Nickerson Field

Nickerson Field is an outdoor athletic stadium in the Northeastern United States, on the campus of Boston University (BU) in Boston, Massachusetts. The stadium is owned by BU, and is the home field for some Boston University Terriers athletics programs, including soccer and lacrosse. It was also the home of the Boston University Terriers football team until the program was discontinued following the 1997 season.[2]

The stadium is located on the site of Braves Field, the former home ballpark of the Boston Braves, a major league baseball team in the National League; the franchise relocated to Milwaukee in March 1953,[3] and relocated again in 1966, becoming the Atlanta Braves. Parts of Braves Field, such as the entry gate and right field pavilion, remain as portions of the current stadium. The old Braves Field ticket office at Harry Agganis Way also remains, now used by the Boston University Police Department. The stadium has been the home of BU teams longer (50-plus years) than it was the home of the Braves (parts of 38 seasons).

The field is named for William Emery Nickerson (1853–1930), a partner of King C. Gillette during the early years of the Gillette Safety Razor Company.[4]

Nickerson Field
Former namesBoston University Field
Address285 Babcock Street[1]
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°21′11″N 71°07′08″W / 42.353°N 71.119°WCoordinates: 42°21′11″N 71°07′08″W / 42.353°N 71.119°W
OwnerBoston University
OperatorBoston University
Field size86 x 134 yards[1] (78.6 x 122.5 m)
SurfaceGreenFields MX Trimension (2015–present)
FieldTurf (2001–2015)
AstroTurf (1968–2000)
Natural grass (1955–1967)
Broke groundMarch 20, 1915
OpenedAugust 18, 1915
Boston University Terriers (NCAA) (1953–present)
Boston Patriots (AFL) (1960–1962)
Boston Astros (ASL) (1974–75)
Boston Minutemen (NASL) (1975)
New England Tea Men (NASL) (1979)
Boston Breakers (USFL) (1983)
Boston Bolts (ASL/APSL) (1988–90)
Boston Breakers (WUSA) (2001–2003)
Boston Cannons (MLL) (2004–06)
Boston 13s (ANRL/USARL) (2009–present)


The university's previous athletic field was in the town of Weston. That field had been named for Nickerson, a member of the BU board of trustees who had donated funds for the facilities in Weston in 1926.[5] Nickerson "was an MIT graduate who was the principal inventor of the machinery used to manufacture the first Gillette safety razor."[6][7]

BU purchased the former home of the Braves on July 30, 1953,[8] and in April 1954 renamed it Boston University Field.[9] In 1955, the left field pavilion and the "Jury Box" were demolished and in November, 1959, the grandstand was taken down to make room for three high rise dormitories that were completed in 1964. The existing right field pavilion was squared off on the west side and filled in on the east side where a section had been removed to accommodate the Braves Field right field foul pole and bullpens. The three dormitories overlooking the field coincidentally suggest the outline of the original main grandstand section.[10]

In February 1956, BU was awarded $391,000 for the Weston field, which had been taken by eminent domain for construction of Massachusetts Route 128.[11] BU used the proceeds, in part, to renovate the former baseball park, and on September 28, 1963, renamed it Nickerson Field, inheriting the name of the prior field in Weston.[12]

In 1968, the field underwent a renovation. The four Braves Field light towers were dismantled. That year, BU became the second college in the United States to install AstroTurf. The following year, not only did the BU football team practice on that field, so did the Boston College Eagles football team and the Boston Patriots. Both used the field to prepare for away games they would play on AstroTurf fields.

During the 1983 season, Nickerson Field was the home field of the Boston Breakers of the United States Football League. From the mid-1980s to 1995, the stadium hosted the New England Scholastic Band Association's marching band field show championships. In 1989, to accommodate commencement speakers U.S. President George H. W. Bush and French President François Mitterrand, a large platform was constructed to Secret Service specifications on one side of the field. In 2001, the antiquated turf was replaced with a newer, more player-friendly artificial surface (FieldTurf) as part of a deal with the Women's United Soccer Association to host the Boston Breakers games. With a professional soccer team playing at Nickerson the football lines, which had remained on the field even though BU no longer had a football program, were not repainted. The platform built for Bush and Mitterrand was removed during the summer of 2008, when the field was expanded and resurfaced.

In the summer of 2015, the field received a new artificial turf, GreenFields MX Trimension; the new surface was installed over a period of five weeks, covering 110,000 square feet.[13]


View from the field, 2008.


Former right field pavilion, 2008.


Main concourse under the stadium's seating, 2006.

