My visit to Rice Stadium was one that I was looking forward to for many reasons. It is a stadium filled with a lot of history that many are not aware of. It has hosted a Super Bowl, College Bowl games, Presidential Speeches, 2 Division 1 university football teams and a NFL team. It is one of a few football only stadiums currently being used that has served in those capacities. On my visit to Rice Stadium, the Rice Owls were playing the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners. Having visited this campus to attend a basketball game at Tudor Fieldhouse, you cannot miss the presence of Rice Stadium.
Here are my thoughts on Rice Stadium
The stadium views when walking in give you a great feel of the venue. The Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center at the North end of the stadium is a nice upgrade to what is almost a 70 year old stadium. Also, the views from the seats are also amazing within Rice Stadium as there is not a bad seat in the house. The respect for history is also on notice within the venue as their All-Americans and Bowl appearances are displayed all over the stadium.
The ticket pricing is very reasonable for their games as tickets are as low as $20 at any given home game. The concession prices are inexpensive based on larger venues. Also, the parking is the cheapest I have witnessed at a Division 1 university at $5.
This is also a stadium of choice for any wine connoisseurs out there. There are over a dozen locations where you can purchase and partake in a nice glass of wine from various vineyards. The Taste of Texas is also prevalent inside of venue as you can find BBQ and Burgers all over the concession areas.
For all of the history that this stadium has, it is lacking a lot of the bells and whistles to make it appealing to the modern fans. The fan attendance was very low at this game but that can be due to the up and down seasons from the football team. The morale and vibrance was missing and the band did not help uplift the crowd in attendance.
The fan engagement was also lacking in the stadium. There were not many activities to get the crowd involved in the game. The fans of UTSA controlled the crowd as they were active throughout the game. They had their chants in full swing and their band played to the occasion.
Throughout my visits to venues all over the country, my must have item to commemorate my visit is a souvenir cup. So once I discovered that they did not exist, that left me with a sour taste. Regardless of program relevance, there has to be some items available that the fans can take home as commemorative items to remember their visit. This is an easy fix that must be corrected because the cups are walking billboards for the program and university.
Overall Game Day Experience
I would give Rice Stadium a 6 out of 10. It is a historic stadium located on the beautiful campus of Rice University. It is a stadium too large for its primary tenant and makes it hard to create a true home advantage. The ticket and parking pricing is amazingly low which adds to the experience but cannot carry it. The fanbase is lacking so they need to exploit the few bright spots that they have. I would recommend anyone to visit this stadium based on its historic value but do not expect to be blown away once you arrive.