Notre Dame Stadium to Feature 'Tasteful' Video Board, Wider Seats and Premium Tickets

Author: Margaret Fosmoe, South Bend Tribune

Link to South Bend Tribune Article - September 3, 2015

"Stadium video screen will be used tastefully to draw in fans," John Affleck-Graves

SOUTH BEND — First things first.

The video screen will be 96 feet by 54 feet, affixed to the wall of Notre Dame Stadium's south end zone.  In terms of square footage, that's about the size of the current video screen at the University of Minnesota and slightly larger than the one at the University of Oklahoma.

No "kiss cam" shots. No commercials.

Everything that is shown on the screen will be done in a tasteful manner, Notre Dame Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said in a recent live video interview hosted by the Notre Dame Alumni Association providing an update on the Campus Crossroads construction project.

Campus Crossroads is a $400 million project that involves building three academic and student life buildings adjacent to Notre Dame Stadium and adding premium seating to the stadium. Work began last fall and is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The video board and other improvements are designed to "create a much richer experience for everybody who is coming to a game," Affleck-Graves said. The large screen will offer fans a chance to see replays and also to watch closeups of introductions and honors that occur on the field, he said.

The current scoreboard on the north end of the stadium will be taken down in 2017 to provide a better view of the "Touchdown Jesus" mural on the front of Hesburgh Library, and "ribbon" video boards will be installed along the east and west sides inside the stadium so every seat has a view of the score and game statistics.

The wooden benches inside the stadium will be improved by 2017 with vinyl covering. The average space available per fan on the benches will expand from 16 inches wide to 18 inches, which will involve "reseating" the stadium, Affleck-Graves said. (This may reduce the total number of bench seats available, but by how many seats hasn't been announced.)

About 3,000 premium seats for football games will be available when the project is complete in 2017. Over half of those seats already are sold, he said.

Starting with the season opener this Saturday, home football games will proceed as usual at Notre Dame Stadium. Construction fences and barricades will come down the Thursday before home games and go back up on the Sunday after games.

"Other than the physical buildings which have gone up, everything will be the same as normal," Affleck-Graves said.

The project includes nine-story Duncan Student Center, a study, fitness, career counseling and student activities building that is under construction on the west side of the stadium; nine-story Corbett Family Hall, a new anthropology, psychology and digital media building that is rising on the east side; and a six-story music building that will be built on the south side.

The trio of buildings will include a hospitality club, premium indoor seating and open-air terraces with views inside the stadium.

The top three levels on the east and west buildings will provide premium seating options during football games, Affleck-Graves said. But some of that space will be used by students for dorm dances and other events during the rest of the year, he said.

There will two types of premium seating.

The loge level will offer semi-private seating areas with rolling back chairs, tables and personal tablets for every two seats. That outdoor seating will include access to an indoor club space, food and beverages, in-seat wait service, reserved parking, priority access to bowl and Shamrock Series tickets and other benefits.

Club level seats offer outdoor seating with a heated overhang, cushioned seats, access to an indoor club space, food and beverages, one reserved parking pass per four seats purchased, priority access to bowl and Shamrock Series tickets and other benefits.

Prices for the premium seats haven't been publicly announced. Details and wait list information are available

Affleck-Graves said administrators were looking for a way to use space near the stadium for academic and student life needs, and draw people to that space on a regular basis. The stadium area was chosen as the site for the project because it's within a five-minute walk of most academic and student residential areas on campus, he said.

"The real issue we were looking at at that stage was: Where do we put a big student center?" Affleck-Graves said. University leaders determined there was a crucial need for a modern student center offering recreational/workout facilities and meeting space for clubs, a building to supplement Lafortune Student Center.

Margaret Fosmoe, South Bend Tribune