ask. NEGATIVES: While the food variety was there, it wasn&#039t like you were getting the best cuisine around. Yes, there was barbecues, and then you have wraps and pitas while cheese fries (which I had and was underwhelmed). Also, the east sideline probably needs an upgrade as it was just a plain cement bowl on that side with a deck. They could do an upgrade there. Overall, Carter-Finley Stadium was fine. It does stand out a good bit, far better than their local rivals in Durham and Chapel Hill. Maybe another upgrade on the one sideline and an improvement on their food would go a long way with this place.
This isn’t quite a top notch college football stadium, but it’s definitely one of the top in the area. This isn’t an SEC quality or anything amazing, but it’s a solid stadium that should absolutely be on any football fan’s bucket list.
Best football atmosphere in NC.
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