Florida A&M University’s Bragg Memorial Stadium, home to the Rattlers’ football team, has undergone a remarkable transformation, providing a revamped game-day experience that has left over 17,000 spectators electrified this football season.
Having hosted two thrilling home games this month, the stadium’s new features have ignited a wave of fan engagement and excitement that is taking Tallahassee by storm.
The journey of stadium reconstruction began in 2021, and since then FAMU has spared no effort in enhancing this iconic venue. Some of the latest additions include a cutting-edge LED scoreboard and upgraded lighting that ensures spectacular visuals, a dynamic surround sound system that immerses fans in the action, a state-of-the-art press box for media and VIPs, a new tailgating lawn and a renaming of the field honoring the late former head coach, Ken Riley.
Notably, the university has also tackled long-standing concerns related to safety, traffic congestion and parking during the first two phases of the stadium’s restructuring. Structural upgrades to the bleachers and seats, capable of accommodating nearly 25,000 visitors, have been implemented, providing enhanced comfort and security.
Moreover, a comprehensive overhaul of the stadium parking lot has made ingress and egress a breeze, with a new pathway connecting the parking area to the stadium.
An impressive $18 million has been invested in these renovations since 2021, with $8 million contributed directly by the university. This financial commitment has raised eyebrows among some Tallahassee taxpayers, but Florida A&M President Larry Robinson sees it as a strategic investment that benefits the community at large.
Both current students and alumni share in this enthusiasm, as they embrace the stadium’s remarkable upgrades, including dedicated alumna and season ticket holder Ila Brown.
After witnessing the magic of FAMU facing off against Alabama State on Saturday, Brown is brimming with anticipation, thanks to the incredible new experiences the stadium offers.
“I am very excited for the football season, I really think this can be the year that the Rattlers make it to the Celebration Bowl,” Brown said. “You can tell by the excitement of everybody that comes to the games to support Florida A&M are hoping and expecting to go all the way this year, so everyone is very excited.”
Both students and alumni are stoked and appreciative of these upgrades, as they have not gone unnoticed.
“I noticed the scoreboard has been upgraded with a bigger television and louder speakers and Ken Riley’s name has been added and honored on the field,” Brown added. “I think it’s improved game day experience. I think it makes a greater experience for fans to have a bigger scoreboard and better visuals, especially during halftime and seeing the band with such a nice and pretty screen.”
But what truly thrills Brown are the new scoreboard and the awe-inspiring fireworks display that accompanies FAMU’s entrance to the stadium.
President Robinson and the athletic department are dedicated to elevating this unforgettable and enjoyable experience even further, with the current upgrades just the beginning of a grand vision for the stadium’s future.
As reported by tallahassee.com on Sept. 20, Robinson has requested an additional $15 million from the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency for Bragg Stadium.
“Specifically, we are in need of an additional $15,000,000 from Blueprint’s infrastructure funds to enhance some of the health and safety aspects of this community asset,” Robinson said in a letter to city and county commissioners.
Though the enhancements have already drawn rave reviews, fans still see areas where future improvements can shine. Brown suggests, “I think the bathroom could use some improvement. They definitely keep the bathrooms as clean as possible, but the faucets and stalls are pretty outdated and can be upgraded.”
She also points out that line wait times and food options should be considered for enhancement in the near future.
Bragg Memorial Stadium’s transformation extends beyond the realm of football, symbolizing Florida A&M University’s unwavering dedication to excellence and its commitment to nurturing a thriving community. As Tallahassee prepares to rally behind the Rattlers, the stadium stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of Florida A&M and its limitless potential.
FAMU football coach Willie Simmons summed it up beautifully: “Hopefully, we continue to do more because we see the opportunities that having a world-class facility will do, not just for football, but for the city, soccer, and other sports.”
With these remarkable enhancements, FAMU’s future shines brighter than ever before.