2021 CAA Football Stadium Rankings

Magic Box

With the first week of college football less than two weeks away, we at the WMSB thought it’d be fun to resurrect an age-old debate: which CAA school boasts the best football stadium?

So naturally, we spent an inordinate amount of time putting together a custom survey, distributing it to a representative sample of stadium-goers, having them score each stadium based on food & beverage, line wait times, restrooms, seat quality, atmosphere, and overall stadium quality.

Just kidding, we absolutely did not do that. Y’all do remember that we write the WMSB in our free time right? We have jobs, wives, lives, etc. But I digress. What I can promise you is a completely subjective list, designed to surprise and delight.

And whether you’re a Villanova, JMU, W&M fan or anything in between, we’re sure you’ll have fun with it.

Without further ado, roll Tribe roll.

12. Villanova Stadium (Villanova University Wildcats)

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Opened: 1927
  • Capacity: 12,500
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: Unavailable

WMSB Take: Just what can you say — this stadium was created in 1927, and some say you’ll be taken back in time when visiting. While ‘Nova boasts a great basketball team, one of the best in the nation in fact, they surely don’t treat their football team to the same type of facilities. Go there for a historical tour, but that’s about it.

11. Johnny Unitas Stadium (Towson University Tigers)

  • Location: Towson, MD
  • Opened: 1978
  • Capacity: 11,198
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $32 million

WMSB Take: Just sterile. Nothing too good and nothing too bad about it. And not for nothing, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen Towson come anywhere close to selling a majority of seats in the 11,000+ seat stadium. And that doesn’t mean anything for the stadium itself, but it certainly does for overall gameday atmosphere. Love the name of the stadium though — if this were a ranking on names alone, Towson would probably come in 1st. Unfortunately, this ranking is not that.

10. Meade Stadium (Rhode Island Rams)

  • Location: Kingston, RI
  • Opened: 1928
  • Capacity: 6,555
  • Surface: Grass
  • Construction Cost: Unavailable

WMSB Take: Certainly unique, to say the least. One massive grand stand sits across from another smaller one that quite literally leans into another athletic facility. The gaping end zones on each side leave one wanting for more, but the lack of a track certainly helps Rhode Island’s case for legitimacy here. Either way, this is not the look of a prototypical football stadium, to say the least. A+ for uniqueness though.

9. Alfond Stadium (Maine Black Bears)

  • Location: Orono, Maine
  • Opened: 1947
  • Capacity: 10,000
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $11 million (1998 renovation)

WMSB Take: How about that track! While we’re all for the powder blue color scheme, the track is a bit much when trying to take in a football game. As an FCS school though, we understand the cost-saving benefits that a track / football stadium combination provides. So we can’t knock them too much for that — but we can certainly knock them for the way it influences one’s taking in of a football game. The primary grandstand is by far the nicest part of this stadium, making Maine’s Alfond Stadium a nice place to take in a game.

8. Rhodes Stadium (Elon Phoenix)

  • Location: Elon, NC
  • Opened: 2001
  • Capacity: 11,250
  • Surface: Grass
  • Construction Cost: $17.6 million

WMSB Take: A quaint, relatively “new” facility compared to some of the other CAA stadiums — we’ve come around on Elon’s Rhodes Stadium in recent years. And to be honest, it’s not all that quaint, not by FCS standards at least. 11,000 seats is nothing to scoff at in the FCS. We’re also digging the traditional grassy hills that surround the field itself.

7. Richmond Stadium (University of Richmond Spiders)

  • Location: Richmond, VA
  • Opened: 2010
  • Capacity: 8,700
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $28 million

WMSB Take: Yes, although Richmond is W&M’s mortal rival, and yes, even though fellow CAA compatriots love to hate on the Spiders (looking at you JMU), it’s noncontroversial to say that Richmond’s campus is undeniably beautiful. And although Richmond’s stadium is one of the smallest in the CAA, its sleek, modern design nestled into one of the best campuses in the CAA makes for a great gameday experience every time (especially with Richmond loses…sorry, we couldn’t resist).

6. Delaware Stadium (Delaware Blue Hens)

  • Location: Newark, DE
  • Opened: 1952
  • Capacity: 22,000
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $1.64 million (original 1952 cost in 2016 dollars)

WMSB Take: Anything that the Blue Hens’ stadium lacks in amenities (built way back in 1952), it makes up for in sheer size. The second largest stadium in the CAA, Delaware Stadium pulls no punches in this department when compared with the rest of the league. With two large grandstands plus end zone seating, the Blue Hens have a stadium that could compete with some FBS schools; either that, or they’re just one expansion away from competing with some of the smaller facilities of the FBS. Gotta respect it.

