Once upon a time - like before there was anything called “social media” - people went to games and....well, they watched the game.
Ahh, but we have advanced as a civilization and can no longer be entertained by mere contests on the field. We no longer can depend on our eyes watching something to satisfy us. We crave more. We crave other stuff to keep us from drifting off and mindlessly watching shiny objects like a cat watches a laser pointer’s light.
Enter the fan-friendly experience that every ball park in America seems to be offering fans. And Rutgers is no different. “Located in the largest market in the country, our fans have plenty of options,” said Rick Thorpe, Senior Associate AD for External Affairs and Strategic Communications. “We want to show them our appreciation for choosing Rutgers football and always work to make their experience a memorable one.”
Rutgers will be offering a variety of new options when you go to a game at High Point Solutions Stadium, from new activities to new concessions options to greater access to important information.
Gameday App - Rutgers Athletics will launch a new gameday app, complete with streaming of audio broadcasts, a robust stats package, social media integration and opportunities for seat upgrades. The “Rutgers Gameday” app will feature schedules and rosters for all 24 sports programs. Fans will be able to receive push notifications with timely and critical information, as well as special discounted offerings on concessions and promotions. The app also includes a dedicated gameday guide with stadium policies, visitor guides, an interactive map, parking information and the gameday timeline.
Scarlet Walk - It is a longstanding Rutgers football tradition, bringing fans together to cheer the Scarlet Knights as they arrive at the stadium. It is still there and will be extended to include other exciting elements. Can’t get up close to see the team walk the walk and go past the statue? You can view the team on the new video board at the Marco Battaglia Practice Complex and as it walks the field in anticipation of the first kick. Fully equipped with stadium quality sound, the video board will play an integral role during the team’s arrival to High Point Solutions Stadium on game day. There will also be special programming during pregame, including live look-ins at other college football games across the country, as well as unique Rutgers Athletics video features.
Food Trucks - Tailgating is the way to go. But not everyone is into the whole barbeque and other paraphernalia that is tailgating. For those who travel light, Scarlet Knight Way will again feature food trucks that offer fans a variety of cuisines from Italian sausages to barbequed ribs. A local favorite and home of the famous Rutgers fat sandwich, RU Hungry will be joined by food trucks from Premio Sausage, Mr. C’s, Backyard BBQ and Mr. Softee.
New Band Director - Back in February, Todd Nichols was hired as the new director of the Marching Scarlet Knights. And On the Banks was - we believe - the first outlet to interview him; that post can be found here. This fall, beginning with the game against Washington, he enters his first season as director of the marching band. He spent the last 13 years as director of bands at Roxbury High School, a nationally recognized marching band program. Under his direction, the band has performed alongside Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII. Nichols has plenty of new ideas for the band to add to the gameday experience. Todd has also agreed to work with On the Banks and we will be - hopefully - offering you a preview of each week’s halftime program.
Concessions - Everybody offers hot dogs (which I love). Most everybody offers sausage sandwiches. But who offers you the Cannon Ball Ice Cream Cone - waffle cone filled with hot apple pie, vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate and caramel syrup? Or the Three Stripe Burger - two all-beef patties, “Piscataway sauce” on a triple decker bun served with homemade kettle chips? Rutgers will at High Point Solutions Stadium this fall.
After evaluating current concessions operations, new food options will be offered, along with improvements to point of sales systems. These upgrades are meant to not only provide a wider variety of food selections to choose from, but also make for a faster visit to the various concession stands located around the stadium, while limiting the time spent away from the action on the field.
Personally, I may be up for a Jersey Mike’s Sub, which will be available. The Acai Bowl - topped with granola, fresh fruit, Nutella, peanut butter and coconut, maybe not so much. But feel free to try it - it will be available.
Some other basic info from Rutgers about game day:
Scarlet Knights Fun Zone - On gameday, there will be face painters, magicians and jugglers on hand to entertain in the Scarlet Knights Fun Zone located on the southeast concourse. In addition to entertainers, there will be special merchandising options and other fun promotions for families to enjoy during breaks in the game action.
Kids Zone - The Kids Zone is a great source of entertainment on game, complete with inflatables, interactive games, face painters, magicians and much more. Located across the street from the Block R Party and the new video board, the Kids Zone takes place in a safely fenced-in area.
Rutgers Merchandise - Scarlet Knight fans will have an opportunity to visit seven locations throughout High Point Solutions Stadium to purchase the latest in Rutgers and adidas branded merchandise. In addition to the North Plaza merchandise stand, there will be a merchandise kiosk on the southeast side of the stadium.
Upgraded Sound System - Rutgers Athletics officials consulted with audio experts to bring a new and improved stadium sound to High Point Solutions Stadium. As a result, the sound quality will be clearer and more impactful throughout the stadium.
Mist Machines - Fans will have the opportunity to visit one of two misting machines to cool off in the event of warm temperatures. One tent will be located on the west side of High Point Solutions Stadium behind section 101 and in the northeast behind section 119.
Gameday Parking - Rutgers Athletics offers gameday cash parking lots on the Livingston, College Avenue and Biomedical and Health Sciences (formerly UMDNJ) campuses. Parking will no longer be offered in Johnson Park across from High Point Solutions Stadium. A full list of information on all gameday parking lots can be accessed here.
Ridesharing - It would not be 2017 if we didn’t have an app to get a ride. Rutgers Athletics reached a partnership with Lyft, the ridesharing app. In addition to the free buses provided between campuses, Lyft offers fans another safe and reliable option to travel to and from High Point Solutions Stadium. Lot 49 is designated as the pick-up location, while an area just past the roundabout across from the Blue Lot will serve as the drop off point on gameday. Click here for more information on Lot 49.
Rutgers opens the 2017 season on Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. against No. 7 Washington in a game billed as the “War Before the Shore.” The first 5,000 fans into the stadium will receive a specially branded "War Before the Shore" beach towel. An exclusive student giveaway of a Rutgers football branded adidas tank top and a pair of sunglasses will go to the first 2,000 students in the student section.