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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Oakes

Carter-Finley Stadium – North Carolina State Wolfpack


Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Carter-Finley Stadium 4600 Trinity Rd Raleigh, NC 27607



Year Opened: 1966

Capacity: 56,919

 

The Strength of The Wolf Is the Pack


Carter-Finley Stadium opened on October 8, 1966, as South Carolina beat NC State in front of 35,200 fans. For nearly three and a half decades little in terms of renovations were done at Carter-Finley. In 2001, the beloved grass hill at the south end of the football stadium was removed as seats were added and the 108,000-square-foot Murphy Football Center was built above those seats.


Vaughn Towers, now Towne Bank Center, was built in 2004 and houses 51 luxury suites and 1200 club seats. In 2006, the old field house in the north end zone was torn down and seating was added in that end zone as well. A new video board was added before the 2023 season that measures 43 feet tall and 166 feet wide and is one of the top 10 largest in college football. Carter-Finley now seats nearly 57,000 and is regarded as one of the toughest places to play in the ACC.


Carter-Finley has hosted numerous concerts over its lifespan, as well as the NHL Stadium Series game in 2023 between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes.



Food & Beverage 4

Carter-Finley Stadium offers a good variety of concessions, which include Chick-fil-A sandwiches, BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, and pizza. Other options include the Loaded Mac, which is cheddar mac with shredded cheese and tortilla chips, as well as the Buffalo Mac which has buffalo pulled chicken. Popcorn, peanuts, and soft pretzels are also offered. Bottled Coke products are available as well as several alcoholic beverages.


If you are looking for something beyond standard concession food, visit Raleighwood in the northeast corner of the stadium near the video board. This area has food trucks, beverage stations, and tents with picnic and cocktail tables. Some of the offerings are The Pit BBQ and the Lowes Food Beer Den.


Atmosphere 5

Carter-Finley Stadium is an enclosed stadium with the lower level completely enclosing the playing surface. The stadium is flanked by two matching upper decks on the east and west sidelines. Sitting atop the west side upper deck is the Towne Bank Tower.


From the exterior, Carter-Finley does not seem imposing as the lower level is completely dug into the ground; therefore, the stadium concourse is ground level when you enter. There is little room on the sidelines and the stands are very close to the field., which creates an intimidating on-field atmosphere.


The majority of the seating at Carter-Finley is bench seating except for parts of the end zone and the club areas. Chairbacks are available to rent to be installed on your seat for either a season or a single game. If you are attending an early season game, you will want to sit on the west side as the sun on the east side will make you hot!


NC State’s marching band “The Power Sound of the South” starts out playing pregame around the parking lots, which continues to the on-field pregame festivities and throughout the game. Also, during pregame, the “Alpha Wolf” leads the “WOLF” –“PACK” cheer. This is normally NC State alumni of football legends. In 2023 the Alpha Wolf included Bill Cowher and Scotty McCreery.


Neighborhood 2

Carter-Finley Stadium is located adjacent to PNC Arena in West Raleigh near the NC State Fairgrounds. While there is plenty of parking and great tailgating, there is little to do within walking distance before or after the game. The only restaurants within walking distance are Backyard Bistro, Wendy’s, and Bojangles. Backyard Bistro is a great place to hang out and get food and drinks before a game.


Likewise, the only hotel in walking distance is the Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh, which is behind the Backyard Bistro. However, the charm of college football is tailgating, so the lack of nearby restaurants is not a big deal to NC State fans.


Since you will most likely be driving to the stadium, be sure to check out Amedeos Italian Restaurant near campus which is full of NC State memorabilia. Area activities to consider are the NC Museum of Art and Park, which is about 1 mile from the stadium, and the NC state capitol and museums in downtown Raleigh.


Fans 5

NC State has some of the most passionate fans in the ACC. Most games are either a sellout or if not have over 55,000 in attendance. For the 2023 season, NC State sold out every game before the season started. Fans are loud and into the game. Expect to hear chants of “WOLF” - “PACK” echoing during the game. If there is a knock on NC State fans it is because Carter-Finley Stadium allows pass-outs (fans can go to their car and tailgate at halftime). Therefore, the stadium is not always full when the third quarter starts. However, if it is a close game, expect the stadium to be packed again midway through the third quarter and loud as ever in the fourth!


Access 4

Carter-Finley Stadium is easily accessible by car as it sits near the intersection of I-40 and I-440 in West Raleigh. If you are flying into the area, the Raleigh-Durham airport is only 10 miles away and provides all the major airlines. Nearly all of the parking around the stadium is available only through donor parking passes, so unless you can snag one of those online, your best bet is to try some of the general parking areas nearby. The Cardinal Lot (5766 Chapel Hill Road) is available for $20-$30 per game depending on the opponent. There is also paid parking at the Bojangles just down the street from the stadium.


Carter-Finley does have a clear bag policy, but entry is fairly easy as long as you arrive 30-60 minutes before game time. As you approach kickoff, the lines will back up. Once inside, there is a large 360-degree concourse around the stadium between the two levels, which allows you to easily access anywhere in the stadium.



Return on Investment 4

Tickets for NC State football games range from $35-$100 depending on opponent. Throw in the cost of parking and concessions and it can become expensive. However, this is on par with most of Power Five football. If you are looking to save, plan on attending a non-conference game against an FCS or group of five opponents.


Extras 3

Extra points for:


- NC State’s two mascots: Mr. and Mrs. Wuf

- The Bandit flight teams which fly over before every game

- Raleighwood food truck area


Final Thoughts

While not the largest venue in the ACC, it is one of the loudest and toughest to play. If you can attend a night game against a good opponent, the atmosphere will not disappoint.

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