A lot of new venues are either in place or under construction in the Pac-12. It’s a great thing the conference is doing as the Pac-12 as a whole is looking to become permanently etched into the #2 spot in the nation when it comes to football. With all the recent stadium updates the Pac-12 has not only become a great place to visit no matter which game you watch, it has become one of the most elite and scenic conferences in the Nation.
I’ve had a chance over the last 3 weeks to visit two of the new stadiums. I visited Pullman and saw the new Martin Stadium, and I visited Cal when the Cougs came to the Bay and checked out the new Memorial Stadium.
First Memorial Stadium.
When I first got to Memorial Stadium I was impressed with the improvements made. What really blew my mind was the scenery though. If you watched the game on Saturday you could see from the press box you had a wonderful view of the Golden gate bridge, one of our nation’s most majestic views. I got a look at that pre game and it was pretty impressive even just over the side of the stadium.
The new press box was pretty well done as well. It was a little plain but it complemented the stadium quite nicely and the ribbon boards looked great along the side. It is a huge press box and it’s quite a view from the opposite side of the field.
The video boards (although poorly operated) were well placed and gave a full view of the action happening on the field from just about anywhere you sat in the stadium, when they did show instant replays of say, plays under review, it was clear what had happened making it a more interactive viewing experience.
Overall it was a pretty cool spot to visit but the problem I have is for a college stadium it really lacks intimacy. No matter if I sat in the first row or when I sat back a bit, I felt distant from the action. I felt slightly hopeless cheering because it felt like we were not likely to be heard on the field despite a good showing by the Coug faithful. When it’s all said and done i think the atmosphere would be a little better with a sell out crowd, but I was quite bored with the presentation from the players running out and the pre game activities and in between stuff because once again, it all felt quite distant. Pretty disappointing considering that was Cal’s homecoming game.
Now Martin Stadium.
Even though the Palouse isn’t the most scenic destination in the Pac-12, there was something special about visiting Pullman. Having lived in the Bay the Past year and a half, I thought it may just be a case of me missing the place. I am glad I was able to bring along my friend from Oakland who has only ever been to greatly populated places (Not Washington or Idaho) to put it in perspective.
First Martin Stadium has come a long way in just the past couple years. It has gone from a high school stadium to one of the places you just have to visit if your team is playing in Pullman. The new press box is actually much like Cal’s but the premium seating outside just below it breaks up the plain-ness of the alumni side seating. The press box to date is the most impressive update to the stadium, from the ribbon boards added this year to the bold Cougar logo on the side. It adds a big time feel to a small place and really closes things up.
The new video board creates an amazing viewing experience for fans. It is beautifully placed and has completely changed the dynamic of Martin Stadium. The sound upgrades were great to listen to as well as everything was much more clear from the P.A. to the referee’s.
The stadium also has great intimacy. No matter where you sit you feel extremely close to the action. As a fan sitting there cheering you want to feel like you impact the game, and do you ever in the new Martin Stadium. There are great views all around the stadium and it’s a great experience all around. This is going to make Martin Stadium one of the toughest places to play for visiting teams in the Pac-12.
The only thing I have to complain about, is the unfinished construction. Having the open side really took away what the noise level should have been in Martin but since that won’t be a problem once the building is complete it’s not really an area of concern. Once the Football operations building is complete, look out! Martin will be the very definition of college football folks.
As for the scenery of the Palouse. Driving from Spokane my friend visiting from Oakland was getting nervous saying “Are we ever going to see people again or are the empty fields what I came here for?”. Yes to the natives the Palouse it is beautiful and to many, the simple life of the country is attractive but what really makes Washington State special is the atmosphere when you roll into Pullman.
Let me tell you when we finally rolled onto campus my friend described the place as “electric” he said it felt like one of the most exciting places he had ever visited. When he got into Martin he said “Wow this place is awesome”!
My thoughts exactly. Martin Stadium is awesome and it is what college football is all about. Pullman is one of the best places for a true unfiltered college experience. Once the football operations building is done it will be a very loud, very exciting venue.