An electric energy surrounds the arenas and stadiums where beloved college teams play. Tailgating, tasty stadium food and thousands of fans thunderously cheering on their favorite teams make for epic game-day experiences.
In addition to hosting the thrilling world of college sports, many athletic venues have upscale meeting and event facilities. With specially designated event spaces, plentiful catering options and event coordinating staff, they can be amazing venues for everything from the most casual receptions to formal business meetings.
To bring game day to an event, check out these college athletics venues across the country.
The University of California Los Angeles’ Bruins have played at the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, since 1982. Notable sporting events beyond college football are held at the stadium, including Super Bowl and FIFA World Cup games, which make it one of the country’s most famous sporting venues.
It’s also an excellent venue for casual and upscale meetings and events. The Rose Bowl capitalizes on Southern California’s weather with outdoor meeting spaces, such as the Court of Champions and Rose Plaza, which are under the stadium’s famous marquee and seat 750. The stadium’s rose gardens and wine garden can add beauty to a cocktail reception or a smaller gathering, while the stadium’s field can be booked for large-scale events. The stadium’s locker rooms can even be rented for a sports-themed meeting.
The Terry Donahue Pavilion’s indoor spaces accommodate large and small meetings and have gorgeous views of the Arroyo Seco. Suites can host up to 30 guests. The Loge Lounge, a luxuriously decorated space for up to 150, and the Club Lounge, for up to 250, are some of the pavilion’s most elegant meeting spaces. The 32,000-square-foot Blue Moon Club and its bars, concessions and lounges can accommodate up to 1,200 for receptions.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan Stadium, home of the University of Michigan Wolverines, is nicknamed “the Big House” for good reason: it is the largest stadium in the country in terms of seating capacity, with room for over 107,000 people. The largest game attendance ever recorded was over 115,000 people in 2013.
“The history and tradition that surround the University of Michigan Athletic Department and the University of Michigan as a whole brings a lot of people there to create very memorable events,” said Katy Hepner, director of special events at the University of Michigan Athletic Department.
It should come as no surprise that a stadium this large also has impressive event facilities. The stadium was built in 1927, and its most recent renovation in 2010 added four towers, where much of the meeting space is located. The Jack Roth Stadium Club, in the East Tower overlooking the field, is the largest of the stadium’s spaces. It can accommodate up to 550 for a seated banquet or 700 for a reception. The Regents Guest Area offers seating for 90. The stadium has many smaller suites as well, such as the Athletic Director’s Suite, for up to 42 guests, or individual suites, each with a capacity of 24.
Michigan Stadium provides a list of six caterers to choose from and rental includes most basic audiovisual equipment. Planners can expect to work closely with the stadium’s onsite planning team.
Nippert Stadium has been home to the Cincinnati Bearcats for a long time. Originally it was a field surrounded by wooden bleachers but a more permanent stadium was built and opened in 1924. “It is the second-oldest playing site and the third-oldest stadium still in use today among NCAA FBS schools,” said Jamie Miller, director of conference and event services at the University of Cincinnati.
The stadium received some major upgrades beginning in 2013 as part of an $86 million renovation project. This included the addition of the West Pavilion, a sleek and impressive steel and glass structure that offers year-round event space with views of the field. The angular five-story, 105,000-square-foot building is 130 yards long. It has dedicated spaces for the press, premium seating, suites and several event spaces.
The North Lounge can accommodate 200 for a banquet and 288 for a reception or lecture, while the South Lounge can seat 80 for a banquet and accommodate 100 for a reception. The West Pavilion has an exclusive onsite caterer and basic audiovisual equipment suitable for most events, and 90-inch LCD televisions.
Stueckle Sky Center
Albertson Stadium, home of the Boise State Broncos, is famous for its blue field, known simply as “the Blue.” Planners will find distinctive views of the Blue and downtown Boise in the Stueckle Sky Center, the stadium’s four-story attached event venue.
“You have the best view of the Treasure Valley, of the mountains, downtown Boise and the blue field,” said Michiel Logan, director of events at the Stueckle Sky Center.
The Double R Ranch Club has arguably the best view and is the center’s premier space, seating up to 300 at banquets or 350 theater-style. It comes equipped with four LCD screens, stage lighting and a bar. The Skyline Room, a 5,000-square-foot space on the top floor, has panoramic views of the city and can accommodate up to 154 for a banquet or 190 theater-style. At 2,500 square feet, the Loft is suitable for smaller meetings, seating up to 80 banquet-style or 96 theater-style.
Planners can use the Stueckle Sky Center’s caterer, Boise Catering, or an outside caterer. Each meeting space has basic audiovisual equipment, but may have additional audiovisual add-ons, such as sound systems and built-in projection, depending on the planner’s needs.
Cajundome and Convention Center
The Cajundome is a multi-purpose arena and home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns. It has an attached convention center and serves as an entertainment hub for the area. In addition to college sports, the venue regularly hosts conventions, trade shows, banquets and concerts given by some of the greats, such as Elton John.
The arena, built in 1985, was upgraded and expanded during a $22 million renovation in 2016. The convention center, which opened in 2002, features a 37,000-square-foot exhibit hall and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into five spaces. The arena also has meeting spaces, including a 6,000-square-foot ballroom and meeting rooms of 1,000 to 2,700 square feet.
In addition to its expansive and varied facilities, the Cajundome offers a selection of amenities to help events run smoothly. Its onsite catering team can accommodate a range of menus, while planners can also use the venue’s audiovisual equipment and production team. Finally, helpful event staff, from a booking team to an event manager, can assist a planner with the logistics of their event.
“The people here in Louisiana are some of the biggest resources. We have a friendly, hospitable staff that goes above and beyond to make sure your event is a success,” said Casey White, marketing director at the Cajundome and Convention Center.