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North Texas stadium fumbles among worst football venues in college sports

North Texas stadium fumbles among worst venues in college sports

Apogee Stadium at UNT
Parking can be frustrating at Apogee Stadium, fans say. Photo by Jonny Carroll

University of North Texas football fans may filter into Apogee Stadium to root on the Mean Green, but they're probably not cheering for the stadium itself. 

Based in part on online reviews, Apogee Stadium fields a No. 31 ranking among the 40 worst stadiums in college football, according to a new list from personal finance website MoneyWise. The website weighed other factors, such as gameday attendance, to rate college football stadiums in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

The Denton stadium, which opened in 2011, suffers from lackluster attendance and frustrating gameday parking, according to MoneyWise. UNT “has struggled to find its footing in the venue,” the website says.

On a positive note, Apogee Stadium is one of the only LEED-certified stadiums in the country, the report says. And the team's record has improved over the years.

But the team barely draws 20,000 spectators per game (capacity is 30,800), and parking is "the pits," it says. "If you need to park on game day," advises one Yelper, "go to the eastern part of the campus and walk over. It will save you time, anger, and the fear of getting towed.”

Apogee Stadium lands in the ranking between San Diego State University's SDCCU Stadium, at No. 32, and University of Colorado's Folsom Field, at No. 30.

But the news is worse for two other Texas stadiums. 

The Alamodome in San Antonio fumbles as the third worst stadium overall. MoneyWise flags the 64,000-seat Alamodome for the vast number of empty seats at many UTSA home football games and for poor views of the field from numerous vantage points. “I probably would have been better off watching the game at home,” quotes MoneyWise of one Roadrunners fan.

The only venues that scored lower rankings than the Alamodome  are the University of Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (No. 2) and Vanderbilt University’s Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville (No. 1).

In 2010, when the City of San Antonio approved a contract for UTSA to play football at the Alamodome, the university’s athletics director praised it as “one of the best football stadiums in the country.” UTSA’s football team debuted in 2011.

MoneyWise isn’t alone in its critique of the Alamodome. News website grades the 26-year-old venue as the worst football stadium in Texas, and the Bleacher Report sports website cites it as one of the 25 “dumbest” stadiums ever built. The City of San Antonio built the stadium, which opened in 1993, at a cost of $186 million.

MoneyWise also tackles Rice University’s Rice Stadium in Houston as one of the worst.

On its scoreboard of shame, Rice Stadium lands at No. 7. The website notes that the Owls play in a 47,000-seat stadium that’s often half-empty, making for a less-than-thrilling gameday experience.

“The stadium dates back to 1950, and its upper bowl, in particular, has been poorly maintained. Fans say upgrades are long overdue,” MoneyWise says of the home of the Rice Owls.