As the home opener approaches this weekend, it is always nice to think of ways WVU can improve the gameday experience for its fanbase. Of course, the obvious answer is to win. I would stand at the stadium if it meant a playoff run. But there are other ways to improve morale a bit, too.
College football is rife with pageantry, traditions, and roaring crowds. With some shaky attendance numbers the last couple of years with hit-and-miss successes, it might be smart to think of some ways to get people excited to be at Milan Puskar stadium every weekend the good guys are in town.
Making Ticket Prices Affordable Again
The very first and arguably the most important of points is to make the ticket prices reasonable again. Most fans in this state simply cannot afford to realistically take their families to the games in general, especially when it is a high-profile matchup like the Backyard Brawl, and that Gameday experience could cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. According to Oddspedia, WVU ranks second in the highest-costing gameday experience in the country, with tickets roughly $100 a piece on average. With only three states suffering more widespread poverty and struggle than West Virginia, real fans cannot afford to fill the seats.
So, at what point do the high ticket costs and concession prices compromise attendance? While there might always be a marquee matchup that attracts a larger crowd every year, such as the record-setting attendance to Acrisure Stadium last year for the Brawl, you would think a larger crowd would ultimately generate better profits than only partially filling the stadium at a premium rate.
Creating a Fan-Driven Entrance
Having witnessed some of the iconic college football entrances over the years, most recently being Virginia Tech’s “Enter Sandman” this past season, couldn’t that be something we do to prepare the fans for the battle? We cannot wait to cue Country Roads when we secure that home win, but what if we started a new tradition like bringing the boys out to a certified rock classic like “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC or “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath?
Actual Seats in the Stands
WVU is in the minority of current Big 12 schools in their stadium design. With the new 16-team league set to act in 2024, Milan Puskar Stadium is #3 in seating capacity. However, there are very few actual standalone seats. This capacity is rated on bench seating evenly spaced with markers to indicate your ticket location. While this is pretty standard stuff, current Big 12 schools already feature modern stadium seating to offer fans a greater experience on gameday. These include:
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
Revamping the Stadium
You might recall an image circulating around the internet last year with the field graphics completely revamped with a mountain landscape, the state outline, and the flying WV in the center. The blue field was eye-catching and entirely unique, even vastly different than somewhere like Boise State, which has been enjoying this blue hue for years. 2016 is when the latest field turf was rolled out, so it might be time to consider a change for the fans’ sake.
— Mountaineer Messiah (@Rich27F) September 30, 2022
Photo by ESPN