There's a lot to love about a Saturday at Beaver Stadium, so forgive me if this comes across as a Get Off My Lawn moment.
In an attempt to inject more enthusiasm, the marketing and branding specialists have added all sorts of bells and whistles to the gameday experience over the past few years. Lots of piped-in music. "Pump up" videos (hate the name, but whatev.) Zombie Nation and Seven Nation Army on a constant loop. The dance team performing in the end zone. The virtual elimination of the Blue Band. The list of recent additions and omissions is endless.
Personally, I'm fine with an attempt to bring additional excitement into the mix. The videos are almost always impressive and effective -- you'll never find a better example of it than the video shown just prior to the legendary 2005 Ohio State game. I'm not sure I've ever heard any stadium, anywhere, louder before a game than when the words "WE TOLD YOU SO" appeared on the Beaver Stadium video boards.
Part of the problem is that Penn State has been trying to duplicate that night ever since, and it's just not possible. That sort of emotion and energy can't be manufactured. Not unless Penn State goes into another tailspin of losing seasons, and can schedule a hated, highly ranked rival for a primetime game to coincide with the Lions' improbable resurgence. Of course, this begs the question of whether the current stadium atmosphere (in reality, the envy of 95% of other college football programs) is due to the aural and visual extras, or the current state of the football program itself.
But that hasn't stopped them from trying to recreate Ohio State '05. No, sir. There's a long-standing rule in radio to eliminate all "dead air" -- silence without purpose or effect. Now, that rule has clearly been adopted by the forces controlling the scene at Beaver Stadium, as more and more stuff is crammed into the gameday experience. It doesn't have to be entertaining, it just can't be silent. A break in the action? Thank the corporate sponsors! In between quarters? Play "Sweet Caroline"! And honestly, I'll give you "Zombie Nation" and "Seven Nation Army". That's fine, if a little grating and beyond played. But "Sweet Caroline"? Folks, there's a reason people hate Boston and Red Sox fans. "Sweet Caroline" is a big part of it. Why are we copying them?
"Livin' On A Prayer", and "Don't Stop Believin'"? Ehhh. I lived through the 80's as a child. You didn't miss much, trust me. That horrifically lame "Let's Go P-S-U!" chant to the lamest of lame stadium anthems, "Rock and Roll, Part 2"? Great if you're into padding the wallets of pedophiles with royalties. If you're singing along to these songs*, you should be required to wear a Swatch and gel bracelets, then whip yourselves to death with them. In an attempt to modernize the Beaver Stadium experience, it's been turned into a professional basketball arena.
Rest assured that the marketing people in Happy Valley keep an eye on Black Shoe Diaries, so here's your opportunity to be heard. There are a lot of good and bad items to bat around.
What would you change about the experience at Beaver Stadium?
* - "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" was a very, very nice touch**.
** - I did not realize it was played multiple times. Come on, Mysterious Beaver Stadium DJ. Really?
[Update: The very, very best of your comments after the jump. Click through with sheer joy, please.]
shadowfax gets the Daily Double, first with the NBAification of Beaver Stadium:
It’s not just the music. It’s the whole transformation into a professional experience. It’s not even always a good professional experience. It has this level of minor league baseball tackiness to it at some moments. I’m sure a good compromise could be reached… but I doubt it will. This is a slippery slope.
...and then, with a new and improved Penn State Fight Song:
Berks Hot Dogs,
Berks Hot Dogs,
And some Cold Pep-si
Lottery, may be won by thee,
Weis Markets for all your shopping needs
Pheaa and hershey
We’ll get a card from PNC
and new cell phones from AT&T…
Shop on, at Rockvale Outlets, on, on, Penn State!
borisborisboris hits on something I've been thinking but didn't pin down:
I love the energy, i love the cheers, i love the traditions, but the music is unnecessary and embarrassing. It makes it look like our fans don’t care about the football, and need this stuff to get into it. The best parts of the game are when the crowd has its head into the action, not the extracurriculars.
It's an excellent point. It makes us look like we're fairweather fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Memphis Grizzlies.
And for those of you wondering how the "ribbon boards" (the new scoreboards along the facades of Beaver Stadium) work, QBsneak12 is here to help:
Since my company [sells] and analyzes sponsorships in sports, I feel my opinion should hold some weight.
When we added the LED banners this year (end zone) they told the public it was for showing statistics and out of town scores. The real reason you spend millions of dollars with ANC Sports for the LED is to provide more advertising inventory for your current and potential sponsors. Every arena and stadium is doing it. It is a way to generate more revenue for the school. The property that sells sponsorships makes a guarantee to PSU on how much revenue they will get them every year. The rings help them make some money back from this. The reason they thank the sponsors is because a verbal mention carries a higher weight then a logo. They want to mention the sponsor so in the sponosorship recap they can say it was mention X amount of times during the season and this is the value for those mentions.
Sweet Caroline needs to go away. It should have never started. What are we going to do next, steal Jump Around from Wisconsin?
There are plenty of comments in support of the current atmosphere, as well. Keep 'em coming.