College Stadium Review: Davis Wade Stadium

At 101 years old, Davis Wade Stadium is the second older on campus football stadium in the entire FBS.  Home to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the stadium first opened back in 1914, and the current seating capacity is just over 61,000. Over the years, multiple changes have occurred within the scope of the stadium itself, such as in 1936 when the WPA workers began to construct stands on the west wide of the football field, which brought the capacity at that time to a very respectable 20,000 fans. The most attended game in Bulldogs history came during the 2014 season. At that time, Mississippi State was the number 3 team in the country, and they played host to no. 2 Auburn University. The attendance that day was marked at 62,945 and it was the first time in Bulldogs history that they were able to play host to ESPN’s College GameDay. The stadium has recently completed a renovation, and the crowds are now bigger and louder than ever, further enhancing the fan experience at Davis Wade Stadium.

Graphic via jmarkreed
Win or lose, the atmosphere brought to the stadium by Mississippi State fans is contagious. In fact, the late 1990s saw the bulldogs be recognized year after year as being one of the toughest road games in the SEC, and indeed the entire nation. Admittedly, that did change somewhat after more than a decade of losing seasons, but the recently completed stadium and the rise of the football team once again, rising to number one at one recent junction, has returned that same energy and passion to Davis Wade Stadium once again. If you were to attend a game there, you will likely notice straight away that the fans are heavily involved in the game from opening kickoff, and they stay that way throughout.  Much of this credit can be given to changes that the athletic department made to the in-game music, videos, and promotional advertising that began with the 2013 season. This has reenergized the fan base and has brought much more enthusiasm to the games than one present before.  
Fans at Mississippi State are known to be loud. They even ring cowbells throughout the game, but have gotten a bit carried with that tradition to the point that the SEC has moved to ban their use at much as they could. Access to the stadium is a bit tricky, but this is largely because the venue itself has been at the same location for an entire century. Up until about ten years ago, the only way to get to the stadium was via a two lane highway, but the government has since altered traffic flow around the city via Highway 82 to make it easer to get to the University. Once arriving, one might be struck by the seemingly high cost of parking at $20 per vehicle – that is if you can find a spot. Now that fans can get to the stadium with relative ease, there seems to be an issue with actually leaving. There is a huge bottleneck at the end of every game, which might be understandable given that the entire population of the surrounding city can fit in the stadium on game day three times over and still have 10,000 empty seats. All of that being said, this is a great venue to visit and watch a collegiate football game, and it should be on every fans bucket list.


Graphic via hailstate

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