My favorite place at Davis Wade Stadium: The Gridiron


I’ve been buying football season tickets annually since 2009, the year Dan Mullen came to Mississippi State. My tickets are in the east side upper deck, but because I have some really generous close friends, I’ve been invited to join them in the Club Level probably a dozen times over the past five years. I even had the opportunity to sit in a sky box once, although I have to say that I like the Club Level much better. I guess I prefer the community of the larger club level crowd over the relatively small number of people in a sky box.

True confession time here – I REALLY enjoy the premium seating areas. Among the benefits – all the food and beverages you want at no additional cost, televisions galore tuned to our game and whatever other games that are going on at the same time, a climate controlled area to retreat to when the weather is bad, and MUCH nicer bathrooms.

Prior to this year, the problem was that the demand for premium seating greatly outstripped the supply. If you didn’t already have club level seats, your only chance at getting them was if someone decided not to renew them.  Even then, there was a huge waiting list.

The other problem of course is that they are a bit on the pricey side. A $2,500 per seat Bulldog Club donation is required to purchase East side club level tickets, a price that puts them out of reach for most people, including me.  But the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium brought with it a number of new premium seating options, including one in particular that caught my eye – the Gridiron.  My wife and I decided to take the plunge and purchase two Gridiron passes for the 2014 season.

The Gridiron is located under the new north end zone stands and features the same amenities that other premium seating areas do – plenty of TV’s, unlimited food and beverages, a locker, nice uncrowded bathrooms and a climate controlled environment. There is also an outdoor viewing area at field level that allows Gridiron patrons to stand and view the action right at field level.

Unlike the other premium areas though, a Gridiron pass is not a ticket to the game and there are no outside seats for fans to sit while in the Gridiron. Gridiron pass holders must have a separate game ticket to enter the stadium.  Once inside the stadium, they use their pass to enter the Gridiron area.  Pass holders receive an armband and may enter and leave the Gridiron whenever they wish throughout the game.

In the outside area of the Gridiron, one may choose to stand along the rail at field level or stand on the terraced areas. The terrace rails are designed to hold your food and drink as you watch the game. During the pregame, you are only a few yards from where the opposing team warms up. During the game when the action is happening near the north end zone, you feel as if you are a part of the game. (Coolest game action so far – watching Jay Hughes return the blocked field goal against Southern Miss for a touchdown, then celebrate with his teammates RIGHT in front of us.) Plus there’s the south end zone Jumbotron immediately in front of you that compensates for the fact that your perspective at ground level end zone isn’t quite as good as in an elevated sideline seat.

Another reason I like the Gridiron – it is surrounded by the student section. This means there is an enormous amount of activity happening right in front of you. The cheerleaders, Bully, the band, media, recruits, sideline celebrities and other guests – all are in front of you at various times during the game.  There’s nothing quite like being in the center of the action and you truly you are when you are in the Gridiron.

Many people come to the Gridiron during pregame and during halftime to eat, and then return to their seats to watch the game. But quite a few choose to remain in the Gridiron for the entire game and watch the game while standing along the fence.  My wife and I chose this option during the Auburn game, although she decided to move inside during the heaviest of the rain.  The terraced rows are under a canopy, but if you chose to be along the fence as we did, you had no cover from the rain unless you retreated inside.

So what’s a Gridiron pass cost? A mere $750 per pass gets you access for the season, and in my opinion, it’s worth every penny.  It’s easily the best deal going for a premium area.  I’m hooked now and will be renewing my passes next year as well.

Oh yeah, there’s one other major benefit to being in the Gridiron. When the Bulldogs win a huge game such as they did against Auburn, you can stand along the fence and celebrate with the team, high fiving them as they walk past.  I’ll close by leaving you a sample of what that was like this past Saturday: