SBD/Issue 232/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
More Than 67,000 Fans Attend First Football
Game At New Meadowlands Stadium
A crowd of 67,551 attended last night's Giants-Jets preseason game at the $1.6B New Meadowlands Stadium, the first NFL game at the facility, and the initial reviews for the stadium are "mixed," according to Rohan Mascarenhas of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Fans "encountered a long list of new features not present in the old Giants Stadium, including four giant video screens, 22 luxury suites and more than 800 concession stands." Fans "liked the quick service at the food stands, but others complained about the spotty cell coverage and the ticket costs." The stadium's gray color scheme, "chosen for its neutrality, received only grudging acceptance from some fans." The night "ended with little traffic trouble, as fans had been leaving the stadium at a steady pace since halftime," but fans "complained some of the parking lots available to non-PSL ticket buyers were too far from the stadium." Mascarenhas notes there were "a few opening day kinks," including that "longtime spectators and parking crews struggled to navigate the newly numbered parking lots" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/17). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes the stadium is a "nice facility," though there were "some first-night jitters, including a false fire alarm in the press box and a spotty PA system." Food prices are "high, but that's life in the big city" (SI.com, 8/17). Jets Owner Woody Johnson and Exec VP/Business Operations Matt Higgins before the game made the "rounds in the parking lot of tailgaters" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/17).
TRYING NOT TO PLAY FAVORITES: New Meadowlands Stadium CEO Mark Lamping said the most repeated observation he and his staff have heard from fans “when they've been in here is that they've been disappointed that there hasn't been a lot of Jets and Giants colors in and around the building." WFAN-AM’s Mike Francesa said, "It's a drab-looking building. Your seats are colorless. Of course, you're trying to stay neutral, right?" Lamping: "We want to have a neutral background" ("Mike Francesa," YES, 8/16). In N.Y., George Vecsey notes the "biggest complaint about the new place ... has been the drab grayness, as seen from the New Jersey Turnpike" or other roads, but "modern technology takes care of some of that sameness, providing electronic backdrop for the home team" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/17).
HIGH-TECH TREATMENT: In N.Y., Calder & Fermino note while the stadium has "plenty of amenities," it is the "high-tech security bracelet for tracking youngsters that's sure to be a hit with moms and dads." When parents arrive at the stadium, they can "march up to the guest service booth and request the electronic bracelet." New Meadowlands Stadium Co. President & CEO Mark Lamping said that the technology "will be implemented around the time the regular season kicks off next month." Meanwhile, another "Jetsons-like feature in the stadium is that fans in the 200 luxury suits will be able to order food from any of the building's 800 vendors through TVs in their suites." The Jets and Giants also are "developing apps for iPhones and Android phones, which will likely debut later in the season," and the stadium is also "wired to allow fans to add money to their ticket stubs, which can be used like a preloaded debit card for parents and kids alike inside the stadium" (N.Y. POST, 8/17). ESPN's Mike Tirico said the stadium is like a "big old Best Buy," as there are televisions "everywhere in this place" ("MNF," ESPN, 8/16).
Take A Look At The Commissioner's Suite
At New Meadowlands Stadium
GOING BEHIND THE SCENES: ESPN’s broadcast of Giants-Jets aired shots of the suites at the stadium, including where individual suite holders can come and mingle in a common area called the Commissioner's Suite, which has a fireplace, food and beverage. ESPN’s Tirico said, "Oftentimes, people go to stadiums you just sit with your own suite holders and don't see other people. There's an unbelievable area to congregate in that Commissioner's Suite. … The high-end folks very comfortable in the new place." Tirico noted each team “has a very large reception area for VIPs and suite holders on either side of the 50-yard line. The Jets are going with the Green Room theme; the Giants are going to go with more of a legacy feel” (“MNF,” ESPN, 8/16).
EXPENSIVE NIGHT OUT: In N.Y., Karoliszyn & Mcshane estimated that with "tickets, parking and noshing, the cost of taking a family of four" to the stadium is "close to $600 -- and that's without the personal seat license fees." However, it will be "easier to find -- if not afford -- food and drinks, with more than 800 concession stands inside the stadium -- triple the number the demolished Giants Stadium had." The menu at the stadium "includes 30 new dishes, from Nonna Fusco's meatballs -- made fresh with beef, veal and pork -- to pepper and egg sandwiches" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/11).
