This season, we have a couple new football stadiums at the FCS level, but first a few updates in the NFL. Two teams saw corporate sponsors added to their home venue (Cleveland and Dallas), while another team made a significant update. In Green Bay, a major renovation was completed to the South End Zone, thus increasing capacity, specialty seating areas, scoreboard and technology. It does give the famed field a new look and huge kudos to the team for entirely footing the bill. There will also be some concourse work done over the next few years. One other interesting note from the NFL…while checking stadium capacities for each team on their website (which looks like a league template), the teams not currently with the best stadium situation as viewed by the NFL did not have a link to their facility on the top main menu bar (Atlanta, Miami, San Diego). Meanwhile, those with newer places did (Arizona, Dallas, Indianapolis). These darn pro leagues thinking they know best for every city and situation (see Adam Silver).
Onto the college scene, where we have a pair of brand new stadiums. Down in Macon, GA, Mercer University has returned to fielding a football team for the first time since 1941. They will ease in to DI by playing a schedule of patsies before joining the Pioneer Football League. Their new Mercer University Stadium home has been jam packed and things seem to be going well at the new place. Charlotte is also starting up football and they will join Conference USA next season. For now, it is a FCS-type schedule in their first year at Jerry Richardson Stadium. I will send a boooo out to them however, for having PCLs (they call them FCLs). What a disgrace, this is a brand new team going to a mid-level conference in a 15,000 seat stadium!
In better news, the University of Albany opened Bob Ford Field last weekend and the new stadium was named in honor of their current, long-time coach. This will be Bob Ford’s final season and the 77 year-old coach is retiring after 44 years at the helm of the Great Danes. One other note in the FCS-level: Alabama State opened their new stadium last Thanksgiving. I thought a new name would be coming soon, but checking back this season, the stadium everywhere is referred to as “The New ASU Stadium”. Seriously? The New has to be affixed to the start of the name, even when “The Old” was called Cramton Bowl? Wow. Anyway, up to FBS, Houston played their last game at Robertson Stadium last season and they will play at Reliant Stadium while their new on-campus stadium gets completed. In the Pacific Northwest, Washington’s beautiful Husky Stadium reopened with renovations finished. The track has been removed, many improvements were made and the gorgeous scenery of Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains remains.