Nottingham Field – Northern Colorado Bears
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Nottingham Field is a 6,500 seat stadium located in Greeley, Colorado. It is home to the Northern Colorado Bears. The stadium was constructed in 1995 and has two sets of stands. The main stand is on the western side of the field including the press boxes. The east side has smaller bleachers and contains the student section. The main ticket sales office is located on the east side of the stadium. The eastern side seems modern with nice restrooms, concession stands, and a wider concourse.
The Bears of Northern Colorado played their games in division two for a long time and were a powerhouse at that level of play. They won back to back national championships in 1996 and 1997. They routinely finished near the top of their division and were a perennial playoff contender. When the old North Central conference disbanded, the Bears spent a year as a D2 independent before moving up to the FCS division. They played two years in the Great West conference before moving to the Big Sky conference. They’ve had a rough go of it at the FCS level routinely finishing near the bottom of their conference.
Food & Beverage 4
The main concession stands offer a good variety for this stadium. Fans can enjoy standard fare such as burgers, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, and candy for a moderate price. Other stands offer Papa John’s pizza at two slices for six dollars and value meals. The value meals or Grillin’ Bear combos as they’re called at Nottingham are the way to go. For a price range of $7-$7.75, fans can get chips, a drink, and your choice of a main dish. Main dishes include a bratwurst, cheesesteak, hamburger, or a garden burger. Although these drink sizes are a bit smaller, it is worth going to this stand for a combo meal vs ala cart which could set you back ten or so dollars.
One surprising fact about Nottingham Field is that beer is sold here. Fans can buy a variety of bottles and cans as well as Coors products on draft. More and more stadiums are selling alcohol at their stadiums but it was surprising to see it sold at an FCS stadium.
Pepsi products are sold here and a fountain drink costs $3.50. All in all, a family can have a meal here and not break the bank. Tailgating is allowed outside the stadium though with 6,500 or less fans there, it seems pretty awkward due to the lack of tailgaters there.
For fans lucky enough to go to the High Plains club inside the stadium, a wide variety of food and drink is offered. This club is a small step for Northern Colorado in their goal to make Nottingham a D1 experience.
The atmosphere here seems laid back and dull. The fans cheer at the right times and the band is lively but the stadium ambiance seems small time yet. The stadium itself looks like a top notch high school stadium and the atmosphere seems like it. One fun fact about the band is they played all the songs for each branch of the military.
The best place to enter the stadium is through the north end zone. The gates are wide and lines move quickly. Fans can walk to the edge of the end zone and watch the players warm up. The field area is roped off but it is a fun touch. Also, fans can line up by the east stands and watch Northern Colorado run onto the field. Not many fans chose to do this so I had a front row spot.
If fans were to pick a good spot to sit, I would suggest the western or eastern stands towards the south side of the stadium. With nothing to block out the sun, fans in the northern edge of the stands had better bring a hat and sunglasses. The scoreboard is on the southern side of the stadium but can be seen from virtually anywhere.
Greeley is a small town but has a lot of food and drink options nearby. There are lots of fast food restaurants nearby Nottingham Field, including Subway, Taco John’s, McDonald’s and more under a mile away. For a sit down restaurant, check out Old Chicago. This restaurant has over 100 local and national beers as well as good Italian food offerings. This restaurant has great pizza and you can try some beers cheaply by sampling rather than ordering a pint.
Nottingham Field is located on the campus of Northern Colorado and the campus has a small town feel. The campus is walkable and I’d suggest it on a fall afternoon. Parking by the stadium is ample but you get the feeling of merely going to the stadium and going home.
Northern Colorado has averaged anywhere from 3,500 – 4,500 fans each year and the stadium looks like it each game. The student section seems empty most games. Some students who do attend the games seem to leave at halftime. If Northern Colorado can turn it around on the field, this lack of attendance issue can change pretty quickly.
Fans on the western side seem into the game more than the students. They cheer good plays and scoring plays. There weren’t any recognizable cheers during the game besides the times the scoreboard was encouraging the crowd to get loud.
Greeley is a bit off the beaten path. It is easy to access from Interstate 25 as well as US highway 87. If taking the interstate, state highway 34 will lead you right into Greeley. US 87 takes you into Greeley from the north or from Denver. Mass transit isn’t viable when traveling into Greeley so driving is your best bet.
Parking is plentiful in the lots by Nottingham Field. The stadium shares the same lot as the basketball arena next door. The lot next to the field costs ten dollars and the one further out costs five dollars. Street parking can be had for free if you are early enough. As with any area by a stadium, watch the street signs carefully. I usually pay the five dollar fee and take the short hike in. Traffic isn’t bad going in or leaving the stadium. For a crowd of 4,000, traffic is a breeze. Taking campus students out of the equation, you are competing with 600-1,000 cars and the lots empty smoothly. If wanting to beat the traffic, you can stand by the north gate and watch the last part of the game to beat the crowd out.
Return on Investment 2
Tickets here start at $15 and go up to $45. Given the level of play, this hardly seems worth it. For the same prices, you can see Colorado State or Air Force instead. The food is good and cheap but doesn’t make up for the high cost of tickets. As long as you aren’t sitting in the main sections by the press box, fans are able to move around with ease. My suggestion is to buy a cheap seat on the southeast side of the stadium. Since it is a smaller stadium, there are no bad seats at Nottingham.
There aren’t many extras to be had at Nottingham stadium. A bonus point is given to the proximity of the field. Another bonus point is given for the cleanliness of the bathrooms. Even during the game, they stayed immaculately clean.
For a decent, no frills place to see a game, Nottingham Field is a good place to see a game. The ticket prices could come down some to draw more fans and make the experience worth it. That being said, easy in and out access, good food, and being close to the field are plusses. If you are a diehard fan or have nothing to do on Saturday, Northern Colorado football is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
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