Bobby Dodd Stadium – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Bobby Dodd Stadium 155 North Ave NW Atlanta, GA 30332
Year Opened: 1913
The Jackets’ Historic Hive
Bobby Dodd Stadium is an anomaly, as it stands amongst an ever-changing Atlanta skyline in a city where stadiums seem to have only 20-year existence. There is a reason why radio and TV announcers always use the word “historic” when referencing this stadium which was built in 1913. It is the oldest on-campus stadium in the NCAA Division I and it is the only one that can say its original construction was done by the student body (hey, as the fight song goes… they are helluva engineers!). Football has been played on this site since 1905, and the school has played the game since 1892.
During its more than a century of existence, Bobby Dodd Stadium has gone through several renovations, resulting in a very modern facility with a capacity of 55,000. It competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which has transformed from a “basketball conference” into a football powerhouse. Bobby Dodd Stadium has hosted Tech squads that have won 4 National Championships (1917, 1928, 1952, 1990) and have gone to 44 bowls, the 11th highest of all NCAA schools. It also has sent more than 250 players on to the NFL including such stars as Calvin Johnson, Dorsey Levins, Marco Coleman, Drew Hill, Lucious Sanford, and Pat Swilling.
Food & Beverage 3
Bobby Dodd Stadium offers numerous concession items but at premium prices. Due to a change in state law, the stadium can offer beer for the first time.
The school managed stands offer you the best variety of stadium fare: hot dogs ($5), brats ($6) nachos ($6), candy ($5), peanuts ($4), pretzels ($5), popcorn ($5), chips ($3), domestic beers ($8), craft beers ($10), Coca-Cola brand sodas ($5) and bottled waters ($4) By the way, Bobby Dodd Stadium is located one block from the Coca-Cola World Headquarters complex… so do not mention Pepsi!
Sonny’s BBQ has several stands spread out around the stadium. Their menu includes pulled pork sandwiches ($7), pulled chicken sandwiches ($7), BBQ nachos ($9), hot dogs ($5), chips ($2) and Coca-Cola beverages ($6).
Fans with a sweet tooth can head over to the Malt Shoppe. This concessionaire features Frozen Minute Maid beverages ($6), Federal pretzels ($4), ice cream ($5), malts ($6), shakes ($6) and ice cream sodas ($6).
The history and tradition found at Bobby Dodd Stadium create a greatly above-average atmosphere for Tech home games.
The tradition of Georgia Tech football has been part of the Atlanta psyche for generations. Until the mid-1960s, a Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium (then known only as Grant Field) was literally the “only game in town”. A large portion of its fan base in those days had no college relationship with the school… they were simply Atlanta sports fans who enjoyed good football. For 21 of those years, the team was coached by the legendary Bobby Dodd, and as a result, his name has been added to the stadium in his honor.
The Yellow Jackets are a team that thrives in tradition, rather than following the latest fad. They enter the field before the game behind the Ramblin’ Wreck, a 1930 Model A Ford Sports Coupe to the strains of the school fight song “I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech”. The school has some of the most recognized traditions in the country… Buzz the Yellow Jacket, the Ramblin’ Wreck, and the school’s physical plant department blowing its’ steam whistle to signal a Yellow Jackets victory.
You cannot compete on tradition alone. Georgia Tech is continually upgrading its facilities to improve the fan experience and power recruitment. There are 30 luxury suites located in the West Stands, along with an enclosed luxury seating environment overlooking the South end zone. Ribbon boards line both the East and West sidelines and the HD scoreboard in the South end zone provides crystal clear images of replays and scores of other games from throughout the country.
Georgia Tech is in a decidedly urban area, as it is just across I-75/I-85 (also known as the Downtown Connector) from the Midtown and Downtown areas of Atlanta. This area is filled with the headquarters of several technology companies that are eager to hire graduates from the school’s nationally ranked student body.
Midtown is filled with nightlife options to explore. You can find Atlanta’s best burgers at The Vortex Lounge, or if you are in the mood for seafood check out the Steamhouse Lounge. Joe’s on Juniper is a longtime favorite for the college crowd.
There are also several parks and attractions near Bobby Dodd Stadium. Atlanta’s playground is Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s version of Central Park. There is a festival or special event taking place there nearly every weekend. Just down Techwood Avenue from the stadium is Centennial Olympic Park. It is home to the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Center for Human and Civil Rights. Just across the street from the park is the College Football Hall of Fame, a must-see interactive attraction if you are in town for a game.
There are plenty of places to stay near the Georgia Tech campus. The Courtyard Midtown/Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Hotel, and Conference Center, and the AC Hotel by Marriott are all within walking distance of the stadium, or a MARTA light rail station.
One longtime Tech tradition is visiting the Varsity, which is at the other end of the North Avenue bridge from the Georgia Tech campus. It is an 80-year-old institution serving hotdogs, chili burgers, shakes, and other fast foods. Your stomach will never forget it.
Hotels in the area include The Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center and the Crowne Plaza-Midtown and the AC Hotel by Marriott. All of these hotels are within walking distance of the stadium and are also near the MARTA rail stations.
Bobby Dodd Stadium is also within walking distance of Centennial Olympic Park and its’ many attractions (the World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Center for Human Rights) To reach these attractions, simply head out the south end of Bobby Dodd Stadium and continue down Techwood Drive.
