If “oohs” and “ahs” are any indication, CSU’s new on-campus stadium exceeded expectations – and then some – when it was unveiled Saturday during the Community Open House.
A crowd of 21,447 made their way onto campus for the free preview of the highly anticipated facility.
“The crowd was bigger than anticipated, and you could feel the positive energy,” said Chris Ferris, senior associate athletics director for sales, marketing and communications. “The event was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and by 9:30 we already had people arriving, checking out our beautiful campus.”
Great tunes, tasty treats
Attendees were treated to free artisan pops and other giveaways while listening to the sounds of acclaimed singer/songwriter Brent Cowles. The area surrounding the stadium’s north entrance was filled with booths offering stadium and transportation information, along with plenty of opportunities for CSU’s eight colleges to engage with the curious.
Fans were searching for the personalized bricks they had purchased on the plaza near the entrance, while others posed for pictures around the magnificent “Rocky Mountain Rumble” sculpture. When the stadium gates opened at noon, fans were lined up to watch as Joe Parker, director of athletics, welcomed them at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The whole event had a great vibe, and was exactly what we envisioned it to be – a chance for Athletics and academics to be showcased at the same time on our campus,” said Tom Milligan, CSU’s vice president for external relations.
Lots to see
Once fans entered the stadium they had a chance to visit the New Belgium Porch, eat at concessions stands and view the many amenities and services Hughes Stadium, home to the Rams for 49 seasons, simply could not provide.
Season-ticket holders got to sit in their seats for the first time. And once seated they were treated to the football team’s first scrimmage of the season as they prepare for the Aug. 26 inaugural game against Oregon State. Rams coach Mike Bobo was thrilled with the first on-campus stadium event in nearly 50 years.
“I thought it was a great day for Colorado State—not just Colorado State football,” Bobo said. “To see our fans out here two and three hours before the game just gave me chills … I believe our guys felt it. It was our first time in the stadium with people in the stands and guys were walking around like they do before a game. There were nerves and some pacing back and forth. I like the buildup of coming into the stadium and playing in front of people.”
First-game sellout imminent
Ferris said they have heard a number of suggestions from fans about ways to improve the experience and they are busy making changes. There were some of the expected glitches that come with opening a new facility – particularly one of this magnitude – and steps are being taken to rectify those issues prior to the opening game.
“We have three weeks until the first game, and we will be working to clean up some things,” he said. “Overall, though, it was very positive and we’re excited about the fan reaction to this fabulous new facility.”
Ferris said fewer than 50 season tickets remain available for fans, which means the first game at the stadium is very nearly a sellout. For ticket information call (970) 491-7267.