10 years later, TCF Bank Stadium is aging well

Schnauzer

Pretty Sure You are Wrong
The stadium still feels new. The new turf looks great. It is a great place to watch a football game. But, some observations or potential changes I see include:

1. The design problem of incorrectly sizing the band pit is problematic. The band has never fit in there and it looks weird. Plus the sunk-in nature of it makes it hard for many to properly hear the band (especially the students) and although they turn some band members around 180 degrees to point back toward the student section during some songs, this remains an ongoing issue. I would like to see them move the band out of the pit, to be located in regular seats perhaps in the corner or behind where it is now.

2. This second issue goes all the way back to the drawing board: Overall the two decked nature of TCF Bank Stadium is great but it is a problem for the student section. Students clearly don't want to be separated and don't want to be in the second deck. Old fashioned tunnels would have been better behind the end zone instead of the modern dual deck and open concourse that was used there. Too late to fix that one but perhaps they could reclaim a couple of the student sections on the first deck and cheap season ticket and single game options could take their place in some of the current second deck student seats.

3. The old TV's were replaced and that has been a very good thing. TV coverage in the concourses is much better now. Nice improvement.

4. There were 11 teams in the B1G when the stadium was built so they put 10 flagpoles and 1 oversized flagpole to fly UofM and all other team flags on the north rim of the stadium. When the conference expanded, our stadium went the cheap/lazy route of taking out the conference flags and just replaced them all with Gopher flags. This has always bugged me.

5. This one isn't related to brick and mortar stadium stuff but find a way to consistently fill it. It used to fill for games against Syracuse and TCU. Now it doesn't fill for an undefeated home team playing conference games even in perfect weather. What is different? The pricing is out of whack for this market. If an undefeated team can't fill the stadium at these prices, and the prices can't change, it is time to admit the stadium should have been built with 35,000 seats and there could have been cost savings in construction and just as much revenue at these ticket prices.

The overall vision of the stadium is aging well. It is flat-out beautiful with its brick exterior. Other first rate items include the classy touch of the county names appearing in a ring around it, the open end looking over campus and downtown beyond, The layout of premium areas and press box are outstanding, etc.

What else would you like to see changed or wish would have been designed differently about the stadium? What are some of the other things you appreciate about the stadium?
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
It's a really nice college stadium.

It's got character and is a great place to watch football.

The only change I'd make are superficial. Like better food services as damn it they're so slow, and often out of stuff.
 

DarrenTheGreek

Gov. Victory Bell Ringer
1. I like your suggestion for the band. I wouldn't mind a re-design and get the band up into the crowd. This might also help fill in the student section more and give the appearance of a fuller crowd.
2. There is some wear/tear on the stairs with the black slip-covers. Doesn't look like they've been maintained and probably need to touch-up.
3. I've always thought that the top of the upper deck could use improvements, whether it is a bathrooms (not port-a-potties) or a gathering place in the end by the students. There is a ton of open area down that way. But this is a low priority until they solve the attendance issue.
4. Need a larger video board in the student end.
 

UpAndUnder43

Well-known member
Solid suggestions. All jokes aside, send them to the school. I (and I’m sure others) have hammered them in the past to make changes and I’ve seen a lot of them come to fruition. Especially the simpler ones in this thread like maintenance of certain areas.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
1. I like your suggestion for the band. I wouldn't mind a re-design and get the band up into the crowd. This might also help fill in the student section more and give the appearance of a fuller crowd.
2. There is some wear/tear on the stairs with the black slip-covers. Doesn't look like they've been maintained and probably need to touch-up.
3. I've always thought that the top of the upper deck could use improvements, whether it is a bathrooms (not port-a-potties) or a gathering place in the end by the students. There is a ton of open area down that way. But this is a low priority until they solve the attendance issue.
4. Need a larger video board in the student end.
I wonder if it would be possible to take that big upper deck area and build a sort of multi level "lounge" area. Folks could go up high, get some food and drinks way up there and hang out.

It wouldn't need to be a "FULL" seating expansion as muchas just using that space.

Like you said add some bathrooms and etc up there and some extra stuff and it could be neat.

People seem to love the area around the open end to loiter.
 

Section2

Well-known member
GREAT points.
1) I don't care as much about the fit as the sound is weak, and really sounds awful on tv. I've always wondered if there isn't a way to put mics on the goal post or somewhere similar, and put some speakers near the band facing up and out. We are a major university with I assume, lots of music and sound engineer types that could figure out A) how to make the band sound better in the stadium and B) how to make the band sound better on tv.
2) I agree. Add two more lower level sections to the student section and open up the upper deck to GA.
4) They should have left Rutgers and Maryland off and kept them the same.

