FAU Stadium – Boca Raton Bowl
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Bowl Time in Boca
Take two teams from mid-tier conferences, pit them against each other at a football stadium used by a mid-tier team located in a part of South Florida just outside of the major metropolitan areas, and you get yourself the Boca Raton Bowl. Despite the bleak outlook, there is more than meets the eye to this often-laughed at bowl game.
Food & Beverage 4
The food options at the Boca Raton Bowl are actually quite impressive, and the prices are not that high compared to most major sporting events. A burger, soda, and fries will cost less than $15, which in stadium terms is a steal, especially at a televised bowl game.
What sets the Boca Raton Bowl apart is the wonderful bar that is on the main concourse that makes up the Delray Hyundai Deck. This full-service bar features TV screens, a nice aesthetic, and other smaller food vendors next to it that make it easy to grab a beer, an arepa, and some fries, all in one area. Another plus is the convenience of the concessions locations on the lower levels – you never have to walk too far to find somewhere to grab food, which can be an issue at other locations.
The other side of FAU Stadium opposite the party deck features a full-service Subway location, complete with restaurant-style seating inside an air-conditioned storefront. This year saw the addition of a Chick-Fil-A stand on the main concourse of the sun deck, as well as another Subway stand.
Yes, a college bowl game already comes with a minimum level of excitement…it is a bowl game, after all. However, when the two teams playing are from Conference USA and the MAC, it’s a little hard to get the energy rolling. Most of the teams in these conferences are smaller programs in smaller cities, and therefore have a smaller fan base that is unwilling to travel. In fact, in the Boca Raton Bowl’s first two years of existence, despite having a sellout the first year and a near-sellout the second, the actual butts-in-seats count is below that, leaving large open areas in FAU Stadium that look bad on television – that lack of fans means a much lower noise level.
Perhaps if a larger team that has a bigger following were to play in the Boca Raton Bowl, the fan base would be much larger in attendance. The most recent game however featured FAU, the home team for FAU Stadium (where the Boca Raton Bowl is played), so the crowd was larger than in years past, as was the fan energy and support.
Boca Raton is a beautiful part of Palm Beach County. In addition, FAU’s campus is clean, South Florida-esque in appearance, and overall visually appealing. Not far from the campus is a beautiful strip shop that plays host to a PF Chang’s, J. Alexander’s, Shake Shack, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and more. Equidistant to the east of campus is the Atlantic Ocean. There, you can find a beautiful beach, as well as the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, where visitors can get a look at some of coastal Florida’s natural habitats and inhabitants, thanks to boardwalks through the mangroves and natural butterfly gardens.
Near the beach, hotels are easy to find. The official hotel of the most recent game was the Wyndham Boca Raton, just on the other side of I-95 from Florida Atlantic University’s campus. Another close place to stay is Renaissance Boca Raton right next door.
What Boca Raton lacks in nightlife more commonly found in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the area more than makes up for in relaxation. In addition, Palm Beach International Airport isn’t far from Boca Raton, with Fort Lauderdale and Miami less than an hour away, as well.
The fans of the teams who play in the Boca Raton Bowl are usually sparse and leave open areas in the seating. However, this is college football and the passion of the fans is palpable. This year’s crowd cheered on their teams with fervor, impressing many with how dedicated they were.
Indeed, the Boca Raton Bowl features lower-tier teams, but the people who come to the game are very loyal and leave nothing to question as to who they are there supporting. The most recent matchup had the advantage of seeing the home team, FAU, play in the bowl, but even that event was not enough to register anywhere near a sellout for the game.
Getting to FAU Stadium is easy to do – unlike several sports teams and colleges where the campus stadiums are miles away from the highway exits, the home of the Boca Raton Bowl is quite literally bordered by I-95 in Boca Raton. Also, just a few miles west is the Florida Turnpike.
Once off the exit from I-95, the FAU campus is immediately visible. Parking is quite plentiful, and even if you get stuck in a lot or garage that is a little further from FAU Stadium, the walk is not very far and is through a beautiful campus. Parking on site is $20 per car.
Return on Investment 4
As the game is one of the early bowl games and not as big of a spectacle, tickets are less expensive than usual. That said, it won’t break the bank to go see a college bowl game. Tickets can be found for less than $50 face value, and secondary markets like Ticket Monster usually have an abundance of tickets and parking passes.
If you are a fan or alumni of one of the participating schools, there are various fan zones and alumni parties that also take place on game day, giving you multiple options for celebrating with fellow die-hards, thanks to special ticket packages.
In addition, if you want a family fun atmosphere, the Boca Raton Bowl is perfect. Not too long of a drive to be within manageable driving distance from both South Florida and the Treasure Coast, the easy-going vibe at the game makes it perfect to bring the little ones to.
The fan zones outside are chock-full of freebies. From giveaways to concerts, fans can get tons of swag from the various booths outside FAU Stadium. Another bonus is the addition of charging stations – FAU Stadium recently added mobile charging stations to recharge your phone or tablet at the game, making it very convenient to get a power boost for your device. And after you get that boost, take a photo and post it to Instagram, and it may show up on the big screen – the Boca Raton Bowl showcases fan photos throughout the game on FAU Stadium’s jumbotron, giving you the chance to be famous for about 10 seconds.
Arguably one of the coolest things for die-hard football fans at the Boca Raton Bowl is the frequent appearance of legendary college football coach Howard Schnellenberger. Always gracious with the fans, this one-time coach of FAU football now visits the games with frequency at FAU Stadium, especially the Boca Raton Bowl. Fans can also grab a photo next to the statue of him just inside one of the main entrances.
If you are willing to drive the distance to Boca Raton, then you are in for an easy-going treat. No, the crowd may not have FAU Stadium bursting at the seams, and no, it may not be the biggest roar you’ve ever heard when one of the teams scores as you sit in an open section of the stadium. But you will not often find a college bowl game with affordable food, tickets, and easy access for fans that won’t stress you out.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
J. Alexander’s Restaurant
1400 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Wyndham Boca Raton
1950 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
2000 NW 19th St
Boca Raton, FL 33431
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