We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #3: Notre Dame updates its iconic Notre Dame Stadium.
At Notre Dame, you don’t mess with tradition. A religious school where football is right up there with theology, a football game day at Notre Dame is an impressive event, presided upon by Touchdown Jesus and revered by hundreds of thousands of fans both local and across the country.
But tradition can take you only so far when it comes to meeting fan expectations. And so, in this age of the selfie and Instagram, Notre Dame moved forward with a stadium renovation plan that squared offerings with user expectations. A robust WiFi network allows those Irish football memories to be better shared on those Instagram and Facebook accounts. (For those eschewing the WiFi, upgraded cellular networks were part of the plan as well.) A new 96-by-54-foot high-def videoboard—the first in Notre Dame Stadium history—provides for replays, while new ribbon boards deliver marketing messages.
And Notre Dame Stadium enters with modern era with the addition of more premium seating. Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930 under the direction of legendary coach Knute Rockne, and like most college-football stadiums of the era, the emphasis was always on cramming as many seats into the space as possible, comfort be damned. But gone is the one-size-fits-all approach to seating. The renovations allowed for approximately 3,000 new premium seats, extending from the top floors of new academic buildings adjacent to the stadium. These Club and Loge sections will be a first for the stadium, which previously offered uniform seating prices. Wooden bleacher seating was replaced by steel benches, and the old chairback seats were replaced as well. (A side note on that bleacher seating: the rows were renumbered and the space per fan was widened by two inches. Yes, fannies are larger in 2017 than they were in 1930.) And the concourses were upgraded, with plenty of emphasis on Notre Dame traditions.
Ah, yes, those Notre Dame traditions. The renovations were a successful, acknowledging that great Notre Dame Stadium history while providing the experience today’s sports fan expects. In the end, that’s what makes for a great renovation.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List:
#4: SDSU Launches its New Stadium Pitch
#5: New Los Angeles Stadium Opening Delayed
#6: NFL Stadium Renovations
#7: Colorado State Stadium Opens
#8: The Los Angeles Chargers
#9: The Opening of Daily’s Place
#10: The Georgia Dome Closes