Sanford Stadium – Georgia Bulldogs
The Big Dawg House
Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia is one of the true football palaces in the Southeastern Conference. Built in 1929, it has gone through 13 renovations and expansions over the years, bringing it to its’ present capacity of 92,746.This makes it the 5th largest on-campus stadium in the country. There are plans for expansion in the next five years to bring it to over 100,000 in capacity. Despite its’ huge size, the stadium does not overwhelm you when you first see it. This is due to it being built within a natural valley occurring within the University of Georgia campus.
The first game ever played in Sanford Stadium oddly offered two teams nicknamed the “bulldogs”… the University of Georgia and Yale University. Since that inaugural game, Georgia has won 5 SEC Division titles, 14 SEC Conference titles and 2 National titles
Food and Beverage 4
You will be well fed before during and after your visit to Athens. UGA has a program called “Let the Big Dawg Eat” which ensures that fans have an on-campus dining option for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the day of the game. Breakfast and pre-game options outside the stadium, but on the campus include a buffet breakfast beginning at 8:30 am in both the Bolton and Village Summit Dining Commons. At 10 am the meal offerings expand to the Taqueria 1785 food truck and the Food Court inside the Tate Student Center, which is located directly across the street from Sanford Stadium. Choices within the Food Court include Barberitos, Bulldog Burger, Chick Fil A, Panda Express and Niche Pizza. A Bulldog Grill Tent will be located outside on the Tate Plaza offering burgers, hot dogs and BBQ selections. The Student Center and its Food Court remain open until 10 pm on Saturday nights.
Once inside Sanford Stadium you will find concession facilities evenly distributed on each level and end of the stadium. General concession stands will carry the following items: BBQ sandwiches ($5.25), hot dogs ($3.00), and nachos ($4.00). Snack offerings include: boiled peanuts ($4.00), candy ($2.00), pretzels ($3.50) and popcorn ($3.50). Beverage selections include Coca Cola brand sodas-32 oz. ($4.00), Dasani bottled water-20 oz. ($4.00) and PowerAde- 20 oz. ($3.50). Alcoholic beverages are not allowed inside Sanford Stadium.The following specialty booths are also available within the stadium: Chick Fil A, Papa John’s Pizza and Sonny’s BBQ.
Upon arrival at Sanford Stadium, there are plenty of pre-game activities to enjoy. The Tate Student Center will have a number of booths selling all types of Bulldog paraphernalia and the Bulldog Walk into the stadium takes place 2 hours before the game. If you have a chance visit Butts-Mehre Hall prior to the game, as it houses the Bulldog Hall of Fame with memorabilia from the team’s glorious past, as well as an exhibit to the greatest Bulldog ever, Herschel Walker.
Once you have entered the stadium, you’ll be surrounded by 90,000 friends and neighbors. Chances are, as the state’s flagship university, you will definitely know many of the people in attendance. The Georgia Redcoat Marching Band always provides an excellent pre-game show. Finally, it’s time for the opening kickoff, which is marked by the cheer “Goooooo Dawgs…Sic’em, Woof, Woof, Woof”. The game is underway… enjoy the next three hours!
Athens has been the home to the University of Georgia since 1785. Unlike many college towns, there is no tension between the town and gown sides here. The only thing dividing the university and the city is Broad Street.
Athens is known as the Classic City, partially in deference to its sister city in Greece and due to the many cultural offerings it provides. The city has 15 neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places and its own Museum Mile. It is also known as a contemporary music mecca, as bands such as REM, The B-52’s and Widespread Panic got their start in Athens.
The culinary scene is very vibrant in the Classic City. Some of the restaurants to check out include Five and Ten and an Athens institution, The Varsity. The nightlife is quite lively, with the Georgia Theatre and the 40 Watt Club offering frequent concerts. The top craft brewery in town is Terrapin Beer Company .
Athens has a wide variety of lodging options as it hosts many academic conferences in addition to sports weekends. Two hotels within walking distance of Sanford Stadium are the Hotel Indigo-Athens and The Graduate-Athens.
The Bulldog Nation is amongst the most loyal fan bases in the country. UGA annually sells out its’ season ticket allotment and has finished in the top 10 schools in attendance for the last 23 years in a row. Georgia loves to hold special nights for its’ biggest rivals…. and its fans respond with nearly 100% participation for “black-outs” and “red-outs”, providing a monochromatic backdrop for the TV cameras. The call to battle before each game is a lone member of the Georgia Redcoat Marching Band standing atop the stadium playing a solo of “The Georgia Battle Hymn”. To outsiders, this sounds like the Battle Hymn of the Republic… to Georgia fans it equates to “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” or “Game On”. The response is deafening. Georgia fans also are known nationally for their refrain “How ‘Bout them Dawgs?”
