Memorial Stadium Game Day Experience

#176      

Stevegarbs

Mokena, IL
Ditto for me. Is this not happening any longer? Thanks to the inconspicuous wine skin back in the day (and having a roommate who sold programs at MS before the game, with the ability to smuggle alcohol inside) I'm speculating that I probably didn't recall walking home after 80% of games I attended. Perfect attendance over 4-1/2 years on campus btw!

Before reading all of these comments pertaining to student attendance/participation, I would have naively speculated that 20,000-30,000 current students are buying discounted tickets and attending each game. The rationale:

- What else is there to do on game day? Basketball games are often on week nights, but 98% of our home FB games are on Saturdays.
- School spirit?
- Tailgating and alcohol?
- Fun and entertainment?
- An all day mega party?
- Doesn't this constitute at least 10% of the reason that HS students choose to go to Champaign-Urbana? (It certainly was for me.)

Since my days on campus, I've always assumed it was alumni sitting in the West stands, students & band in the East stands, with the casual fans nabbing tickets wherever they could get them --- and then recently perhaps the equivalent of Orange Crush in the north end zone (not sure when this change was made). Is this generally how our seating capacity is disbursed?

30k - East side
20k - West side
5k - NEZ
5k - SEZ
In the mid-80s football block was a huge component of Greek life. Which fraternity would ask which sorority was the subject of (in retrospect overblown) social anxiety. It was a guaranteed party with pretty girls on 5-6 Saturdays in the fall. I realize through my Illini children's experience these past 10 years those days are sadly long gone- largely shifted to the bars on game day.
 
#177      

illini80

Forgottonia
In the mid-80s football block was a huge component of Greek life. Which fraternity would ask which sorority was the subject of (in retrospect overblown) social anxiety. It was a guaranteed party with pretty girls on 5-6 Saturdays in the fall. I realize through my Illini children's experience these past 10 years those days are sadly long gone- largely shifted to the bars on game day.
Yep. I bought my kids season tickets because those Saturday games were highlights of my college years. I’m not sure if my son ever attended a game. My daughter mostly did, but unfortunately the bar scene is more fun I guess.

I’ve never been in the NEZ, but I can’t imagine its a great experience. Poor view of the field and looking into the afternoon sun doesn’t make for “must see” football.
 
#178      

DeonThomas

South Carolina
This is great input. Thanks all. I was not aware of the on-campus cultural migration.

I, therefore, started to type, "Well, that's too bad. I guess things just change."

However, all three of my boys are attending (have attended) Clemson over the past 10 years, and it's more like the retro-1980's in Champaign. The prevalence of orange is also inspiring! It's a superior game day environment regardless of the opponent, and it sometimes takes 3-4 hours to escape the tiny little town of Clemson after games (i.e. when top 15 ranked Notre Dame, Georgia or Florida State come to visit). And no --- it's not just because Clemson has become a Top 5 national power. The same thing goes on down the road in Columbia, South Carolina, where the Gamecocks have been more on par with Illinois over that 10-year span. Carolina attendance was "down to" 90% of its 78,000 seat capacity in 2021 --- and student enrollment is about 1/2 that of Illinois.

I guess I'll just leave things in the good hands of Josh Whitman who knows how things can be/should be.

OK - time to now focus on securing an 8-4 regular season. I-L-L !!!!!
 
#179      
Yep. I bought my kids season tickets because those Saturday games were highlights of my college years. I’m not sure if my son ever attended a game. My daughter mostly did, but unfortunately the bar scene is more fun I guess.

I’ve never been in the NEZ, but I can’t imagine its a great experience. Poor view of the field and looking into the afternoon sun doesn’t make for “must see” football.
I’m not gonna lie. From a viewing perspective I liked my student tickets in the nez. It’s the angle I prefer to watch football from, so literally just a preference thing, but surely not great for game day atmosphere. It is terrible how separate it is from everything.
 
