After attending my first college football game outside of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, there is a lot that needs to be known about the new TCF Bank Stadium.
1. This stadium costs under $300 million. Most stadiums that I have witnessed being built in the past decade typically have cost at least twice that.
2. I parked for free. Parking lots were charging $25 on average, which is expected. Traffic in and around the stadium was great coming to the game, horrendous leaving.
3. The stadium inside looks like one of the cheapest places I have seen. It literally looks like a maroon and gold Metrodome without a roof. There is one concourse for both levels—OUCH! Traffic at halftime was terrible. Getting from one section to another could have taken 15 minutes.
4. The nostalgia for college football is definitely in the building, but no BOOZE! Come on Big Ten Conference and the State of Minnesota. If you do not change this law, it will be one of the most financially moronic mistakes I have ever seen.
5. The Student Section—NO SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! I got up to go to the bathroom and get something to eat before halftime, and my seat was gone. Are you kidding me? I have to wear a wristband, get frisked at the gate, wait in line early for good seats, and when I get up, they are gone.
The University of Minnesota should be ashamed. There are numbers on those seats for a reason. Print up the tickets.
6. What's up with all of the music blaring and the lack of the band at the college stadium? I was sitting in the student section and could not even hear the band sitting 30 feet from me. Every third down, fans are pelted with some jolting, crowd-thumping, stand up and cheer anthem when that should be left up to the band.
I think they gave a limited number of rows to the band because there were 10 times as many playing at halftime.
7. The scoreboard and sound system are tremendous. Too much advertising on the giant HD scoreboard makes it smaller than it actually looks. When they make it full-size, I doubt it can be beat.
8. The atmosphere in the building was like none other for this major matchup between two major conference schools. It was exuberant and finally felt like a home game as far as the game went, but it just could have been so much better.
9. Food was average at best. Prices were outrageous for what you get—typical stadium food that makes you sick and empties your wallet.
10. I will go back because I love college football and my hometown squad, but what a disappointment. Nobody in Minnesota will say it because we are so desperate for outdoor sports, but in 10 years they will look back on this project and be ashamed. It could have been so much better if they would have put the money needed into it.