A New Game Day Experience



Irish fans react to renovations to the Notre Dame stadium

The Fighting Irish kicked off the opening football season on September 2 with not only a winning game against Temple, but a renovated stadium as well. Among a host of renovations, the 2017 opener featured an HD video screen, brand new benches, and renovated bathrooms.

According to the University of Notre Dame website, these “stadium enhancements” are part of the Campus Crossroads project, a 400 million-dollar enterprise. Unsurprisingly, the video screen received the largest reaction from attendees. Fans watched close up shots of the field, replays, and cheering faces in the crowd. Throughout the game, videos of honored Notre Dame “family” and clips of Notre Dame football from others eras aired as well.

Students and alumni alike weighed in on how they believe the “improved” stadium contributed to the famed Notre Dame game day experience, especially the addition of the modern video screen, or “Jumbotron.”

Recent graduate Brian Conway, ‘12, remarked, “I thought the Jumbotron was a really cool addition. I think in the past, not being able to see plays kind of stinks because you do not know what is going on. And when there is a turnover, it gets the crowd really hyped up. If you miss something on the play, it’s really easy to catch it.”

Many current students shared Conway’s sentiment. Notre Dame student Brennan Buhr told the Rover,  “The Jumbotron is definitely the best part of the renovation. It made the game so much easier to follow, especially when the action was happening on the side of the field opposite the student section.”

A group of First Year students agreed that the Jumbotron was helpful, and sophomore Britlyn Barnes added, “For someone that doesn’t even know what football really is, I understood the game a lot more.”

Students were especially excited about the possibility of making a debut on the screen and were not bashful about beckoning cameramen. When asked about the video screen, a sophomore responded, “We [appeared on] the Jumbotron, so we are a bit biased.”

Notre Dame student Andy Slavin added,  “It increases student involvement because everyone wants to be on the Jumbotron.”

Alumnus Joe Kippley, ‘07, shared with the Rover how he believes the video screen changes the football experience at Notre Dame.

“I think it was more of a holistic experience that brings in the crowd through the audio and video features. I graduated in 2007 and it had its own features, but I think that bringing in the whole stadium and student community… is an awesome experience.”

Not all students reacted so favorably, though. Without denying their enjoyment of the Jumbotron, a few students had criticisms to add. Junior Michael Kenny admitted, “I miss the music that used to play, and after a while the videos that were meant to be short snippets got a little old. They lost the sentimental and inspirational value because they happened so frequently.”

Another student told the Rover, “It was almost like watching TV instead of being at the game.”

But while the stadium has changed and continues to change, Notre Dame fans still have not lost their enthusiasm for Notre Dame football. Conway ended his exchange with the Rover by saying, “The biggest thing is that we won a game, and we are not 4 and 8 anymore.”

Holly McGrath is sophomore majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies. Often she can be found walking around campus wearing her rain boots, which unfortunately now have holes from overuse. Contact Holly at hmcgrat1@nd.edu

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