Since 1986, Boise State’s famous blue turf has been turning heads in college football. After 37 years, it just won a very special honor from USA Today. 

Boise State kicks off its 2023 football season on Saturday, September 2 on the road at #10 Washington. The Broncos come home to Albertsons Stadium to battle UCF for their first home game of the season on Saturday, September 9 at 5 p.m. If we were betting people, we’d place money on the announcers talking about “The Blue” as they show the first aerial shots of Albertsons Stadium before the game even starts. Living in the Treasure Valley, seeing the blue isn’t something new. But for the rest of the country? It’s the one thing the Broncos are known for. 

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Getty Images
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And apparently, it’s one of the things on every sports fan’s bucket list! Throughout the summer, USA Today asked fans to vote for their favorite sports attractions in the country for their “10 Best Readers’ Choice” awards. There were some absolutely legendary choices on the list like the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The majority of choices on the list were museums or a hall of fame. “The Blue” was the only college football stadium on the list. 

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When the final votes were tallied, “The Blue” topped the other 19 nominees and won the title of “Best Attraction for Sports Fans!” Here’s a look at the other top 9 attractions “The Blue” stole the top spot from. 

The 10 Greatest Sports Attractions for Fans According to USA Today

In their 2023 Readers' Choice poll, these were the Top 10 Best Spots Attractions for Fans. That #1 choice looks very, very familiar!

How Did the Smurf Turf Come to Be?

In 1986, Boise State was due to spend around $750,000 to replace Bronco Stadium’s green tuft. Athletic Director, Gene Bleymaier, wanted to force people to recognize just how much they were pouring into upgrading Boise State’s playing surface so he came up with the idea to make the field blue. According to the Coloradoan, the manufacturer wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but when Bleymaier threatened to take the school’s money elsewhere, AstroTurf agreed.  

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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The university has fiercely protected its colored field idea and actually owns the trademark for all non-green field turf surfaces. That means if teams, regardless if they’re high schools or colleges, want to use a colored playing surface, they must have the blessing of Boise State to move forward with installation. 

Boise State's usually really good about granting free licensing in those situations. They mainly want to make sure that it's not a team that competes with us on the field in the recruiting process. It wasn't until 23 years after The Blue was installed that another college wanted to use blue turf. Boise State approved the license for the University of New Haven to move forward as long as they clearly referred to their field as the "Blue and Yellow."

That was in 2009 and it's the first field on our list of eight fields that BSU gave the thumbs up to.

8 Crazy Colorful Football Fields Boise State Approved

Everyone knows that The Blue is one of the most iconic fields in college football and there are a few colleges that wanted to jump on the bandwagon. In order to do that, they needed Boise State's blessing!

KEEP READING: 15 Things You Should Never Do at a Boise State Home Game

Things that are a no-no to do in or around a Boise State game.

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