At next Friday's meeting of the NU Board of Regents, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst will request approval for a $12.3 million project to replace the 20 year old sound system at Memorial Stadium and add high speed WiFi internet access to the stadium. The project will be funded through priority seating funds.
The current system was originally installed in 1994 with the first HuskerVision screens, and were reinstalled in 2006 when North Stadium was expanded. The proposal says that "the typical life expectancy for such systems is 15 years" and that parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find. If approved, the project would be completed in August, in time for the 2014 football season.
Also part of the proposal is to install a wifi network to provide fans with internet access in the stadium. Although cellular service has gotten better in Memorial Stadium in recent years, it's still somewhat of a dead zone. With more and more fans relying on staying connected, wifi service is starting to become a expectation of the fan experience. Now, fans want to share their experience on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
(This is where our Jon Johnston reminds us that fans also want to participate in the CornNation game threads.)
With the advent of smartphones, tablets, and high definition television broadcasts of games, some people argue that the experience of watching the game at home is better than the stadium experience. I disagree. While the food and beverages are better at home, nothing can replace the sensation of being in the stadium on game days. Generally speaking, HuskerVision does a better job of replaying key plays than ESPN does, and you also don't have to have your eardrums punctured by the likes of Ed Cunningham, Matt Millen, and Sean McDonough.
But I also see the point of staying at home: your comfy sofa or recliner, access to a remote to check other games out during those lengthy timeouts, no lines for the bathroom, and climate-controlled comfort. So making sure you are as connected at the game as at home eliminates one reason why some fans stay home.
Also on the agenda is a proposal for UNL Campus Recreation to once again fund the Breslow Ice Center north of the Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Breslow Center would only have seating for 750 fans around the NHL sized rink. This would be for club hockey, not a division 1 Big Ten varsity sport.
“The construction of this facility does not contemplate Division I hockey and UNL has no plans for such program."
So what's your opinion? Anxious to have an upgraded sound system at the game? Being able to participate in the game threads while at the game?