LaVell Edwards Stadium – BYU Cougars
Photos by Connor Comeau, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
LaVell Edwards Stadium 1700 N Canyon Rd Provo, UT 84604
Year Opened: 1964
Independent (And it feels so good)
The Brigham Young Cougars have been playing football since 1896, but have been independent since 2011. Since then, the stadium and the school have seen quality opponents come and go, but the excitement at games continues to remain and impress. And with a new head coach and coaching staff at the helm, there is even more excitement surrounding the program.
The stadium was built in 1964, but with the near-constant sellouts, the upgrades to the stadium and the quality of the opponents, you probably wouldn’t think it is that old. But as one of the few independents in the nation, does the LaVell Edwards Stadium (LES) fit the bill?
Food & Beverage 4
As the largest stadium in the state of Utah, there are plenty of food options to choose from, whether you want just a snack or a full fledged entree. There are even a few specialty items that will get your taste buds going.
Some of the more popular items include “Cougar” Dogs ($4), Polish Sausages ($5), Popcorn ($4), Nachos ($4) and Candy ($4). The BYU Creamery is a big staple on campus and it is available on game day – you can get a pint of BYU Creamery ice cream for $4. The more unique items on the menu include Pulled Pork Sandwiches ($9) and a Bratwurst combo with chips and a drink ($7).
As a Coke campus, all soft drinks served on game day are Coke – a regular sized soda will cost $4 while a souvenir cup costs $7 but you do get unlimited refills during the game. Minute Maid frozen lemonade is also available for $5 and is available in regular and strawberry flavors. The biggest note here is that as an LDS (Latter-day Saints) campus, there is no alcohol served during the game.
The Creamery items and any of the sandwiches are definite must tries if you ever attend a game at the LES. No matter what you choose, you will not be disappointed.
With more high quality opponents on the schedule, LaVell Edwards Stadium has a bigger game day atmosphere than in years past.
The stadium is a bowl-shaped stadium, so fans will have a great view of the field no matter where they sit. The biggest features are the two HD scoreboards on both the north and south ends of the stadium. The video boards are connected by a video ribbon that surrounds the entire edge of the stadium. The graphics are top notch, especially on replays, which shows the actual replay system officials use during the game. The sound system is pretty good, and music is played often in between downs and during game breaks such as TV timeouts and quarter breaks.
Before the game, there is the ceremonial lighting of the “Y” and the pregame prayer, which take place before every home game. There are different “cams” that are interspersed throughout the game, including the Air Guitar Cam and the Dance Cam. The BYU Marching Band does a terrific job throughout the game keeping fans entertained while playing very good music as well.
You will have a pretty good view of the field regardless of where you sit. But if you want a view that faces the mountains, you will want to sit closer to the west side of the stadium. As a reminder, if you come during the winter months, it will be a lot colder and the chances of snow increase – just keep in mind there are no umbrellas allowed in the stadium so plan ahead.
LaVell Edwards Stadium is located on the extreme northern end of campus and along University Parkway, which is the main road to get from Interstate 15 to the stadium. As an atypical college town, there are no bars around town – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff to do.
Even though there are no bars in town, there are plenty of places to eat within driving distance of the stadium. One of my favorites is Pizza Pie Cafe – where it is all you can eat Pizza, Pasta and Salad – for around $7 (drinks are a buck or two extra). They have several different kinds of pizza (including dessert pizza) and have 10 different kinds of pasta with six different kinds of sauce. For a more local feel, you can try Burgers Supreme which is just down the road. As a bacon fanatic, I recommend the Bacon Cheeseburger.
There are a lot of shopping areas as you come down University Parkway, but not much in the way of attractions. If you’re craving a flick before the game, there is a Cinemark theater on the way to the stadium, which includes new Luxury Lounger seats that recline back. For LDS faithful, the Provo Temple is about a half-mile to a mile away.
Coming into the stadium, I noticed a Super 8 that was just two blocks away and a Days Inn that wasn’t far behind that. If you’re coming from I-15 and using University Parkway to get to the stadium, you will pass anywhere between 7 to 10 hotels within driving distance. So if you’re coming from out of town, book in advance because rooms tend to fill up and it can be more expensive closer to game day.
If there was one thing that made my visit to LaVell Edwards Stadium special, it would be the fans. They are about as passionate a fan base as I have seen so far. And the game I went to was homecoming, which made the night even more special.
The capacity of the stadium is 63,470, which makes it the largest stadium in the state – and it was a near sellout with very few empty seats. It may be a little emptier during the winter months, but it looked just about full from where I was. Add to the fact they were playing an SEC opponent AND they’re getting opponents like these to come play there – I’m not at all surprised the stadium was near capacity.
Up in the press box, it is still LOUD – glass vibrating and floor rumbling loud. The fans are in the game the whole time – the only time they get up is at halftime and quarter breaks. Both the student section (known as The ROC) and all other fans join in to the fight song “Rise and Shout, the Cougar is out!” and everyone gets loud on third and fourth down plays. It is an exciting fan base to say the least.
In terms of accessibility, the stadium has enough features and parking to make game day an enjoyable experience.
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has buses and Trax lines that run near the stadium, but they fill up on game day, so make sure you give yourself extra time to get to the game. And if you’re coming in by plane, the nearest major airport is Salt Lake International, about a 45 minute drive north of the stadium.
There are numerous lots around the stadium open to Cougar Club members or reserved parking – otherwise it will be a little of walk but should cost around $10 to park further away. Traffic wise – make sure to pack your patience. If a game is sold out or close to it, you could be looking at a 20 to 30 minute wait just to get out of your lot – but campus and city police do a nice job of directing traffic before and after the game. You can either pick up your ticket at will call or print it out at home and bring it to the game. When entering the stadium, as long as you don’t have any of the prohibited items with you, you will be just fine. Event staff are very friendly and they are there to help answer your questions.
The upper concourse has a little less room than the lower, but it didn’t cause too many problems during the game. The restrooms are a little hard to find but look nicely kept at least during my experience. For those wanting to move between the upper and lower concourse, there are ramps located throughout the stadium for those that want to move around.
Return on Investment 4
The stadium has done a great job of keeping everyone happy, so you really do get the bang for your buck. Seats in the upper bowl start at around $15 and lower bowl seats start at around $35 to $40 dollars, so depending on where you sit, you may be getting a good deal. The concession prices are right on par in regards to other stadiums in the country. And parking is not bad if you take public transit – you’ll also pay as little as $10 for parking.
One point for the pregame rituals. The marching band spells out the word “Cougars” before the game, with the crowd getting into it. There is the Cougar Walk, where students line up outside the stadium and then rush in to take their seats. And starting something new this year (2016), the athletics program is inviting active service members to come and participate in the lighting of the “Y” prior to the game.
One point to “Y” Mountain. It is well kept all throughout the year, and was lit up for the homecoming game, which I thought was a nice touch.
One point for the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. With fall in full swing, you can see the colors changing on the trees. And with just the right sunset (which we had), the mountain gives off a beautiful glow that is remarkable. It truly is breathtaking to have that type of beauty within range of the stadium.
It may not be a bucket list experience quite yet, but it is certainly getting close. You may be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t attend at least one home game during a season. With quality opponents and a very devoted fan base, LaVell Edwards Stadium is a must visit the next time you’re in town for game day.