Hoosiers creating new experience for football fans
Indiana is going all out to increase attendance at football
Hoosiers athletic director Fred Glass on Monday outlined a
package of changes school officials hope will create a better
game-day experience for the crowd. The two most notable alterations
will be the addition of the USS Indiana’s prow outside the stadium
and the addition of a 154-foot flagpole that surpasses Ohio State’s
146-footer as the tallest in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Glass calls it a fitting tribute for Indiana’s Memorial
”The flag will go up as we sing the National Anthem,” Glass
said. ”And when we win, we will hoist the victory flag on
But it will take more than fresh looks to win over fans at a
program that has traditionally ranked near the bottom of the Big
Ten in attendance.
So Glass intends to make sure everybody outside the stadium is
aware of what’s going on inside.
Fireworks will go off about 15 minutes before opening kickoff
and again at the start of the second half, a reminder for fans to
take their seats. When the Hoosiers run onto the field, they will
run through a smoke screen and will be welcomed by loud booms. When
Indiana scores, fans will hear the sound of a cannon nicknamed
”Big Jake” being fired.
Indiana will illuminate the north end zone in red spotlights
after victories, has installed flat-screen televisions around the
concourse and upgraded its cellphone reception. The school also has
expanded the security command center in the press box to help with
All of these modifications were part of a months-long discussion
about how to make Memorial Stadium a more fan-friendly
”We’re battling against fans watching the games at home, and
people are feeling that around the country,” Glass said. ”So I
think one of the things we need to do is make the experience as
desirable as possible to give you some things that you don’t get to
see at home.”
That includes a couple of ideas incorporated from Indiana
basketball games – a live-look at the Hoosiers on the big
scoreboard before they take the field and the addition of a new
football song and video that will be introduced during the Big Ten
opener Oct. 5 against Penn State.
One thing that isn’t likely to change yet is Indiana’s
basketball home, Assembly Hall.
Glass acknowledged that while changes are needed at one of
basketball’s grand venues, he believes it will be more
cost-effective to renovate the building rather than build a new
”I think that would be about 300 million bucks and suck the
oxygen out of everything else we’re doing,” Glass said, estimating
the cost of a brand-new basketball arena. ”When you’re an opposing
player or coach and you feel like Gen. Custer with all the students
looking down on you, I think that’s pretty imposing. So I don’t
think there would be a new Assembly Hall, but I think there are
some ways to improve it.”
Rather than elaborate on those possible upgrades, though, Glass
kept the focus at this basketball school on football.
He said Indiana has sold more than 30,000 season tickets thanks
in large part to a substantial increase in student-ticket sales.
Glass said that comparable to where the Hoosiers were at this time
But the big question is how many fans will show up for games
”If we’re over 40,000 for the (opening) game, I’ll be really
happy,” Glass said. ”I think before long we’ll be at 52,929 week
in and week out.”