6) Replays in the stadium is still spotty and bad. Some big plays where I wanted to see a replay and it's the M dancing on the water for 30 seconds.
7) I'm one of those weirdos who gets in the stadium an hour before hand. There are 20 of us. And the PA is blaring instructions non stop, what to do in an emergency, bla bla. Maybe it's some kind of legal disclaimer, but at least crank the volume down when the stadium is empty. The people you want to hear all these instructions aren't here yet.
8) The new gal who introduces the food is bubbly and tries to be fun, but the volume is way too loud and her voice becomes grating.

Sorry, got a little off topic there.
 

Face The Facts

Fleck Superfan
Glad they updated the TV's in the concourse.

Moving student section to one level would make sense, or just eliminate parts of it.
 

#2Gopher

Well-known member
I wonder if it would be possible to take that big upper deck area and build a sort of multi level "lounge" area. Folks could go up high, get some food and drinks way up there and hang out.

It wouldn't need to be a "FULL" seating expansion as muchas just using that space.

Like you said add some bathrooms and etc up there and some extra stuff and it could be neat.

People seem to love the area around the open end to loiter.
Never thought about a large lounge area. This would be a fabulous idea. Not sure if anyone has this sort of thing.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

Well-known member
Never thought about a large lounge area. This would be a fabulous idea. Not sure if anyone has this sort of thing.
I've seen quite a few of them in CFB land now. Granted most are new / planned and mostly the mid level teams (kinda like us) who have the space / want to attract folks. I forget who but someone has one planned just for students.

Usually in open ends of the stadium that that were just short stands. Or up higher like I describe.

Often they're sort of a party rental space but IMO keeping it open for everyone would be nice / add appeal.

Hell put a playground up there for kids ;)
 

Ski U Master

Well-known member
GREAT points.
1) I don't care as much about the fit as the sound is weak, and really sounds awful on tv. I've always wondered if there isn't a way to put mics on the goal post or somewhere similar, and put some speakers near the band facing up and out. We are a major university with I assume, lots of music and sound engineer types that could figure out A) how to make the band sound better in the stadium and B) how to make the band sound better on tv.
I've actually thought the band has sounded much better on TV this season than in the past. In stadium is still an issue, I was in the upper deck of the student section last game and you wouldn't even know they were playing aside from the bass drums. As far as mic-ing the band in the stadium, I think it's against conference rules to amplify the band, at least it used to be. I think even moving the band into a corner of the closed end so they aren't just blowing sound out the open end would help to retain some of the sound, the pit was one of the few design fails of the stadium.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
The stadium still feels new. The new turf looks great. It is a great place to watch a football game. But, some observations or potential changes I see include:

1. The design problem of incorrectly sizing the band pit is problematic. The band has never fit in there and it looks weird. Plus the sunk-in nature of it makes it hard for many to properly hear the band (especially the students) and although they turn some band members around 180 degrees to point back toward the student section during some songs, this remains an ongoing issue. I would like to see them move the band out of the pit, to be located in regular seats perhaps in the corner or behind where it is now.

2. This second issue goes all the way back to the drawing board: Overall the two decked nature of TCF Bank Stadium is great but it is a problem for the student section. Students clearly don't want to be separated and don't want to be in the second deck. Old fashioned tunnels would have been better behind the end zone instead of the modern dual deck and open concourse that was used there. Too late to fix that one but perhaps they could reclaim a couple of the student sections on the first deck and cheap season ticket and single game options could take their place in some of the current second deck student seats.

3. The old TV's were replaced and that has been a very good thing. TV coverage in the concourses is much better now. Nice improvement.

4. There were 11 teams in the B1G when the stadium was built so they put 10 flagpoles and 1 oversized flagpole to fly UofM and all other team flags on the north rim of the stadium. When the conference expanded, our stadium went the cheap/lazy route of taking out the conference flags and just replaced them all with Gopher flags. This has always bugged me.

5. This one isn't related to brick and mortar stadium stuff but find a way to consistently fill it. It used to fill for games against Syracuse and TCU. Now it doesn't fill for an undefeated home team playing conference games even in perfect weather. What is different? The pricing is out of whack for this market. If an undefeated team can't fill the stadium at these prices, and the prices can't change, it is time to admit the stadium should have been built with 35,000 seats and there could have been cost savings in construction and just as much revenue at these ticket prices.

The overall vision of the stadium is aging well. It is flat-out beautiful with its brick exterior. Other first rate items include the classy touch of the county names appearing in a ring around it, the open end looking over campus and downtown beyond, The layout of premium areas and press box are outstanding, etc.

What else would you like to see changed or wish would have been designed differently about the stadium? What are some of the other things you appreciate about the stadium?
This is a great post.

I hope the discussion won't be dominated by the never-ending ticket pricing debate (your point #5).


