College Stadium Review: Gerald J. Ford Stadium

The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University call Gerald J. Ford Stadium home, and this is a great modern stadium of medium sized capacity. In short, is is a fantastic location for a football game on Saturdays in the fall! The relatively new stadium, by college standards at least, seats roughly 32,000 fans in a horseshoe shaped facility that is located directly on campus to the north of the Dallas Metro area. The stadium has more than 600 preferred club level seats, along with 24 luxury seats, and a three level press box that is a great size for this type of stadium. Even though it is still a young facility, upgrades are continually being made to enhance the fan experience, such as the addition of a brand new 32X43 video board in 2009. Even more recently than that has been the addition of a Hall of Champions Club that can sit 233 fans, and seven additional suites have been added, where fans can choose to sit either inside or outside.

Graphic via texasbob


Game day festivities outside Gerald J. Ford Stadium have some of the traditional tailgating parties taking place, but organizers have also worked hard through the years to create a unique fan experience as well. Because of this, many consider the pregame tailgating activities at SMU games to be among the best in the country, and that is some heft competition to be compared to. There is a decades long tradition of fans meeting along an area outside the stadium referred to as The Boulevard, which is where many of the fans start to gather hours before kickoff. The area is closed to traffic on game days, and it has become quite a spectacle to behold. You will find SMU area fans, alumni, and students all working hard to reserve their favorite spot on the boulevard. If you cannot reserve a spot, do not despair, as there is a big tent set up in the area complete with food and drink available at cost. There are also many activities for the children to take part in, so this is truly a family affair.

To be fair, the energy inside the stadium often correlates directly to how well the team is actually playing. The marching band and the student section are located on the visitor side of Gerald J. Ford Stadium, while the alumni and other donors sit on the home side of the field. This creates an interesting dynamic to say the least. Southern Methodist University itself is a beautiful campus, and the stadium is in the center of it all. Because of this, the backdrop make for a great stroll from the parking lot to the game, and there is not shortage of eating establishments in route if you want to grab something to eat rather than waiting until you get inside. The stadium itself is also easily accessible right off I-175, and it is also easily reached by public transportation given its close proximity to the Dallas downtown area. This is another stadium that college football fans really must add to their list, and it is a complete experience from beginning to end.

Graphic via wikipedia

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