Alabama-Notre Dame Game Is Played At Sun Life Stadium Far From The Glitter Of South Florida
For the next month, media are going to be writing and broadcasting stories about the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame.
Many of them will include headlines or TV teasers using the words “South Beach.” All glitter and glamor. As if the game is being played right down Collins Ave.
Well I’m here to tell you that not only is the game not being played in South Beach, it’s not even being played anywhere close to South Beach. This is not New Orleans, where you can walk from the French Quarter – and Bourbon Street – to the stadium. This is more like the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. If you live in Manhattan Beach.
And that means it’s a long drive.
I know this because I stayed in South Beach for the USC-Oklahoma BCS National Championship game. And I had to drive to the stadium, which is pretty close to my cousin’s house in Pembroke Pines. But nowhere near South Beach. It’s an hour on good day, and more than two hours on game day.
The venue, called Sun Life Stadium (personally, I preferred it when it was Landshark Stadium, a brief name to honor sponsor Landshark Lager beer of South Florida adopted son Jimmy Buffett), is in the middle of nowhere. And that’s not easy to accomplish in crowded South Florida.
There are no bars nearby, no restaurants, not really even a community. It’s flatland in a somewhat rundown residential area. You drive for miles and miles, seemingly endlessly and not quite sure where you are going through an area that’s some 25 miles from the beach.
You’re actually better off staying in Ft. Lauderdale than South Beach. It’s about an hour closer to the stadium.
Regardless, you either need a designated driver or rent a limo or party bus to tailgate and party at the game. If you think you can show up in South Beach and stroll to the stadium, you’ll be both disillusioned and disappointed.