The thing is, no matter how much fans (die-hards and non) might agree that ticket prices are too high, now that the cat is out of the bag, it will be extremely difficult to convince admin/finance types to accept a loss of overall ticket revenue just for the sake of putting more butts in seats. This conversation has gone round and round on here before.
 

everybody knows my name

Freakishly Hyperintelligent
These might not all be real problems, but they're pet peeves of mine.

-I wish the student section was better executed. Put them all in the lower deck by expanding the existing section laterally, or even better: move them to the upper deck 50 yard line on the visiting side. Those are better seats, and the students ought to be guests of honor, not an accessory.
-Increase tailgating space around the stadium. This would come with a significant cost that the University probably won't want to bear, but it's a 100-year investment in our gameday experience and tradition.
-Goldy's is too small, with too few registers. That place is a stinkin zoo on gameday.
-The best stadium food I've ever had was the swedish meatballs from Jax Cafe. Mind blowing, and perfect for a cold day. I'm still mad that they discontinued them.
-Gild the county names carved in the exterior ring. That would make them pop beautifully, and emphasize one of the cool features of the stadium. It doesn't have to cost a mint; it can be done with paint - you just have to maintain it year to year.

But overall I love the stadium. Other fanbases mock it as a "stadiette," but I prefer to think of it as a football theater. It's gorgeous and comfortable.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
I've seen a few other P5 stadiums, and just by the looks/aesthetic/exterior of the stadium, you can see why ours cost $250M or so. Some of the other stadiums just don't look as nice, on their own as a structure.

One stadium I've seen a couple years ago was Folsom at CU Boulder, and that is a really nice campus with most of the buildings having a similar architectural/exterior style. Their stadium is really nicely done, in that same style all around the structure. Ours is similar like that.
 

Section2

Well-known member
I've actually thought the band has sounded much better on TV this season than in the past. In stadium is still an issue, I was in the upper deck of the student section last game and you wouldn't even know they were playing aside from the bass drums. As far as mic-ing the band in the stadium, I think it's against conference rules to amplify the band, at least it used to be. I think even moving the band into a corner of the closed end so they aren't just blowing sound out the open end would help to retain some of the sound, the pit was one of the few design fails of the stadium.
I'm 80% sure they mic'd the band in the Dome, no? You could be right. But regardless, there has to be a way to make the band sound better. And on tv, it seems like I'm hearing individual horns, or a handful of trumpet guys, where as other teams I hear the WHOLE band and it just has a different feel. It's important.
 

FireDaveLee

Grizzled Veteran
It really is a great stadium. I remember going to Nebraska & it literally took 20 minutes to get from the concourse up to our seats. We didn't even attempt to go to the bathroom at halftime knowing how big of a gong show it would be. I can be up to the bathroom & back in my seats in 5 minutes during a break in the action & that's with people in line. Same if I want to get a quick soda or beer; up & back in a few minutes. Lots of leg room in the corners where I sit.

My suggestions:
-Escalators: As our fan base gets older, the stairs will become cumbersome. I know they have a few elevators & a few ramp locations. But I think an escalator like they have at Mariucci at the A & E gates would be beneficial.
-Bigger board on the student section side of the stadium. I like that idea.
-More common sense policies. I was excited this week when the lady who sold me a bottle of water just gave me the water, rather than take the cap off like so many other times due to policy. It was a lot easier to throw the bottle of water in my pocket while I was carrying other stuff. Just little things like that that bug me.
-Big Ten live look-in: Now I'm nitpicking, but perhaps get a little better screener on which highlights to show. Live look in & they show like a 7 yard pass on 1st & 10 of the PSU/MSU game. Scoring plays only.

I have a lot more positives than negatives about my Gopher football Saturdays.
 

Taji34

Active member
I'm 80% sure they mic'd the band in the Dome, no? You could be right. But regardless, there has to be a way to make the band sound better. And on tv, it seems like I'm hearing individual horns, or a handful of trumpet guys, where as other teams I hear the WHOLE band and it just has a different feel. It's important.
The other concern with micing the band (which was considered for halftimes, as I was told when I was in the band and the question was brought up) is the way the sound system is set up causes about a 1 second delay from the band playing to the sound coming out of the speakers. This obviously would cause some doublling issues for the fans the band is facing since they would hear the sound from the field then the sound from the speakers, but more importantly it really messes with the band's ability to keep time when they aren't marking time with their feet.
 

everybody knows my name

Freakishly Hyperintelligent
-Big Ten live look-in: Now I'm nitpicking, but perhaps get a little better screener on which highlights to show. Live look in & they show like a 7 yard pass on 1st & 10 of the PSU/MSU game. Scoring plays only.
Ha ha! This has bugged me for years, but I never would have thought to comment on it here.

Why is it, you could have a 98 yard pass and run with ten broken tackles ending on the one yard line setting up a 1st and goal, but the only highlight they show is the one yard plunge for the TD?
 

