Cal's $321M Renovations To Memorial Stadium Earn High Praise
The Univ. of California-Berkeley’s “rebooted stadium is an absolute delight to behold,” according to Mark Purdy of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The $321M renovation of Memorial Stadium is a “splendid reinvention of the Bay Area's oldest and most historic still-standing sports structure.” The seats are “all new and aluminum, some with seat backs,” while the concourses are “bright and three times as wide as the old ones.” There are club-level lounges with “multiple televisions tuned in to college games across the country.” There is “one odd non-improvement,” as portable toilets are “still needed on the walkway above the east rim of the stadium.” Even “with that caveat, the new Memorial Stadium immediately becomes the best football venue in California, college or pro.” In addition to the stadium upgrades, “there's a state-of-the-art training center” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/2). In S.F., Jill Tucker wrote, “To the casual observer ... probably didn't look much different.” Memorial Stadium’s “historic facade was retained and the bowl seating and field look about the same, albeit 4 feet deeper.” But some of the “more subtle improvements were not lost on die-hard Bear fan” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/2). Cal radio play-by-play announcer Joe Starkey said, “Most people are going to be delighted that they now have metal benches instead of wood ones that manage to splinter your body on a regular basis” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/4). Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said of the renovations, "I'm very impressed. Looking at it from a macro perspective, it's a great accomplishment" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/2).
MYSTERY SEATS: In California, Jeff Faraudo noted Cal is “fixing a problem that led to the sale of seats that did not exist in three sections" of renovated Memorial Stadium for last Saturday's season-opening game against Nevada." Cal Associate AD/Ticket Sales, Marketing & Service Ashwin Puri said that it is “standard practice in new stadiums to make estimates before the project is complete of how many seats will fit in each row so tickets can be sold.” Puri said, “Every stadium comes up with manifested number of seats prior to building being finalized. It wasn't a guessing game. It was based on conversations we had with the construction company.” Puri: “We didn't oversell it. We realized the error in our ways. I don't have an exact number -- no more than 100. I doubt if it was even that many” (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 9/4).