The cheer squads keep the fan base engaged throughout the game with the help of two four legged friends; UGA X and Hairy Dawg. UGA has won several national titles as Best College Mascot in the Country. UGA’s are so revered on the Georgia campus that when they pass away they are given a funeral in the stadium and are interred in a mausoleum in the end zone with their own tombstone.
There are a variety of routes that lead to Athens including Highway 316 (University Parkway), Highway 78, Highway 441 and Highway 29. Each of these routes intersects with the Georgia 10 Loop, a road that encircles the city. The traffic plan on football Saturday is to utilize the Loop Road both before and after the games to enter and exit your parking area. This cuts down the traffic on the more narrow surface streets of Downtown Athens.
The lots closest to Sanford Stadium are reserved for season ticket holders and major donors. General lots on the main campus (North, Carlton and PAC) charge $20 on game days. The best option is to park for free on the East Campus and take the shuttle both to and from the game. Additional paid lots are in Downtown Athens for those who prefer to walk to the stadium.
Once at Sanford Stadium there are plentiful entry points. Concession stands are well placed throughout the stadium and concourses are wide enough to allow for easy navigation. Restrooms have been a source of fans complaints in past seasons, but the university upgraded and added additional facilities during the off season, significantly improving the situation.
Even with an excellent traffic plan and good facilities, fans need to realize that 90,000 additional people are in Athens on a football Saturday. This is not as much of a problem prior to the game as fans arrive over the space of several hours. After the game everyone leaves at the same time, resulting in greater traffic congestion. This is especially true of night games, as day games allow people the option to spend some time in downtown Athens while letting the traffic thin out.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Georgia games sell out well in advance of the season, so the secondary ticket market offers you the best opportunity to attend a game. Non-SEC games tickets are typically available for $30-50, while an SEC game ticket featuring Auburn, Alabama or Tennessee would cost $100 or more. Depending on where you choose to park, your cost will run from free to $40. Concessions are very reasonably priced both inside and outside Sanford Stadium. If you are traveling from the Atlanta area for a day game, overnight accommodations are not usually necessary. UGA does play several night games a year to accommodate network television, so an overnight stay may be required. Expect to pay a special event rate at area hotels in the range of $100-$250.
All UGA home games are referred to as being “between the hedges”. This refers to the Chinese privet hedges that encircle the playing field. The hedges evolved from a Georgia athletic official who saw the rose bushes that encircle the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Georgia does not have the right climate for growing roses, so the privet hedges have been a feature of the field since 1928. They have been removed only on one occasion… the 1996 Olympics. The soccer finals for both men and women were held at Sanford Stadium and the international width for a soccer field required they be removed. A new set of hedges was grown in secret years before the Olympics so they would be back in place and full-sized by the following football season. A secondary purpose of the hedges is that they are extremely prickly… this discourages students from storming the field after a big game.
The Georgia Museum of Art in downtown Athens is well worth checking out. While you are downtown, check out the more whimsical We Let the Dawgs Out! public art display throughout the area. This features statues of bulldogs decorated to represent Athens area attractions, businesses and organizations.
The University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band really keeps the fans fired up throughout the game. At halftime they show their versatility as they play everything from classical to pop tunes. UGA has a School of Music and it really shows when the band begins to play.
The Bulldogs play one of their most important games each year at a neutral site. The Georgia- University of Florida game is always held in Jacksonville, Florida. This provides the student body with an excellent excuse to skip school and hit the beach one last time while the weather is nice. The administration long ago gave up on holding classes after the Wednesday preceding the game. Officially the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” is no more… but you would be hard pressed to disprove it when walking through the tailgate area, which opens days before the game.
The game day atmosphere in Athens is excellent. From the moment you arrive in town or arrive on campus you know it is a Football Saturday in the South. The windows of the downtown stores have been painted by the sororities to reflect that week’s opponent and the city is decked out in red and black. Parties are taking place throughout the campus, adding to the festive feel. In the South football is a religion and students dress up for games, with men wearing ties and khakis and the coeds wearing dresses. Even if you are from the opposing team, you will be warmly greeted by the local fans.
Latest Crowd Reviews
Saturdays in the fall at Athens is a sight to behold. Georgia football is borderline religion here. The atmosphere is top notch, whether Georgia is playing one of their key SEC rivals or one of their &quottune-up&quot games. POSITIVES: The area around Georgia is a true college town. Plenty of restaurants are around while there are stores and such to make it a true day trip. The seating at the place is fine as you are close to the action, even for a 90,000 seat venue. The scoreboard is very nice as well. NEGATIVES: A lot of cement around the place as the stadium itself is not necessarily a modern gem. The food options are limited and if you&#039re a visiting fan regardless of the team, you aren&#039t necessarily treated that well. Overall, Georgia, much like the other SEC venues, is a must do just for the experience, even if the stadium itself isn&#039t the greatest around.
Sanford Stadium is the place to be to see college football on Saturdays. From the team to the city of Athens, the stadium exemplifies what college football should be. I would highly recommend watching a game at Sanford Stadium, because you will fall in love right away.