Duane Stadium – Merrimack Warriors
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
315 Turnpike Ave
North Andover, MA 01845
Year Opened: 2017
We Are One
Duane Stadium is a multi-purpose facility built on the Merrimack College campus as part of the school’s preparation to elevate all sports to the Division One level. Featuring a multi-sport FieldTurf surface and eight lane track, Duane Stadium serves as home to Merrimack’s football, field hockey, lacrosse and track programs.
Duane Stadium is named in honor of Ken and Jincie Duane. Ken is a class of 1980 alumnus and was a member of the school’s hockey and lacrosse teams. Mr. Duane served on the school’s Board of Trustees for several years. A contribution from the Duanes was instrumental in making the building of the facility possible.
The football program at Merrimack began play in 1996. Initially competing at the Division Three level, the team moved up to Division Two in 1997, where they made the playoffs one time, advancing to the second round. Starting in 2019 the Warriors will transition to Division One, where they will be members of the Northeast Conference.
Food & Beverage 3
Merrimack College Food Services operates a food truck at Duane Stadium. The menu doesn’t stray far from stadium basics, with hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders and nachos comprising the whole menu. Chili can be added to your hot dog, nachos or fries if you want a little something extra with your order.
A second concession stand sells assorted snacks, including popcorn, cotton candy and chips. Pepsi products are available here. Fans can purchase adult beverages and draft beers from Yuengling and New Belgium Breweries.
There is a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Merrimack Athletic Complex adjacent to Duane Stadium. Fans are able to leave the stadium and bring food and drinks back inside to enjoy during the game.
Perhaps the Merrimack fans are still getting used to this whole Division One thing, but it’s pretty quiet at Duane Stadium. Despite the presence of a large cheerleading squad, dance team and pep band, there’s not a whole lot of noise generated by the crowd here.
There’s a decent turnout by the student body, but they don’t sit in a dedicated student section, negating any noise they might make. Most of the students seemed to be at the game to just hang out, anyway. Likewise, the cheerleading squad and pep band are severely underutilized.
There is a simple scoreboard in the south end zone which provides score, time remaining, down and distance and nothing more.
Merrimack College is located in North Andover, Massachusetts, a town of over 28,000 located 24 miles north of Boston. North Andover is your typical bedroom community, with plenty of shops and restaurants for locals, but nothing that would classify the town as a “must see” destination.
While there are many options for lodging or dining within a short distance of the Merrimack campus, visitors to Duane Stadium will most likely spend much of their time in the area in Boston. Fans looking to avoid the big city price tags will find many options within a few miles of the Merrimack campus along nearby Route 114 or Interstate 495.
Fans have turned out in big numbers for the first couple of games at Duane Stadium. The Warriors are averaging almost 3600 fans per game early in their inaugural season. It will be interesting to see if the large crowds continue or if attendance levels off once the newness has faded.
While there is a decent turnout by the student body, there is no dedicated student section, with the students spreading out in small groups throughout Duane Stadium. Otherwise, the crowd consists of a nice mix of locals, alumni and families. With much of the Northeast Conference within driving distance of Boston, it’s likely there will always be a solid representation from the visiting team’s fans.
The Merrimack campus in North Andover is located 25 miles from downtown Boston just off of Interstate 495, where routes 125 and 114 come together. Driving is the easiest way to access the Merrimack campus, but for fans using public transportation, there is an MBTA train that stops at the Andover station. Once in Andover, the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority offers bus service to many local spots, including Merrimack College. Complete directions to the Merrimack campus, including local dining and lodging options, can be found here.
Duane Stadium is located on the southern edge of campus, adjacent to Lawler Rink, Hammel Court and the other Merrimack athletic facilities. There is a large parking lot next to the facility, as well as several smaller lots on the other side of the Merrimack Athletic Complex.
Fans entering Duane Stadium will find plenty of room to roam. The majority of seating is in a grandstand located on the west side of the stadium, with additional seating in the north end zone. Seats between the forty-yard lines consist of individual stadium seats, with the remainder consisting of metal bleachers without backs. There is a walkway across the front of the grandstand, so it is recommended you avoid the first couple of rows.
Duane Stadium is a busy place, used for football, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey. Lines for all sports are on the turf and may be distracting for fans. The presence of the track around the outside of the football field pushes the seating further from the field than it would be otherwise.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Warriors football games are most affordable. Reserved chair back seats are $15 ($13 for children under 12) and $10 for general admission seating. Youth, members of the military, seniors and Merrimack staff receive a three-dollar discount. Tickets come with a coupon to the local Fuddruckers on the back.
Parking is free in the lots on the Merrimack campus. If you wish to tailgate in Lot M right next to the stadium, it will cost you $20. Concessions are a bit on the high side, but not out of line for a venue in the Greater Boston area.
An extra point is awarded for the elevation of the Warriors to Division One, and the corresponding building boom around campus. The school’s entire enrollment of 3,726 could fit in Duane Stadium with room to spread out. It’s impressive to see strong turnouts for games thus far.
Even though Duane Stadium is brand new, there’s not much here to separate Division One’s newest facility from most others in the northeastern part of the country. It’s a simple facility without a whole lot of extra bells and whistles. A trip to Andover will never be confused with big-time college football, and that’s exactly why it’s worth checking out.