Use by professional sports

Since its reconfiguration in the 1950s, multiple professional sports franchises have used the stadium:

Year(s) Team League
1960–1962 Boston Patriots American Football League
1974–1975 Boston Astros American Soccer League
1975 Boston Minutemen North American Soccer League
1979 New England Tea Mendagger
1983 Boston Breakers United States Football League
1988–1990 Boston Bolts American Soccer League / American Professional Soccer League
2001–2003 Boston Breakers Women's United Soccer Association
2004–2006 Boston Cannons Major League Lacrossedouble-dagger
2009–present Boston Thirteens American National Rugby League / USA Rugby League
dagger The Tea Men used Nickerson after Foxboro Raceway filed a temporary restraining order preventing them from using Schaefer Stadium.
double-dagger The 2004 and 2005 Major League Lacrosse championships were played at the stadium.


  1. ^ a b c "Nickerson Field". Boston University. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Boston University cuts out football program". Bangor Daily News. Maine. Associated Press. October 27, 1997. p. C3.
  3. ^ "Approve Boston Braves' move". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. March 18, 1953. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Nickerson, Inventor of Gillette Safety Razor Machinery, Dead". The Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. AP. June 6, 1930 – via
  5. ^ "New England Sports Briefs". North Adams Transcript. North Adams, Massachusetts. AP. September 24, 1963. Retrieved October 20, 2017 – via
  6. ^ Craig, David J. (October 15, 1999). "Who's behind that building?". B.U. Bridge. III (10). Boston University – via
  7. ^ "About Us – Nickerson Family Association". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  8. ^ "Braves Field Sold To Boston University". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. AP. July 31, 1953. Retrieved October 20, 2017 – via
  9. ^ "Braves Field Becomes Boston University Field". North Adams Transcript. North Adams, Massachusetts. AP. April 14, 1954. Retrieved October 20, 2017 – via
  10. ^ "Boston University field and West Campus, Charles River, Boston". 1975. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "B.U. Wins $391,000 In Turnpike Suit". The Berkshire Eagle. Pittsfield, Massachusetts. UP. February 2, 1956. Retrieved October 20, 2017 – via
  12. ^ "New England Sports Briefs". North Adams Transcript. North Adams, Massachusetts. AP. September 23, 1963. Retrieved October 20, 2017 – via
  13. ^ "Nickerson Field Gets a Face-lift". BU Today. Boston University. September 2, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2017.

Further reading

External links

1960 Boston Patriots season

The 1960 Boston Patriots season was the franchise's 1st season in the American Football League The Patriots ended the season with a record of five wins and nine losses, under their head coach Lou Saban, and thus were last place in the AFL's Eastern Division. The team played their home games at Boston University's Nickerson Field (formerly the site of the Boston Braves' home ballpark Braves Field).

1962 Boston Patriots season

The 1962 Boston Patriots season was the franchise's 3rd season in the American Football League. The Patriots ended the season with a record of nine wins and four losses and one tie and placed second in the AFL's Eastern Division.

1974 Boston University Terriers football team

The 1974 Boston University Terriers football team represented Boston University as a member of the Yankee Conference during the 1974 NCAA Division II football season. In its second season under head coach Paul Kemp, the team compiled a 5–4–1 record (3–3 against conference opponents), placed in a four-way tie for third in the Yankee Conference, and outscored opponents by a total of 145 to 129.When coach Paul Kemp took over at Boston University in 1973, he inherited a team that finished 2–8 in 1972. The team improved to 3–8 in 1973. Kemp termed the 1974 season "Project Turnabout", and the team opened with three wins and one loss. The team went 2–3–1 in its final four games, but still wound up with the program's first winning season since 1970. Near the end of the season, coach Kemp said: "We're happy with our winning season. I think we're a pretty good team and we've been getting better in each game."Several Boston University players received post-season honors in 1974. Five were named to the All-Yankee Conference football team selected by the conference coaches: offensive tackle Jim Roderick, offensive guard Kevin Brooks, center Don Chrisos, linebacker Gary Dziama, and cornerback Rick Porter. Two (Chrisos and Dziama) were also named first-team players on the All-New England team.Boston University played its home games on Nickerson Field, which was part of the Case Sports Complex and was formerly known as Braves Field, the home of the Boston Braves.

1984 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship

The 1984 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship was the third annual single-elimination tournament to determine the national championship of NCAA women's college lacrosse. The championship game was played at Nickerson Field in Boston, Massachusetts during May 1984. The Temple Owls won their first championship after defeating the Maryland Terrapins in the final, 6–4.

The leading scorer for the tournament, for the second straight year, was Karen Emas, from Delaware, with 20 goals. Marie Schmucker, from Temple, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

2004 Major League Lacrosse season

The 2004 Major League Lacrosse season was the fourth season of the league. The season began on May 22 and concluded with the championship game on August 22, 2004.

