The Florida University Panthers play their home football games at FIU Stadium tadium holding 19,000 people when filled to capacity. Opened in 1995, this venue is home to an underperforming team that has a less than enthusiastic fan base. It probably does not help that most teams in the Miami area suffer from having great difficulty in luring fans away from the beach and a host of other activities that one can participate in on Saturday afternoons. Couple that with a football team that is consistently out of the bowl picture within the first weeks of the season, and even a 19,000 seat stadium can begin to look rather empty.
It was just a few years ago that the Panther football program seemed to be on the rise, even leading some to draw comparisons to Boise State. Those predictions appear to have been premature, however, as even with a jump to Conference USA, Florida International University simply has been unable to field competitive sports teams, football included among these. That being said, some decent opponents are now coming to South Beach to play, so the hope is that the future can be bright once again.
Graphic via nationalbowl
When showing up at FIU Stadium, college football fans will probably immediately notice that the atmosphere is not up to par with that of other similarly placed venues around the country. One is just as likely to see fans show up at the game wearing jerseys from another major Florida team as they are to seen anyone actually representing the Panthers. Fraternities do seem to come out in force to support the team, but as the University itself is rather small, these fans are few and far between. In short, the team suffers from a dismal fan base that seems more interested in other teams than his or her own, but hopefully this will change if the new coach can bring in some new enthusiasm for the team moving forward. The stadium itself is on campus, and a beautiful one at that, which provides a great backdrop for a Saturday afternoon football game, so that alone makes this a worthwhile venue to visit if you find yourself in the area one fall weekend.
Getting to FIU stadium is not difficult at all, but traffic on the weekends can prove to be problematic. Whereas many cities around the country might die down on the weekends, Miami actually opens its arms even wider for business. Everyone has somewhere to go, and a football game is just one of more than a dozen major outdoor activities that might going on in the area on any given Saturday. As Florida International University rests right in the middle of all the action, it is not surprising that traffic tends to back up quite a bit right around the exist nearby the campus itself. To avoid this, leave early and tailgate. That is perhaps the most exciting aspect of the game, as FIU fans do tend to tailgate in respectable numbers, so go ahead and give it a shot yourself.
Graphic via facilities.fiu