HIGH FLYERS: On Long Island, Roderick Boone notes the Jets during halftime of last night's game "unveiled their new Ring of Honor, which sits on the upper deck facing in each end zone." Former Jets coach Weeb Ewbank, QB Joe Namath, RB Curtis Martin, OT Winston Hill, WR Don Maynard and DT Joe Klecko "were the first to be enshrined" (NEWSDAY, 8/17).
Amon G. Carter Stadium Renovation To Add
Suites, Club Seats To West Side Of Stadium
Texas Christian Univ. yesterday announced a "long-rumored" $105M renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium, according to Stefan Stevenson of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. As part of the renovations, the stadium's "west side and north end zone will be completely revamped, thanks to 34 donors." TCU AD Chris Del Conte said that the "bulk of the donations were received in the last eight months." The renovation plans "call for 24 suites and up to 2,300 club seats on the west side." The 24,000 square feet of club-level space, when competed, will be "roughly where the first two rows of the current upper deck sit," and will be "sandwiched between two levels of seating, all perched above the field-level seats." Stevenson notes the current west side, which "towers over the east side with a double-decker set of seats with a 50-year old press box perched at the top, will be replaced." HKS Sports & Entertainment Group Senior Designer Dan Phillips said that construction crews will "remove nearly every aspect of the west side down to the bottom concourse, leaving just the first 21 original rows of seats remaining." Meanwhile, other renovations include a new press box that will be "located in the northwest corner of the club level and will include a dining area," as well as upgraded concession stands that will "alleviate long wait times." TCU's renovated stadium "will seat 40,000 spectators with the ability to add 10,000 more seats in the future," down from the current capacity of 44,358 (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/17).
NASCAR HOF May See Decline In
Attendance With The Start Of School Year
The NASCAR HOF may find it "difficult to meet" attendance projects during the rest of the year because the museum's "strongest period of attendance may be the summer, when kids are out of school and people take vacations," according to a front-page piece by Harrison & Hall Singe of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The HOF "projected 800,000 visitors in its first 14 months," but if the HOF's average attendance continues for the rest of the year, it "would have 410,000 visitors." American Association of Museums Senior Manager Dewey Blaton said that "sports halls of fame are dependent on the summer" in part because they are "dependent on tourists." Harrison & Hall Singe report the HOF "is noticeably less busy, as fewer people are coming compared with earlier in the summer." Attendance in July averaged 1,075 people a day, while the first week of August "drew 844 people a day." The HOF "will get a boost in October, when Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the Bank of America 500." It will have "extended hours in the week leading up to the race, and may draw thousands of additional fans." It is also "counting on getting visitors who are in Charlotte for conventions." NASCAR HOF Exec Dir Winston Kelley last week said that "the hall is considering how to celebrate events like Halloween and Christmas to attract visitors" and indicated that he "wants 2011 Hall of Fame nominees to make appearances." Kelley also said that the HOF "will stop selling time-specific tickets for the hall, which are used to control crowds." He noted that with the exception of race week, "they aren't needed ... and could make potential visitors believe the hall will be crowded" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/17).
RAMPING UP LOCAL MARKETING EFFORTS: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted the HOF will soon be launching an ad campaign from marketing consultant Wray Ward aimed at drawing local and regional traffic to the HOF. The HOF this week also begins a "back-to-school promotion that will offer students half-off admission with the donation of school supplies." More "themed promotions are planned around NASCAR races and holidays." Spanberg wrote, "Still, it looks like a long slog, and one complicated by NASCAR's ongoing decline as a sport." Kelley "acknowledges some rough patches for the sport" but remains "convinced the hall of fame is laying the foundation for bigger crowds in the months ahead." Kelley: "Any business right now would like to have more customers. We're all in that economic time where we're competing for discretionary dollars. We're building up our brand" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/13 issue).