Ski U Master

Well-known member
I'm 80% sure they mic'd the band in the Dome, no? You could be right. But regardless, there has to be a way to make the band sound better. And on tv, it seems like I'm hearing individual horns, or a handful of trumpet guys, where as other teams I hear the WHOLE band and it just has a different feel. It's important.
They did at the dome for non-conference games and during all pregame/halftime, but not during Big Ten games because of the rule.

Agree that they don't always capture the homogeneous sound very well on TV, you do get individuals popping out of the texture. I'm not sure if that's on the TV folks or our A/V people.
 

MaxyJR1

Well-known member
I love the place and hope they don't add seats, but would like to see them add better concessions and restrooms above the second level. Halftime crowds on the first level are ridiculous and cause people to miss parts of the 3rd quarter.

Great college stadium
 

Ski U Master

Well-known member
-Increase tailgating space around the stadium. This would come with a significant cost that the University probably won't want to bear, but it's a 100-year investment in our gameday experience and tradition.
Where?

The U already has plans to develop almost all the current surface tailgating lots into academic/research buildings at some point (long term, think decades not years). An urban university with constraints on land can't devote that land to a handful of events per year. The U instead should develop a robust "block party" atmosphere pre-game, not tailgating.
 

swingman

Well-known member
SkiUMah tailgate lot just completed an expansion...great move.

Victory tailgate lot now ope to RVs and public...was an underused space by students.

The lot by the new hospital on Huron? SOmetimes I've seen tailgating, sometimes not. What's the deal in that lot.

There is a covered dome over by SkiUMah lot for rec sports soccer...that should be open to the general public for tailgating for Penn State and Wisconsin...been to similar events at Nebraska and Iowa and Wisconsin that work well.

They overthink the traffic with too many lane closures, one ways, parking meter baggings...Let the market decide most efficient way to park and enter/exit.

Sell the train drops you off at the front gate or right next to Sally's idea more...get a corporate sponor for free rides for six hours around game time.

Sell park at Fairgrounds and grab free shuttle more...great option.

The Twins have killed with their variious party deck options in what are essentially less desirable seats in far away outfield.

Send Goldy and cheerleaders and band and dance line to all four corners of the stadium...engage all attendees better.

Get people through the entrance quicker and sell beer quicker.

More guy urinal space. Troughs are fine.

Don't have Goldy doing pushups during live action. Save that for commercial breaks and have it on big screens.

Have a celebrity singer for the Rouser at some point during a big commercial break like Wrigley field has for the seventh inning stretch. Make sure all the words are heard and seen on the big board, not just a bunch of clapping and then M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.

Have the best singer in the music department belt out Hail Minnesota during a commercial break, not during half time when everybody is walking around. Sing it loud and strong. Sung well it is an unbelievably powerful and energizing song. Mumbled in a buzz at slow tempo, it is a funeral dirge.

The Rouser and Hail Minnesota need to be things that get fans off their feet, excited and happy...not just ho hummed.

Liven up the third quarter segment...get songs the kids and crowds can hop and jump to...Do the Gopher part of that interval should be 15-20 seconds at most. It is not a good dance/party song. They used to mix in the hottest song of the time and the kids love it...What does the Fox Say, Gangnam style, whatever is hip and now.

Get PJ and Heather on the Mall and in the Union handing out tickets, asking kids to come.

Get Norries Wilson on the morning radio or morning TV shows asking fans to come...guy is infectious in his Gopher love.
 

everybody knows my name

Freakishly Hyperintelligent
Where?

The U already has plans to develop almost all the current surface tailgating lots into academic/research buildings at some point (long term, think decades not years). An urban university with constraints on land can't devote that land to a handful of events per year. The U instead should develop a robust "block party" atmosphere pre-game, not tailgating.
I don't know. I'm not a real estate agent, a developer, or an urban planner, but I know that development should include land set aside for beauty, utility, and recreation. It doesn't have to be immediately contiguous to the stadium, either. Within blocks would be good.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Where?

The U already has plans to develop almost all the current surface tailgating lots into academic/research buildings at some point (long term, think decades not years). An urban university with constraints on land can't devote that land to a handful of events per year. The U instead should develop a robust "block party" atmosphere pre-game, not tailgating.
I still think they could make a massive tailgating atmosphere/tailgating "village" out at the fairgrounds. Have tons of free shuttles before, during, and after the game. Somewhat easier to get to from the freeways than the stadium, easier to exit, etc.
 

DarrenTheGreek

Gov. Victory Bell Ringer
Jim Mitchell used to sing Hail Minnesota at halftime of every game and it was awesome. He stopped at the end of the 2003 season for health reasons and passed away in 2004. I wish they'd bring back that tradition.
 



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