2004 Philadelphia Barrage season

The Philadelphia Barrage played their fourth season, as a charter member of the MLL (originally known as the Bridgeport Barrage), during the 2004 season of Major League Lacrosse. The Barrage played in Bridgeport, Connecticut from the 2001 to the 2003 season and relocated to the Philadelphia suburb of Villanova for the 2004 season. The Barrage ended up in 2nd place in the American Division with a record of 7-5. The Barrage qualified for the MLL Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Barrage defeated the Rattlers 18-17 in OT in the MLL Semifinals at Nickerson Field on August 20, 2004. The Barrage won their 1st MLL Championship by defeating the Cannons 13-11 in the MLL Championship Game at Nickerson Field on August 22, 2004.

2005 Major League Lacrosse season

The 2005 Major League Lacrosse season was the fifth season of the league. The season began on May 20 and concluded with the championship game on August 21, 2005. This was the last MLL season when they just had 6 teams,and the next season, they had the new Western Conference.

2006 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship

The 2006 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship was the 25th annual single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion of Division I NCAA women's college lacrosse. The championship game was played at Nickerson Field in Boston, Massachusetts during May 2006. All NCAA Division I women's lacrosse programs were eligible for this championship, and a total of 16 teams were invited to participate.

Northwestern defeated Dartmouth, 7–4, to win their second national championship. This would subsequently become the second of Northwestern's seven national titles in eight years (2005–2009, 2011–12).

The leading scorer for the tournament was Crysti Foote from Notre Dame (17 goals). Sarah Albrecht, from Northwestern, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

2016 USARL season

The 2016 USA Rugby League season was the sixth season of the USA Rugby League National Premiership competition, and its second as the undisputed top-level rugby league competition in the United States. Fourteen teams competed for the National Championship. The season began on Saturday, June 4, and concluded with the Championship Final on Saturday, August 27, in Boston. The Philadelphia Fight won their fourth USARL Championship, defeating the Jacksonville Axemen 42-20.

2018 Patriot League Women's Soccer Tournament

The 2018 Patriot League Women's Soccer Tournament was the postseason women's soccer tournament for the Patriot League held from October 30 through November 4, 2018. The quarterfinals of the tournament will be held at campus sites, while the semifinals and final took place at Nickerson Field in Boston, Massachusetts. The six-team single-elimination tournament consisted of three rounds based on seeding from regular season conference play. The defending champions were the Bucknell Bison, however they were unable to defend their crown, losing to Lehigh 2–1 in the first round. The tournament was won by the Boston University Terriers, who were the #1 seed and defeated Lehigh 1–0 in the final. The conference championship was the fourth for the Boston University women's soccer program, all of which have come under coach Nancy Feldman.

America East Conference Men's Soccer Tournament

The America East Men's Soccer Tournament (formerly known as the North Atlantic Conference Championship) is the conference championship tournament in soccer for the America East Conference. The tournament has been held every year since 1988. It is a single-elimination tournament and seeding is based on regular season records. The winner, declared conference champion, receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Soccer Championship.

Boston Bolts

The Boston Bolts were a short lived U.S. soccer team which came into existence in 1988 as a member of the third American Soccer League (ASL). They played in Boston, Massachusetts at Nickerson Field. The team joined the American Professional Soccer League in 1990 when the ASL merged with the Western Soccer League.

Boston Breakers (WUSA)

The Boston Breakers was a professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston Minutemen

The Boston Minutemen were a soccer team based out of Boston that played in the NASL. They played from 1974 to 1976. Their home fields included Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy and Sargent Field in New Bedford.

Portuguese legend Eusébio played for the Minutemen in 1975 as did famed American player Shep Messing.

The Minutemen started well, winning the Northern Division title in their first season and drawing over 9000 fans a match to Alumni Stadium, good for 5th highest in the league. They lost in the playoffs to eventual league champion Los Angeles Aztecs. When Eusebio came to Boston in 1975 (by which time the team had relocated to Nickerson Field) it seemed as though things would continue to look up. Though the team would win the Northern Division title again for the second time in as many seasons, attendance curiously fell to around 4000 – half of what it had been. In the playoffs the Minutemen lost to Miami in extra time.

For the 1976 season, team owner John Sterge announced the Minutemen would relocate again, this time to Harvard Stadium, but that deal collapsed before the start of the season and the team ended up playing in a hodge-podge of grounds: Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Quincy, and Sargent Field in New Bedford.

By this time Sterge was having financial difficulties (which ended in action by the Securities and Exchange Commission) and was compelled to sell off many of his players, including Eusebio, who went to the eventual champions Toronto Metros-Croatia. Attendance plummeted, the Minutemen lost their last 12 matches, and after the season they folded.

