As someone who has attended every game of the last three UIL State Championships, hopefully I’ll be able to provide you some information that will help with your trip to the games this week.
Have some some tips you’d like to share? Hit up @txhsfb on Twitter.
Getting There and Parking
The parking lots and the ticket offices open at 9 A.M. each morning. That’s two hours before the first game of the day. On Wednesday and Thursday, you shouldn’t have any issues with traffic around the stadium. On Friday add 15-20 minutes to your anticipated drive time. On Saturday add 30 minutes to your anticipated drive time. The closer to game time you plan on getting to the stadium, the more time you should add. The worst traffic of the day is always the first game as all the fans are arriving in a more limited window, while at least some of the fans of the later games will come for the earlier games as well.
Parking is $10 if paid with plastic and $15 if paid in cash.
Tickets and Stadium Entry
You can purchase your tickets at the stadium ticket office. If you are coming for multiple days, you can purchase your tickets for all days on the first day.
On Wednesday all entry will be through the west end of the stadium. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday entry will be through either the west or east end of the stadium. If arriving for the first game of the day, check the weather forecast as you will be standing in line for some time for stadium entry. Per the UIL website, the gates will open 1 hour before the first game of the day.
Items allowed to be brought into the stadium follow the NFL rules. This means no camera bags, binoculars bags, etc. Wear your camera or binoculars around your neck. Don’t bring any bag or case that isn’t transparent or is larger than a gallon-size Ziplock bag.
Where to Sit
The center sections of the lower bowl are reserved for the fans of the teams playing in the current game. The center section is cleared once the on-field ceremonies are finished. Fans looking to sit in the lower bowl center section for the second or third game of the day are lined up on the second level of the stadium and then allowed to move to the lower bowl center section once the crowd from the previous game is cleared.
If you are not set on sitting with the hard-core fans of a particular team or if you are attending for multiple games starting with the first game on the day, the best seats in the house are near the center of the field on the second level.
Fans of Strawn, Milford, Mart, Mason, Newton, Grandview, Cuero, Liberty Hill, Fort Bend Marshall, Shadow Creek, West Brook, and North Shore will be seated on the north side of the stadium. Fans of Follett, McLean, Gruver, New Deal, Canadian, Malakoff, Pleasant Grove, La Vega, Aledo, Highland Park, Longview, and Duncanville will be seated on the south side of the stadium.
If you are coming alone, be sure to make friends with other fans located near you. You’ll want someone to save your seat if you move around between games and I highly recommend that you make a couple of laps around the stadium between games to exercise your legs. Sit through multiple games without getting some exercise and you’ll regret it at the end of the day.
Eating at the Stadium
If you are coming for only 1 game on a given day, the best advise is “Don’t”. You can eat both before and after the game at an area restaurant less expensively than you can at the stadium.
If you are going to be at the stadium for multiple games in a day, you’ll likely need to eat at least one meal at the stadium. Fewer concession stands are open on Wednesday and Thursday with more opening as the week progresses with most areas being open on Friday and Saturday.
The Philly Cheesesteak and Brisket Nachos were only available on Friday and Saturday last year but come highly recommended (by me). The Brisket Nachos are only available on the second level in the club section.
You’ll want to buy the Souvenir event program. It’s a great keepsake for the event and you’ll find it useful at the event. It has rosters and information for all the teams and a lot of UIL football information and factoids. Last year the price was $10.
Last year the UIL contracted a vendor that was able to custom print championship t-shirts on site after each game. I don’t know if they are back for this year, but if they are, you’ll want to grab one of these if your team wins.
There are also event shirts available for purchase.
This is a NFL stadium with all that comes with it. The stadium itself is an experience. But with that comes NFL restrictions and NFL prices. Bring your patience and your wallet and be prepared to watch the best football on earth.