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A Closer Look At Ten of Auburn’s 25 Gameday Improvements

By on August 24th, 2017 in Football, News 13 Comments »
jordan-hare-stadium-auburn-alumni-association-1478453230

Auburn announced improvements for the game day experience to and around Jordan-Hare Stadium. (photo: Auburn Alumni Association)

Love him or hate him, Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is trying. Just a scant week before Auburn football takes the field against Georgia Southern, subscribers to the AU Athletics’ War Eagle Weekly email service received an email outlining more changes coming to football game days. 

Changes centering around improving the experience of the average fan aren’t new. The last round saw lots of up-to-date TVs added around the concourse and free water distribution stations. Of course, these updates were half-measure responses to what the fans had actually asked for: more and better concessions to alleviate waiting for food during games and the ability to bring in water on hot September day games.

You may recall that Jordan-Hare is scheduled for some fairly massive upgrades, but the average fan wasn’t expected to reap the benefits. The vast majority of the construction centers around corporate sponsors and recruits. I’ve voiced my concerns for several years now that the average fan and donor is continually ignored, despite taking the time to fill out surveys sent out by the athletics office. 

Perhaps Jacob’s heard fans. 

There will be 25 enhancements, and for the most part they are aimed at the average fan. You can read about all of them here

Let’s take a look at ten of the more notable enhancements:

  1. The Facilities and Community Garden RV parking area will now open on Thursdays at 2 p.m. They previously opened on Fridays at 4 p.m. While it was unlikely that you, as a fan, were going to be turned away if you arrived slightly early on Friday, it did make following the rules a bit hectic when showing up after work on a Friday (especially on big game weekends). This is a terrific change that should drive down the stress for hundreds of RV’rs. 
  2. The North End Zone concourse was expanded by 60 percent to allow for better traffic flow and less congestion. Additional concessions carts, grills and tents will be placed in this area.  I would have much preferred to see the walkways inside of the stadium extended as that is where traffic is the worst, even if it meant sacrificing a row of seating. The congestion in the breezeways and on the loop around the stadium is the absolute worst thing about being inside Jordan-Hare.   
  3. Tiger Transit shuttles will operate to downtown Auburn pregame and from downtown to War Eagle Way after the game. I admit that I have never had an issue parking, even close to the stadium. We also stay fairly late after games to allow the congestion to die, so this doesn’t affect me. However, any mass transit done right is a good thing. I have to say that walking to the stadium from downtown is a long way, especially for the elderly.
  4. 45 new flat screen TV’s have been added to the upper concourses for better fan viewing when away from the game. Same comment I’ve had time and time again: Make the vendors more efficient and there is no need to watch the game from inside the concourses. If they need to be anywhere, they need to be inside the bathrooms or at least in easy viewing of the line going to the bathroom. 
  5. Auburn built four new concessions stands on the main concourse level and added 61 new points of sale. A followon to my statements earlier. Is more better? I guess we will see. 
  6. The size of the cups at the free hydration stations has been increased to 12 oz. The issue here isn’t the size of the cup but the inability to take enough cups to your seat. People pile up at the hydration stations to quench their thirst. I completely understand the safety issue that requires no bottles. Yet, every game day, hundreds of gallons of liquor is consumed inside the stadium. Are plastic drink containers really the problem? 
  7. A new outdoor club will be located in the Plainsman Park parking lot. It will be open to the public, and food and beverages will be available for purchase. I don’t see how this is new, at all. There have been multiple vendors at this spot for a decade or more. Perhaps it will offer something unique to fans, but it seems to be just an idea to cash in on the Tiger Walk crowd. Then, there is the talk of beer sales. That’s an entirely different debate, but it toes the line of demarcation between NFL and college policies that college football has danced around for decades. 
  8. The official Auburn mobile app will integrate in-stadium contests and interactive features. Instead of concentrating on contests and interactive features, I wish they would improve the app’s quality. It’s been fairly horrible. 
  9. New specialty vendors (Philly Connection, Taste of New Orleans, Jim N Nicks, Nuts About Auburn, Bodacious Burgers) have been added to the newly expanded north concourse. No offense to the old vendors, but “specialty” is interchangeable with “premium” in my book, and none of the previous “premium” vendors were premium at all except in the cost. 
  10. The student section will have a DJ. This has been the subject to a lot of laughs the last day or so on talk radio. Word on the street is that this DJ will take over duties that already existed, specifically playing music when the band doesn’t. However, it’s hard not to envision DJ Khalid playing “All I Do is Win.” Auburn has never, EVER, had an issue with either filling the student section or getting the students involved.

    This feels more like something Oregon would do to establish atmosphere. This is Auburn. It has THE best game-day atmosphere. If Auburn needed to create an artificial atmosphere, all it had to do was dial up Alabama and Nick Saban for pointers and demand that the students stay for the entire game at the risk of losing their student tickets or pipe in the band through loudspeakers.

13 Comments

  1. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    I really don’t understand the hate for the DJ in the student section. I think it’s a very cool thing for the school to try and something I never would have expected from Auburn. Whoever it is has an uphill battle, but I think it can be cool. If it goes bad I guess it would just be like a bad episode of ‘Ellen’?

    • audude audude says:

      I have seen it in basketball games. It really adds nothing in my opinion. Canned music was already present. It is very strictly scripted as to when they play vs the band plays same as before. The only difference is sometimes they ask for suggestions (like they weren’t going to play “that” song anyway).
      Again, I think it adds nothing.

      WDE

  2. neonbets says:

    That’s a great recap, Zach.