Braves Field

Braves Field was a baseball park located in Boston, Massachusetts. Today the site is home to Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University. The stadium was home of the Boston Braves of the National League from 1915–1952, prior to the Braves' move to Milwaukee in 1953. The stadium hosted the 1936 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and Braves home games during the 1948 World Series. The Boston Red Sox used Braves Field for their home games in the 1915 and 1916 World Series since the stadium had a larger seating capacity than Fenway Park. Braves Field was the site of Babe Ruth's final season, playing for the Braves in 1935. From 1929 to 1932, the Boston Red Sox played select regular season games periodically at Braves Field. On May 1, 1920, Braves Field hosted the longest major league baseball game in history – 26 innings, which eventually ended in a 1–1 tie.Braves Field was also home to multiple professional football teams between 1929 and 1948, including the first home of the National Football League (NFL) franchise that became the Washington Redskins. The pro football Braves played at the ballpark in their inaugural season of 1932, then were at Fenway Park for four seasons as the Boston Redskins before the move south in 1937 to Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Located on Commonwealth Avenue at Babcock Street, the baseball field was aligned northeast, much as Fenway Park has been since it opened in April 1912. Most of the stadium was demolished in 1955, but significant portions of the original structure still stand and make up part of the Nickerson Field sports complex on the campus of Boston University.

History of the Boston Braves

The Atlanta Braves, a current Major League Baseball franchise, originated in Boston, Massachusetts. This article details the history of the Boston Braves, from 1871 to 1952, after which they moved to Milwaukee to become the Milwaukee Braves, and then eventually to Atlanta, to become the Atlanta Braves. The Boston Franchise played at South End Grounds from 1871 to 1914 and at Braves Field from 1915 to 1952. Braves Field is now Nickerson Field of Boston University. The franchise, from Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta, is the oldest continuous professional baseball franchise.

New England Tea Men

The New England Tea Men were a soccer team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts and Boston, Massachusetts. They played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1978 to 1980. Their home venues for outdoor play were Schaefer Stadium (1978 and 1980) and Nickerson Field (1979). They also played one season of indoor soccer in the NASL, using the Providence Civic Center for home games.

The Tea Men were originally owned by Unilever's Lipton subsidiary and given their unusual name as a nod to both the company's product line and the Boston Tea Party.

The Tea Men won their division in 1978 and made a further playoff run in 1980. However, the team struggled for financial solvency in Massachusetts. Right at the start of the 1980–81 indoor season they relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and became the Jacksonville Tea Men.

Portland Breakers

The Portland Breakers were an American football team that played in the United States Football League (USFL) in the mid-1980s. Before moving to Portland, Oregon, the franchise was previously in Boston, Massachusetts as the Boston Breakers and New Orleans, Louisiana as the New Orleans Breakers.

Walter Brown Arena

Walter Brown Arena is a 3,806-seat multi-purpose arena in Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Boston University Terriers women's ice hockey team and hosted the men's team before they moved to Agganis Arena. It is named in honor of Walter A. Brown, the original owner of the Boston Celtics, former president of the Boston Bruins and second manager of the Boston Garden (after his father). The arena is part of the Harold Case Physical Education Center, which includes Case Gym directly above the arena, as well as the former home of student recreation before the opening of the John Hancock Student Village. The building lies in the general area of the left field pavilion seats at the former Braves Field, whose right field pavilion and a portion of the field have been converted to neighboring Nickerson Field.

It hosted the first rounds of the 2003 and 2004 America East Conference men's basketball tournaments. It is also the practice rink for the three-time National Champion Boston University figure skating team (2009, 2010, and 2017).While it is known as the home of four BU men's hockey NCAA championships, one of its most famous (and tragic) events occurred in October 1995, when Travis Roy, a 20-year-old freshman hockey player, lost his balance attempting to make a check eleven seconds into his first collegiate hockey shift versus North Dakota, breaking his neck at the fourth vertebra and paralyzing him from the neck down. In 1999, his jersey number 24 became the first retired number in program history.The BU men's hockey team returned to Walter Brown for the first time in nearly ten years on Dec. 19, 2014 for an exhibition game against the United States men's national junior ice hockey team.

Events and tenants
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Boston Patriots

1960 – 1962
Succeeded by
Fenway Park
Preceded by
Cawley Memorial Stadium
Home of the
Boston Cannons

2004 – 2006
Succeeded by
Harvard Stadium
Preceded by
Villanova Stadium
Host of Major League Lacrosse championship weekend
2004 – 2005
Succeeded by
Home Depot Center Track Stadium
Sports venues in the Greater Boston area
Never built
Campus Media
Division championships (21)
Conference championships (11)
League championships (6)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Former league affiliation
Seasons (60)
Bowls & rivalries
Culture & lore

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