5. Wildcat Stadium (University of New Hampshire Wildcats)

  • Location: Durham, NH
  • Opened: 1936
  • Capacity: 11,015
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $25 million (expansion cost)

WMSB Take: Recently renovated, New Hampshire’s stadium reminds us of William & Mary’s Zable Stadium. And of course, having mentioned at the onset that this ranking is completely subjective, this means we like UNH’s Wildcats Stadium. An elegantly designed large grandstand takes center-stage, as it should. We also like the subtle inclusion of the grassy hill in one of the end zones — akin to Elon’s similar design features in that regard. Not trying to do too much, Wildcat Stadium has certainly found a nice balance we can certainly get onboard with.

4. LaValle Stadium (Stony Brook Seawolves)

  • Location: Stony Brook, NY
  • Opened: 2002
  • Capacity: 8,300
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $29 million (in 2016 dollars)

WMSB Take: I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I absolutely love Stony Brook’s 360-degree design. What I mean by that is, the stadium’s seats quite literally wrap around the entirety of the stadium. No other CAA team can make this claim. And yes, this means that there are probably some terrible angles depending where you’re sitting (e.g. the corners), but it’s not hard to imagine how a fully-packed LaValle Stadium can get downright loud on gameday. Not long ago, W&M made the trek north to play Stony Brook for the Seawolves Homecoming game, and we can confirm that it was, indeed, loud. And how about that impressive endzone build out? Another rarity in this league.

3. Bob Ford Field (Albany Great Danes)

  • Location: Albany, NY
  • Opened: 2013
  • Capacity: 8,500
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $24 million

WMSB Take: There’s just something awesome about this stadium. The grandstand, immaculately designed with three distinct levels, looks great in purple and gold. Modern and ultra-sleek, the grandstand spills directly onto the field — no track in sight. The third smallest stadium in the CAA, one can expect a great gameday experience in Albany.

2. Zable Stadium (William & Mary Tribe)

  • Location: Williamsburg, VA
  • Opened: 1935
  • Capacity: 12,672
  • Surface: FieldTurf Pro
  • Construction Cost: $27 million (2016 renovation)

WMSB Take: Thought we’d put W&M #1? I mean, we had to be somewhat objective in this ranking, didn’t we? No, we actually didn’t, but we were anyway. The pristine Zable Stadium is historic, built in 1935, but it’s historic in a “good” way — completely different than the aforementioned Villanova Stadium (which has not aged well). Recently renovated with a brand new, massive grandstand, complete with suite-style seats, new concourse space, new food & bev stands, restrooms and more, Zable has certainly come into the 21st century with style. The brick-styled design of the stadium itself also blends well with the rest of William & Mary’s colonial campus, continuing to serve as the crown jewel of the athletics department in Williamsburg.

1. Bridgeforth Stadium (James Madison Dukes)

  • Location: Harrisonburg, VA
  • Opened: 1975
  • Capacity: 24,877
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $62 million (recent expansion cost)

WMSB Take: Situated in the second-best ‘Burg in the state of Virginia (after Williamsburg, of course), Bridgeforth Stadium presents an imposing environment for any opponent taking on the Dukes. Whether you’re a visiting W&M, Elon, or even North Dakota State, JMU boasts one of the best, most raucous FCS stadiums in the country (as much as it might pain W&M fans to admit it, it’s true). A massive, three-part grandstand is the stadium’s crowning feature, but its massive endzone seating area is nothing to scoff at too. Combine all of this with the highest capacity in the league and the Dukes’ long run of football success at the national level, and you have all the ingredients for this #1 ranking.

3 thoughts on “2021 CAA Football Stadium Rankings

  1. I’ve been to all of them except Albany. I’d kick Elon up a few notches and Stony Brook down a few. Towson has the best handicap parking with Delaware coming in second. JMU is just a different world in the CAA with a massive stadium (for the CAA) and a Big Ten game atmosphere (they actually fill up the stadium – occasionally) . I miss Northeastern which had a stadium in the suburbs (like in the middle of Walnut Hills in Williamsburg) where we parked on the street near the entrance for all three games we attended.

  2. Love the stadium review! Great post! My emotional ties to Zable Stadium/Cary Field over many years would make it trump any stadium anywhere.

  3. Elon should be higher. They have a beautiful setting in the natural bowl. Towson is one of the best for visitors. You park right at the entrance. I don’t particularly like any college football (or High School for that matter) stadium that has a track around it. The CAA has a lot of nice stadiums for FCS football.

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