When I was an undergrad at Rutgers, we had watch parties at.....
Uhhh, wait. There was no such thing as a “watch party”. Rutgers wasn’t on TV every week. Or, for that matter, ever. Except for the 1969 Centennial game. And most teams weren’t on TV: ABC had its Game of the Week, you watched the post-game scoreboard show and the day ended. Period.
Now, we complain that we won’t be able to see the Washington game because it’s on the PAC 12 Network and we don’t get that. Kids!
And, yes....get off my lawn.
But you can go onto Chris Paladino’s new lawn in Rutgers’ new Yard. And he’s having a watch party, as we’ll talk about below.
Chris Paladino is the President of DEVCO, the folks who are orchestrating a lot of the new building on the College Avenue campus, including the new residence buildings going up on the corner of College Ave and Somerset Street. The Yard.
This is the first residential structure to be built on College Avenue since the Bishop Campus dorms (Brett, Metler, Tinsley) in the mid-1960’s. So it’s a pretty big deal. And the design and details around it are being looked at as important, too.
I recall the freshmen in Tinsley and Metlar filling the fountain between those dorms with soap on a pretty regular basis and watching it foam. It wasn’t granite. Eventually the University took it out. No fun.
But The Yard is meant to be a special place, a gathering place for the University as well as residences. Students are being brought in to get a feel for what it can offer and to begin putting together ideas for what it can offer the entire community.
Offerings, like a watch party for the Washington game on September 3. On the 12’x30’ hi-def video board that will sit in the middle of the 25,000 square foot pedestrian mall in the center of the project.
First LED panel is up. Tell us what you want to see on the big screen! pic.twitter.com/R5KSiOeKnU— The Yard (@theyardru) August 4, 2016
And obviously sports events were on that list of things people wanted to see. Check!
And it will include a very strong commercial presence using the same marketing firm that promotes and monetizes Rutgers Athletics, IMG College.
Rutgers expands IMG partnership with marketing rights deal for New Brunswick hub. https://t.co/Cpozqphd16— The Yard (@theyardru) June 6, 2016
“The Yard @ College Avenue is one of the most unique and innovative college-community spaces in America,” said Christopher Paladino, President of DEVCO. “Thanks to Rutgers, IMG and our retail partners, we have successfully created a vibrant residential, retail and outdoor space that will be the envy of college campuses across the country. The Yard will bring students, alumni, and the broader community together to enjoy the new ‘front porch’ of the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.”
And at The Yard will be....ready for this?....the first statue of a knight to appear anywhere on campus. First. Time. Ever.
This alone tells you a lot about how RU looked at athletics. Never a knight or any symbol reflecting a knight. It wasn’t that long ago that the first football player statue went up at the stadium. This one is long overdue.
As for the actual watch party, Rutgers is hoping to create quite the experience:
Students and fans are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the game upon The Yard’s 25,000-square foot public green space. The event will be structured similar to a home game, with third down and touchdown music, cheer and dance squads. The band and mascot will also contribute to the experience. A D.J. will play pregame, halftime and postgame music and various sponsor activations will take place.
All in all, not a bad way to open the season.