New gameday plan: TCU boosts Wi-Fi, menus, tailgating

Posted Monday, Aug. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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TCU is asking everyone who comes to a game this year to “Amp It Up.”

And bring a bottle of water, if you want to.

The slogan aims to produce a rowdy crowd. The water is an incentive to get fans inside.

And once inside, TCU boasts that the rowdy crowd will find stronger Wi-Fi, better score updates, livelier entertainment and a bigger concessions menu stocked with Fort Worth flavors like Fred’s burgers and Buffalo Bros pizza.

All of which can be ordered from your seat.

Plus, fans can watch replays on their phones.

And, if it’s a daytime kickoff, fans can tailgate for three hours after the game, instead of 1 1/2.

It’s all about the stadium experience, TCU officials say — getting fans off their couches by making things easier for them and their phones. The replay app is available at gotcugameday.com.

“These young kids today, they’re attached to the phone,” athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “They want to be able to watch the game, share the experience with their friends, take pictures, post — so we Wi-Fi’d the entire stadium.

“You can sit there and watch the game, replays on your screen. You can sit down and order your food. All things we’re trying to do to make it a better experience.”

Many of the ideas came from the 3,000-plus responses to a fan survey last fall. Some came from an in-game entertainment expert. Some are straight from Disney. Yes, Disney.

Guido D’Elia is the expert who spent eight years turning Penn State into the home of the “Whiteout.”

“It was the quietest 100,000 fans in the country,” he said. “Over the course of four or five years, with the help of a group of people, we transformed it into pretty much mayhem.”

TCU in-game entertainment director Drew Martin picked D’Elia’s brain for ways to sustain the energy coming back from 2 1/2 minutes worth of TV commercials.

The PA thanking sponsors doesn’t exactly do the trick, Martin said.

“We’re taking the script and shredding it,” he said. “We know we need to thank the game sponsor. We have an appropriate moment to do it, but it does not necessarily have to be quarter one, timeout one.”

D’Elia will be at the season opener Saturday to observe, and he said the new ideas will phase in over time.

“It’s much like coaching a team,” he said. “Little improvements, a little at a time.”

TCU also wants gameday to be a good day. Two new gates are opening to help the crowd get in more efficiently. And Del Conte said everyone representing TCU on gameday — parking lot attendants, concessions workers, ticket-takers — got a Disney education in crowd skills.

“If you’re representing TCU, we need you to smile, we need you to be enthusiastic,” he said. “You know the magical feeling a kid has when he gets up in the morning and says, ‘We’re going to Disney.’ We want that when a child wakes up, drives down, sees all the banners, all the pageantry of gameday. That’s when it starts. We want to make sure that feeling stays when they leave, because you’re creating a lifelong fan.

“That’s what Disney does. They’re the best at it.”

New at Amon G. Carter Stadium

As the remodeled Amon G. Carter begins its third season, TCU announced improvements to the game-day experience. Here are the highlights:

• Stronger stadium Wi-Fi

• Bigger concessions menu and in-seat ordering

• In-stadium app for replays ( gotcugameday.com)

• Three hours of tailgating post-game on daytime kickoffs

• Fans can bring in one unopened bottle of water

• Two new gates for entry

Samford at TCU

6 p.m. Saturday

Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth

TV: FSSW

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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