Georgia Tech’s fanbase is amongst the strongest and most loyal in the country.
The tradition of Georgia Tech carries over into its fans, as where they sit in Dodd Stadium has stayed the same through the generations. The West Stands are for the Old Guard, the Alumni, and the most loyal of Yellow Jackets. Expect to see former Tech players, older couples proudly wearing the white and gold colors of the school, and the most likely to know the words to the alma mater when it is played before each game. The East Stands hosts the student section and the visiting team. Expect to see lots of ties and khakis and dresses in this section, as the Greek system is very strong at Georgia Tech, as it is at many southern schools. The visiting team section is typically a small one, but it may also outnumber the Tech faithful when a team like Clemson, Florida State, or the University of Georgia comes to town.
At the south end of the stadium are the Jackets who did very well after graduation. This section features enclosed luxury seating, in-stadium parking, and all the perks of being a major donor. Georgia Tech boasts one of the highest percentages of CEOs amongst technology companies in the country and is often referred to as the “Stanford of the East”. Finally, we have the North Stands, home to the Swarm. The Swarm is made up of the loudest and most enthusiastic Tech students on campus. They paint their bodies gold, wear yellow/gold fuzzy wigs and other very distinctive attire, and become a sea of waving pom-poms after a Tech score.
Also residing in the North Stands is the Georgia Tech Band. This is an all-volunteer group, as Tech does not offer a Music major. However, you will never know it, as the band plays some extremely difficult pieces and can form some intricate formations on the field. This is a labor of love for the band members, as they must schedule frequent practices, despite having one of the most demanding academic environments in the country.
Georgia Tech has a great pre-game experience for its fans despite its location in a very urban area. WreckFest gets underway three hours before a game and features music, games, inflatables, and food from food trucks. Yellow Jacket Alley forms 2 ½ hours before a game as the team enters Bobby Dodd Stadium. This is followed by a pep rally featuring the Tech band and cheerleaders approximately 45 minutes before the game.
As an urban campus, parking and tailgating on the Georgia Tech campus are very limited and usually is reserved for season ticket holders. Many of the large businesses in the Midtown/Downtown Atlanta open their parking garages for fans as they are not conducting business on Saturdays, with no more than a two-block walk from the stadium.
By far, the easiest way to get to a Georgia Tech game is via the MARTA rail line. This public transit agency’s North Avenue Station offers easy entry to the stadium’s north and south ends and is only a two-block walk. The fare is only $2.50 each way and trains run very frequently on game days.
Access into the stadium is excellent, as there are many entry gates.
The concourses due tend to get backed up, one of the few problems that is difficult to remedy in a stadium that is more than 100 years old.
Return on Investment 4
In a neighborhood filled with competition from its professional team neighbors, Georgia Tech rates better than average on its return on investment.
Compared to the ticket prices charged by Georgia Tech’s professional team neighbors, a Yellow Jackets game ticket is a relative bargain. Tickets are variably priced depending on the opponent (i.e., the Georgia, FSU, and Clemson games are considered “premium games” Still, at an average price of $15-$40 for a non-premium contest and $50-$70 for a premium matchup, Yellow Jacket games are reasonably priced. If you take MARTA to the game, it is a $5 round trip. The concession prices are fan-friendly. Also, a trip to the nearby Varsity for a pre or post-game meal will not empty your wallet.
As a result of its stadium’s age, the student body’s specialized fields of study, and its location near some of Atlanta’s top tourist attractions, Bobby Dodd Stadium comes in much above average for extras.
Georgia Tech is one of the few schools of higher education where the official name does not include the words “college” or “university”. Tech’s official name is The Georgia Institute of Technology.
Homecoming at Georgia Tech is very different than at most schools. Because of its extensive engineering programs, the week features the Ramblin’ Wreck races, was individually designed contraptions consisting of unusual items race against each other, as well as the homecoming displays in front of the fraternity houses. These are not the typical floats you see at most schools. They are sophisticated mechanical displays with moving parts that twist, spin, and fly.
Georgia Tech holds the record for the highest-scoring game in college history. A John Heisman coached team defeated Cumberland Academy 222-0 (Coach Heisman had been incensed when he felt the Cumberland baseball team had run up the score against Tech the previous spring.)
Bobby Dodd Stadium has been utilized for many other activities than Tech football over the years. It served as a practice facility for the athletes during the 1996 Olympics, as it was just across North Avenue from the Olympic Village. It has also hosted everything from a speech by FDR to a Rolling Stones Concert. It also served as the home pitch for the expansion MLS Atlanta United until their permanent home at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium was completed.
At the end of the third quarter of all home games, the world’s largest sing-along occurs. Though it sounds very much like a very famous beer brand song, Tech officials insist the tune is called “When You Say Buzzweiser… You’ve said it All”. We will let you decide.
A visit to Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field is well worth the visit in the fall. Even though it is over 100 years old, it still offers a great place to enjoy a football game. There’s not a bad seat in the house and you’ll also be rewarded with stunning views of both Downtown and Midtown Atlanta. Tech plays a very tough schedule of both ACC and SEC teams, so you are sure to see a good game. Make sure to check out the timelines found on the walls of the concourses to learn more about the impressive history of this stadium.