    I know it’s just the cynic in me, but there just has to be an enterprising young quant working for Goldman Sachs or some high-end hedge fund who sees all this and is asking himself—‘How do I short this?’

    How do I profit from the coming fiscal demise of not only CFB, but the modern college experience in general? [I can just see the PowerPoint presentation…]
    1. ESPN and other broadcast rights holders are cutting way back.
    2. Youth participation in football is on a steep decline due to a legit concern about safety and the allure of video games.
    3. There’s a significant mismatch between the cost of the modern college experience and the reasonable expectation of future income prospects (ie Big Debts and Mediocre Income]
    4. A fine education can be obtained online for a fraction of the cost.

    All this smacks of Peak Football and Peak College: Extract every little bit of cash from the poor saps in college who are still able to get Easy Cash! for their student loans. Extract every little bit of cash from the alumni that still remembers all the fun they had when they were in school. Extract every little bit of cash from the corporations that still see Luxury Suites as a viable investment. Extract every last penny….’Cuz it’s all coming down.

    Whatever. It won’t stop me from the excitement for Auburn Football in 2017! And I’m going to enjoy it too, because CFB will never get better than it is right now.

  3. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    As regards the DJ, I agree “This feels more like something Oregon would do to establish atmosphere” It also sounds like what some NFL team would do. The band and cheerleaders pumping the crowd is part of what makes college football different (and better). Auburn doesn’t need artificial help. If you truly want to help the student section, give them FREE food!

    • Tigerpharm says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      I think it could be fun. I get the criticisms. I genuinely do, but I am also assuming that this is more of a pregame thing rather than an in-game feature.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      I agree PMT,

      I am not a negative guy but ever since the new jumbotron has been installed, it seems at times like we’re at an Atlanta Braves game with the commercials, video games, kiss cams etc. I love baseball but it’s a slow game and may need help entertaining the crowd. But part of the excitement and majesty of college football is the band. They don’t seem to play as often now and when they do the big monster atop the south endzone is drowning them out or they have to wait till the commercial is over.

      I know there have been times when the fans should be involved making noise to help the team and they are being ‘distracted’ by a kiss cam or some other nonsense. I think the jumbotron should be used while the game is in progress solely for game shots and replays.

      Nothing wrong with those other things but do them during TV breaks or between quarters, not when the players are involved in the fight on the field. Crowd noise (and band playing) is how you help the team. Everything should be geared toward helping the Orange and Blue win, not entertaining the crowd. As for filling the seats, nothing brings them back like winning!

      On to victory,
      Fly down the field,
      Give ‘em – give ’em hell,
      Stand up and yell,

      War Eagle,
      WIN for Auburn,
      Power of Dixie land!

      • Derrick Roberts says:

        I'll say this: when I first heard of the jumbotron doing this it didn't annoy me much. Until I went to a game. The way they implemented it was just awful. Paul, your thoughts are spot on. The kiss cam and & cup game nonsense killed any kind of football vibe that was present whenever those things played. I hope they move away from that in a big way this year and focus more on the action rather than hokey/generic animations of cliched features.

      • AUFan1 AUFan1 says:

        You are so right Tigerman.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      I agree PMT,

      I am not negative guy but ever since the new jumbotron has been installed, it seems at times like we’re at an Atlanta Braves game with the commercials, video games, kiss cams etc. I love baseball but it’s a slow game and may need help entertaining the crowd. But part of the excitement and majesty of college football is the band. They don’t seem to play as often now and when they do the big monster atop the south endzone is drowning them out or they have to wait till the commercial is over.

      I know there have been times when the fans should be involved making noise to help the team and they are being ‘distracted’ by a kiss cam or some other nonsense. I think the jumbotron should be used while the game is in progress solely for game shots and replays.

      Nothing wrong with those other things but do them during TV breaks or between quarters, not when the players are involved in the fight on the field. Crowd noise (and band playing) is how you help the team. Everything should be geared toward helping the Orange and Blue win, not entertaining the crowd. As for filling the seats, nothing brings them back like winning!

      On to victory,
      Fly down the field,
      Give ‘em – give ’em hell,
      Stand up and yell,

      War Eagle,
      WIN for Auburn,
      Power of Dixie land!

  4. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I just wish posters would shy away from using the “average fan” tag — And, no, I have no better terminology unless to say “non Scholarship Donor or non-suite” fan. But why ding those fans? And what is the definition of “average”? Is this a fan that has season tickets but isn’t in the club or better levels? Or is this a fan that goes to one or two games a year?

    But the improvements listed above really don’t improve the experience for the “non-average fans”.

    An earlier article made mention of the fact that JHS was making improvements but “you won’t notice them”… (That is not a direct quote so pardon any inaccuracy, but, the point is the same.)

    Just because someone can afford $3,000 per ticket per year doesn’t make them less of a fan or less than “average” in my opinion. Sure, maybe those donors see improvements prior to other ticket holders but this isn’t uncommon at all – look at virtually any university and you will see the same thing.
    I know when I pay X number of dollars above and beyond that I expect something in return.

    But, if you upgrade your flight from Economy to Business/First do you not expect to board first, have free food and free beverages? Of course. Who wouldn’t.

    As it relates to the beer sales, that’s been around for a while in the club and suite levels inside the stadium and also includes wine. This new thingy is outside the stadium and may, or may not, last. Most people outside the stadium have enough anyway.

    Go and read some other fan sites where there are continuous comments about the state of “their” stadium and then compare that to JHS.

    Trust me, just trying to play “Devil’s Advocate” here from someone on the other side.

    And, no, I’m not yet on board with the DJ thing – at least not yet. We have one of the best bands so let them play!

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