BY Adam Lewis 09:43PM 08/31/2013

Husky Stadium still working out the kinks

With most staffers as new to stadium as fans, the first game had hiccups. Once seated, however, roominess of seats and proximity to the field were as big a hit as the field triumph.

The Washington football image was burnished Saturday night. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

A group of University of Washington football boosters crammed into the foyer near the edge of Husky Stadium’s main concourse, a pinch of sunlight shining through the west end. It was 6:30 p.m., still a half-hour before the Huskies officially opened their renovated home against Boise State. It was still hot.

The high-rollers were pissed.

“From the vernacular of your generation, this is called a group-f–. This is coming from a 76-year-old lady,” shouted a woman waiting for one of four elevators to take her to her suite.

The ushers tasked with what was quickly turning into an arthritic mob couldn’t do much to quiet the complaints. Panicked-looking workers directed some left, others right. A supervisor yelled at a chef for taking a massive pizza burner up the elevator with a group of reporters.

The rebuilt west end was as foreign to the stadium staff as it was the fans trying to find their way around.

Working out the kinks that go along with pouring $280 million into a college football palace proved challenging. A lot was new, so fewer knew what was going on.

But those not forced into the indignity of having to wait an extra five to 10 minutes before making it into their luxury suite, likely stocked with high-end booze and food, were actually pleased with the result of the renovations.

“You know what I loved hearing? That Keith Price doesn’t want to leave the grounds. It’s very accommodating for recruits and players to hang out,” said Brad Battiste, an 11-year UW season ticket holder from Bellevue.

Most others were quick to point out they liked the absence of the track that used to separate the stands from the sidelines. Gone too are the wooden benches that mandated fans bring their own seat cushion to avoid a sore hind-side.

“The benches weren’t that comfortable,” Battiste said.

“It was just old, dude,” added Kirby Ingram, a senior accounting major at the UW. “I’ve been to a lot of stadiums, but I think this is the best in college football. Absolutely.”

At the very least, renovations improved the fan experience for many when they reached their seats, though they didn’t prevent others the chance to reminisce.

“What was nice about the (old) bleachers was you could squeeze some friends in, and not worry about it,” Battiste said.

Others enjoyed the added breathing room, whether it the wider concourses or improved seating.

“One of the things that’s better is there is more leg room in the aisles. It was really cramped in the old stadium,” said Patrick McDevitt, a Seattle resident.

The setting for the relaunch was perfect: 75 degrees and no wind at kick-0ff. To the east, Lake Washington glistened with an estimated 300 sailgaters.

The football offices behind the students seated in the west end zone bore a silver reflection, the blacked-out windows a sleek representation of what’s become increasingly important throughout college football: Presentation.

“It’s kind of a bummer in a way,” said Kasra Soltani, a Kirkland native. “Hopefully this is where it stops. The whole commercializing of college sports is what brings the money in. I get it, but at the same time, you kind of lose a bit of what went away with the old stadium.”


YourThoughts

  • Kage McClued

    The biggest kink of all was the waste of $280 million to rebuild it when there is a state-of-the-art facility right down the street they could have used instead.

    Imagine how much that money could have done to reduce tuition and fees to get people from this state educated.

    Most of the year, the stadium will be as useful as a hood ornament.

    Sometimes, I’m ashamed I ever went to school there.

    • HB

      Boo hoo.

      Don’t worry, none of that money is coming out of your pocket, so you are still able to put together a funding plan of your own to reduce tuition and fees to educate the people of other countries’ who come to UW.

      • K.j. Hinton

        Gee. What an utterly senseless response.

  • Buggy White

    A lady in her seventies dropping f-bombs, I love it!

    • Get it right!

      She shouted, ” a group-F…” which would technically be an orgy or gang bang.
      I think she meant to reference a “cluster F…” for those waiting for the suite elevators. I’m just glad she kept her clothes on.

  • joe

    My only complaint was with the sound system, when used with the video board. Very charlie Brownish. That and the advertising ring needs to be stopped during play. WAY too bright and distracting. Place is a treasure.

  • Jerryt44

    Another rocket scientist that thinks the stadium was built with taxpayer money….. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    • K.j. Hinton

      Speaking of “rocket scientists,” I missed where anyone discussed the use of taxpayer dollars. Except, of course, that the UW tried for 2 years to get the legislature to pay for it.

  • Duck Fan

    I am Oregon alum and a lifelong Duck fan. I can’t wait for the Ducks to come up and extend the winning streak against the fuskies. I want to see Oregon football players dance on the W. Payback’s a female dawg.

    • Tian Biao

      you may not have noticed, mr duck, so I’ll tell you: this site is not really a place where bleating fans thump their chests. it’s a little more intelligent than that. just fyi.

      • Bruce McDermott

        Depending on how long his life has been, the poor fellow has seen decades of Duck mediocrity, or worse, before this last one. So we can be more understanding of his need to bleat his pride these days.

    • Karma’s a female dawg

      Payback would be Willie Lyles returning $25K to the University of Oregon’s Athletic Department. Sucka!

  • Bruce McDermott

    That commercial ring, flashing advertisements during play, was an abomination. I hope enough of us scream loudly enough to stop that nonsense. Advertise if you must, but keep the images static during play! I feel much less inclined to bow down to Washington when Washington is so crassly bowing down to the Almighty Buck.

    Otherwise, stadium was structurally much improved, and looked great. I understand the stat board malfunctioned just before kick-off, so it will be good to get that up and running.

    • Jon egge

      Bruce — I am with you. The electronic banner was a real downer. It was hard to just concentrate on the action and enjoy the stadium when your eyes were being flashed out with commercial glitz. To pay this much money to be beset by a non stop commercial is too much for me. If they don’t change things I am out of here. Sad comment on the commericalization of every thing.

  • Working out the bugs

    The one omission in the new Husky Stadium that can be easily resolved. Bring back the Offensive and Defensive Statistics Board for each team. Some of us are statistical geeks.

  • Southsiders Got it Right

    The stadium issues are one thing. The real challenge was having to stand most of the game. Some on the North side stood even during the T.V. timeouts and halftime show. This behavior pissed off the folks who are physically disabled, brought younger fans or were vertically challenged.
    This is not a Seattle Sounder’s match on the pitch nor a Seahawks game for those in face paint and blue hair. Sit the Fu(# down… and reduce the chances of getting varicose veins.