PSU arrogance keeps fans home

Posted by on December 10, 2012

I’ve been following the discussion about why 10,000 plus seats are empty for games at Beaver Stadium now.  There are many opinions, and probably many reasons. 

Certainly, the Sandusky scandal fallout has disheartened a few fans.  That Joe Paterno was treated the way he was by the Trustees no doubt soured more than a few ticket holders.  Uncertainty about the on field product likely contributed early in the season. 

But, in my view, the biggest factor keeping fans home lies in Penn State’s arrogance–the exact kind of arrogance that got the school in this pickle in the first place.

That arrogance is on full display in this column by Walt Frank in the Altoona Mirror.

State College is hard to get to from most major fans bases outside of the immediate area.  The Philadelphia/Harrisburg/York/Lancaster region perhaps foremost among them.  Even with the recent improvements to and widening of Route 322, it’s still a major pain getting into and out of Happy Valley.

Beaver Stadium itself is about the least comfortable major stadium in which to watch a game there is.  Fans are jammed into seats way too small–something the school’s athletic elite made worse over a decade ago when they expanded the place and amazingly made the seats SMALLER!  Get a seat on the end of the bench–that’s what they are except for a pricey few–and when the crowd stands for a big play, you’ll find yourself with no seat at all.

Contrast this bleacher stadium with another–the Rose Bowl–and you’ll see how to make such a venue as comfortable as possible.  The seats in the Rose Bowl are much wider, and thus more comfortable.  The stadium itself is constructed much better–sitting in row 77 in the end zone there, I had a better view than in row 47 in the almost identical spot in Beaver Stadium.

But, the biggest slap in the face is the cost.  Many decades-long fans rebelled when the STEP program was initiated a decade or so ago, and many have never returned.  Reading the honchos feelings on this impacting the attendance in the Altoona Mirror column above, I see the blue-jacketed bozos have learned nothing. 

They are charging largely blue collar, lunch pail fans pinstripe prices for a venue that lacks the amenities of just about every other major league park there is.  The food is mediocre at best.   The sound system blares junk constantly, disrupting the fans enjoyment of the football game–which is why they came–and shoving to the background an outstanding student organization, and something else most fans come to see and hear–the Blue Band.

As unpleasant as the trip and the actual game experience was in Beaver Stadium in the old days, when JoePa was there and the image pristine, the team consistently winning nine or more games a year and heading to decent or better bowls, and most significantly, almost every seat filled for almost every game, there was little hope the powers that be would actually care about what the fans thought.

That this same attitude is displayed in the face of today’s reality is stunning. 

But not surprising.

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