Gophers open new TCF Bank Stadium with cheers and jeers
September 17, 2009
Last Saturday, history was made on the University of Minnesota campus. The Minnesota Golden Gophers played their first game at their newly built football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium. This was the first time the Gophers played on campus, and also outdoors, since the 1982 season.
While the new stadium received a lot of praise over the weekend, there were also a few complaints. According to a Star Tribune article I came across, the three biggest complaints that were noticeable were the stadium’s noise level to surrounding buildings and houses, long lines and no registers at the concessions.
Residents in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park area complained the noise level was too loud and obnoxious for their liking. One resident claimed he could hear the announcer’s words crystal clear out of the stadium’s nearly 800 speakers two miles away. University Athletic Director Joel Maturi says one solution for that is to reposition the speakers, though he did say they thought they had them directed the right way.
As the stadium opened up the doors an hour and a half before kick-off, the lines were very long. Some fans saying it took around 30 minutes to enter the stadium. Also lines for the concession stand were extremely long. One fan said he went to get food at the ten minute mark in the second quarter and didn’t get back to his seat until the opening kick-off for the second half, a 45 minute wait.
One reason for the long lines could be the lack of registers at each concession stand. Workers were using $4 calculators, laminated pricing sheets and cash boxes to make their sales.
Maturi says additional gates will be used when the Gophers play their second home game this weekend. He said officials are discussing whether to open up the gates two hours prior to kick-off to ease the crunch by 30 minutes, but no decision has been made. As for the registers, it doesn’t sound like any will be installed anytime soon.
But even with the few minor problems, the majority of fans agree the opening of the new TCF Bank Stadium was a success. Fans were excited to see outdoor college football on campus for the first time since the days of old Memorial Stadium from 1924 until 1981, the way it’s supposed to be played.
Derek Johnson is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.