#180      
I’m not gonna lie. From a viewing perspective I liked my student tickets in the nez. It’s the angle I prefer to watch football from, so literally just a preference thing, but surely not great for game day atmosphere. It is terrible how separate it is from everything.
It’s not a terrible place to watch a game, but we deserved a bit better. Look at where all the other schools put their top student fans. Right down in the field.
 
#181      
I’m not gonna lie. From a viewing perspective I liked my student tickets in the nez. It’s the angle I prefer to watch football from, so literally just a preference thing, but surely not great for game day atmosphere. It is terrible how separate it is from everything.
No respect for the students. It’s their university. It’s their team. It’s their stadium.
 
#183      
At least we aren’t the only ones thinking how to fill a stadium. The Rose Bowl was empty.

This is what's going on in the industry though UCLA has long been a particularly difficult situation. Aikman is correct, they put 51k in a 100k seat Rose Bowl as the #1 team in the nation against Washington State in October 1988 and lost.

It's just impossible to imagine a football stadium being built in Westwood for a variety of reasons.

Great news gang, this is our conference's problem now.
 
#184      

the national

the Front Range
This is what's going on in the industry though UCLA has long been a particularly difficult situation. Aikman is correct, they put 51k in a 100k seat Rose Bowl as the #1 team in the nation against Washington State in October 1988 and lost.

It's just impossible to imagine a football stadium being built in Westwood for a variety of reasons.

Great news gang, this is our conference's problem now.
Friends Tv GIF
 
#186      
Just to throw a wrinkle out there: everybody would love the SEZ to be closer to the end zone, but with the Smith Center having gobbled up a lot of the practice field on the east side, the team practices in MS a lot, that's the largest space available to them now, and you can see lines drawn down in that area in front of the SEZ, that's actually functional space for the team now.

An SEZ alteration could give that space back to the team in the rear towards Kirby, but then what does that do to the SE corner as an entryway to the stadium?

Every D1 college campus is cramped and has had to juggle competing expansion priorities, this is an ever-present of these things everywhere, but MS is a particular riddle because I'm not aware of another major school that has its practice field flush up against the main stands of the stadium the way we do.

If you could go back in time to 2002 you'd build a brand new indoor/outdoor football facility from scratch in the grass lot on the other side of First Street. It would have been only up to 2002 standards, but you'd have plenty of open space to renovate and update as needed (like Ubben).

Instead, first the Irwin indoor facility, then the NEZ, then the ARC encroaches a bit, then Grange Grove, then the Smith Center, it keeps boxing in football's little space more and more.
 
#187      

illini80

Forgottonia
I’ll tell you what, the Memorial Stadium staff and vendors have an unbelievable opportunity Saturday night. They darn well better have their A+ game on. They should be going all out to make this an event no one wants to miss and will be glad they came regardless of the outcome. It’s a rare chance to win some people back that have been gone for years.
 
#188      
This is what's going on in the industry though UCLA has long been a particularly difficult situation. Aikman is correct, they put 51k in a 100k seat Rose Bowl as the #1 team in the nation against Washington State in October 1988 and lost.

It's just impossible to imagine a football stadium being built in Westwood for a variety of reasons.

Great news gang, this is our conference's problem now.
Well, this is topical: https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla...mpus-stadium-1965-plan-dashed-rose-bowl-drake

I went to most home games for UCLA for about six years in the mid 90s. Yes, the location absolutely is a hindrance. But when the team is consistently good, as they were back then, they consistently drew around 60-65k a game, and topped 90k for USC and a few other games against "name" opponents. They have been mediocre for years now.

I am 100% confident that joining the BIG will be a huge boost for UCLA's attendance issues. IMHO, there are a lot more fans/alumni out here who will be passionate to regularly go see their teams like UM, tOSU, Penn St., Wisky, Illinois, etc. than there are for Washington St., Arizona, Oregon St., Utah or Colorado. BIG teams are draws.
 
#189      
It’s their school. Students are why the school exists. We, as alumni, should be supporting the students of the present, not those of the past. Giving them the NEZ? The second worst seats in the house? The East Balcony is such an ideal place for students. I was in (the real) Block I in the ‘60s, but what I heard about EB…

Noblesse oblige.