The 2011 Penn State football season will see quite a change in the location of the student section in Beaver Stadium. With 800 more seats available to students, the goal is to expand the student section, primarily in the end zone.
The student section will shift from its current position of seating between the ED section and past the tunnel to seats between the EA and WA sections. Upper deck seating for students in section EA and WA will also be included in the plan. Students will also be able to enter the stadium through gates A and B now, which will hopefully make the process of swiping student IDs and getting into the stadium much quicker and easier-especially now with 800 additional students in attendance.
Officials are also considering selling tickets for the additional seats on a single game basis, which is a first for the student section sales, which are typically just sold as a season ticket. This will give an advantage to student’s who will not get season tickets.
While the plan to expand the seating sounds like a good thing for students, it may not be the best idea. Officials plan to relocate the Blue Band and the ‘S’-Zone, which are two important components of the student section. This means that the ‘S’-Zone will not be located in the middle of the field anymore, which is a prime location to sit at during a game. Being in the middle of the field is a perfect spot to watch the games, and makes the senior ‘S’-Zone really stand out. Now that the seats will be shifted into the end zone, where will the seniors be seated and able to convey the famous blue and white 'S?'
As a current student that attends most of the games, I personally am not too thrilled about the seat exchange. While I think it is good that they are planning to expand the student section, as a senior I would be a little disappointed that I would not be sitting in the usual location for the ‘S’-Zone. In my opinion, I would rather be seated in the middle of the stadium where the view of the game is better and more enjoyable than possibly sitting in the corner of the end zone. The student section is one of the most important parts of a game in Beaver Stadium, so I think it is only fair that we get advantage of the best seats in the house.
According to the Associate Athletic Director Greg Myford, the seating change will make the student section a more formidable presence during the game. He also goes on to expect that the new configuration will contribute to a louder end zone, including relocating students from upper sections and concentrating on bringing them closer to the field. Most importantly, of course, was that it was a financial decision.
Another question that arises from this new seating plan is how it will affect Nittany Lion Club members and other fans besides students. According to Myford, seat position will now be factored into each minimum Nittany Lion Club donation. Some club members who were giving very little money or none at all may have to pay more to retain their current seats. If they are not willing to pay more, their seats could be moved to a different part of the stadium. So basically if your not giving “generously,” your seat is in jeopardy.
So the question is, how much will the donations have to be? What will the ticket prices be like for general admission in the future?
Each year the prices for student tickets increase, as well as the ticket prices for regular admission. There is worry that soon the tickets won’t be affordable, especially for college students who are already tight on money. If donations from club members also have to be increased, than it would only make sense that there is a good possibility that ticket prices for the general public will also be more expensive.
Hopefully the prices will not become too outrageous for the football games, and that the new seating chart in 2011 will end up working well. With tuition prices increasing every year and fees coming left and right from Penn State 24/7, I think the last thing that students want to deal with is ridiculous prices for football tickets.