Stadium Journey released their rankings of all 128 FBS stadium experiences, which can be found here, and Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium checked in at No. 47. Notre Dame Stadium claimed the top spot. The highest rated stadium in the Pac-12 was Oregon's Autzen Stadium at No. 13. Rice-Eccles was ranked ninth out of all of the Pac-12 stadium. The article, written by Paul Swaney, states how they rate each stadium.
"This season, we visited 56 of the 128 FBS college football stadiums to provide updated coverage. We'll continue to visit each FBS stadium every 2-3 years to ensure we have updated information for sports travelers. Our ranking of the stadium experiences in college football is based on the rating of our official correspondents. We've included the food & beverage inside the stadium, the overall atmosphere, the neighborhood where the stadium resides, the fans, access to and inside the stadium , overall return on investment, and an "extras" category for any unique features not covered adequately in our other categories. Where ties exist, we use the ratings of our members. We encourage you to share your experiences and opinions of any venues you've visited."
For Rice-Eccles Stadium, Swaney had this to say,
"RES is a great place to watch a football game, and there is plenty of excitement both inside and outside the stadium, including the Ute Walk and Olympic Cauldron Park. Fans who arrive at least 2 ½ hours early can watch the marching band lead the team down 500 South to the stadium, accompanied by the Spirit Team, a group of cheerleaders who hand out t-shirts and other souvenirs to their adoring fans during the walk."
Aaron S. Terry, a Stadium Journey Special Correspondent, wrote the review for Rice-Eccles Stadium. In his review, Rice-Eccles received three stars for food and beverages, four stars for atmosphere, four stars for neighborhood, four stars for fans, three stars for access, four stars for return on investment, and five stars for extras, giving an overall FANFARE score of 3.9.
Terry's final thoughts on Rice-Eccles were as follows,
Visiting RES is well worth the trip, given the historic significance, the wonderful fan base, the vibrant atmosphere, the mountain scenery, and the opportunity to experience things like going on the field at the end of the game. This stadium will NOT disappoint.
The stadiums on the list that I have been to are: Albertsons Stadium (Boise State) No. 21, Arizona Stadium (Arizona) No. 36, Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium (Washington) No. 43, Rice-Eccles Stadium No. 47, and Sun Devil Stadium (Arizona State) No. 67 (for the Cactus Bowl). I have not been to Arizona Stadium since 2006, and my experience at Sun Devil Stadium was for the Cactus Bowl between Washington and Oklahoma State, so I do not feel I can accurately review either of those stadiums.
I feel based on my experiences at Albertsons Stadium, Husky Stadium, and Rice-Eccles Stadium that the list has all three of these stadiums rated incorrectly. I much prefer both Husky Stadium and Rice-Eccles Stadium to Albertsons Stadium. The blue turf is cool to see in person and looks better in person than on television, but the stadium is smaller than Husky Stadium and RES, and it is not nearly as nice. It was cold when I went this year to Albertsons Stadium (for the UW-BSU game on Sept. 4), and I wanted to buy either hot food or hot chocolate to help warm up, and they were either sold out or had huge lines. It felt like a Mountain West stadium as opposed to a Pac-12 stadium. The renovated Husky Stadium is incredibly nice and has some of the best views you will get from a stadium. Having not been to many college stadiums, it is not really possible to compare Husky Stadium or RES to places I have not been, but I highly doubt there are 40+ stadiums with a better atmosphere than either of those two. They both feature fantastic views of the beautiful surrounding scenery. I think the biggest knocks on Rice-Eccles for many fans would be the lack of alcohol and the fact that many fans do not arrive by kickoff. Tickets can also be hard to come by especially for a top tier opponent, meaning getting a ticket can be expensive. In his review, Terry knocks the stadium for access. With free TRAX passes for anyone attending the game and ample parking on campus, I would disagree that Rice-Eccles is a difficult stadium to access (it is also in a major city and not far from the airport, making it easy for out-of-town fans to get to the stadium as well). Husky Stadium and Albertsons Stadium were both no better (and possibly even worse) in terms of getting to and into the stadium. I would also give Rice-Eccles a bump up for food. There are plenty of food options that all are tasty, especially south of the stadium by the Olympic Cauldron. Speaking of the Olympic Cauldron, it is worth noting Rice-Eccles is one of the few stadiums to host both college football games and the Olympic Ceremony. Overall, it is interesting to read how Rice-Eccles stacks up to other stadiums around the country, and it is nice that Stadium Journey actually visits every stadium frequently to keep their rankings up-to-date.
What are your thoughts? What other stadiums have you been to to compare to Rice-Eccles Stadium, and how did RES stack up?