Washington’s Husky Stadium vs WSU’s Martin Stadium: An Unbiased View of the Upgrades


Husky Stadium

Oct 26, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; View of the Husky Stadium field painted with the initials “DJ” for late former coach Don James before a game between the Washington Huskies and the California Golden Bears. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The place is absolutely unbelievable. I hate to throw praise on anything UW, but the remodel was a full-fledged masterpiece and Kirk Herbsteit’s definition that he tweeted after ESPN’s Game Day went to Seattle of “an abolute palace on the shores of Montlake” is dead on. The new Husky Stadium is a setting that defines intimate elegance, what with the available color scheme and the view.

Look, I’ve been in Husky Stadium once before (when Idaho went to play the Dawgs back in ’07) and this was nothing like the dangerous monstrosity that I remember. It was rickety and scary and didn’t make you want to come back. The Cougar announcers even said before yesterday’s game that the press box used to bounce and rock in the wind! Heck I remember the college football announcers on ESPN and the old Fox Sports Northwest going on about how the place was rocking their press box. They made it sound awesome, but in reality, it was more dangerous than anything.

No longer the case. From the incredible new operations building that seamlessly engulfs the “closed” end zone, to the new stands with seat-backs all around the stadium, to the much more solid roof that won’t be falling on anybody anytime soon and the improved and secure press box underneath it, it was truly an amazing and impressive setting for a college football game. By the way the fact that everybody had a seat-back was for some reason really impressive.

One monstrous video board sits in the more “open” end with a terrific setup of bleachers below, closing it up nicely but still leaving a breath-taking view of Lake Washington available to nearly everybody in the stadium. Two other aptly sized video boards dot the facade above the other end zone (where the ops building is). Ribbon boards also go around 3/4 of the lower bowl, which is just cool and adds to the major college atmosphere!

The purple end zones are ugly because they’re purple, but not because they’re a bad idea (and truthfully not because they’re ugly). It made me really excited for our own crimson end zone additions next season (yup we are getting those!). Also, removing the track and widening the stands was a tremendous addition-by-subtraction move for the closeness and intimacy of the entire place. In all truth, it made the setting much bigger than it was before. We sat in the upper corner of the stadium and felt like we were right on top of the action. 71,000 plus seriously did rock that stadium and probably were louder than anything previously possible in there.

As my friend Roshaun so aptly put it; “I hate Washington, but this place is kinda dope though… it’s SO NICE in here!” It was beautiful.

Martin Stadium

Oct 31, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; General view of Martin Stadium during the NCAA football game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Washington State Cougars. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t get me wrong though Coug-fans, I would take no other setting than what Martin Stadium is about to offer us in 2014! The new Martin is more of a truly passionate environment and setting that will give the impression of intensity.

I have to say, Martin has always been just as bad as the old Husky Stadium, if not worse. I loved it cause it was home, but not because it was worthy of a major college football clash.

There was actually someone holding a sign at Husky Stadium yesterday reading “hey Cougs, how’s it feel to be in a REAL stadium!” Truth be told Mr. sign holder, it feels dang good, we get to experience it every home game now, just like you with your new digs. I’m telling you it’s no joke when the staff and athletic department people at WSU say it’s truly going to be one of the best settings for a college football game in the conference and in the country.

And Mr./Mrs. Husky fan, I challenge you to come to Martin for the Apple Cup next year and truly believe in your heart that Martin isn’t every bit the stadium that you have. I think you’ll be surprised and impressed, pictures and television do it no justice, just like at the new UW.

You all remember the cracker-jack press box that we used to endure. Reports are that they didn’t even have heaters in that tin can of a place. NO HEATERS IN A COLLEGE FOOTBALL PRESS BOX! That’s incredible.

As with Husky Stadium, obviously that’s no longer the case. Now I believe we at WSU enjoy one of the largest and most incredible press box areas in the entire country! The lights that scan across the top of it also have made the place much brighter, as opposed to before when there were only two banks of lights in each corner of that side of the field and a small bit of lights on top of the “press box”. I mean just look below at the difference.

As the ops building has come along in the West end zone, it looks better and better and is going to be a gem that closes Martin beautifully (see the mock-up on the right). Unlike UW’s ops building, the WSU building is in the more “open” end of the stadium, featuring it as a stand-alone piece that demands attention. This is a contrast in style to Husky Stadium, which decided to integrate theirs into the design of the stadium on the closed end.

My lady commented at the game yesterday with an interesting question while looking at the UW press box; “is that their new thing? It’s so much smaller than ours.” Of course that was redone nicely, but it is difficult to recognize as “impressive” and I had to point out the ops building in the end zone before she truly saw it and said “oh wow, that’s nice.” That kind of sums up the difference though, in my opinion. Because of the roof and upper deck that adds thousands of seats, there just isn’t that much room for a dynamic, incredible press box in Husky Stadium.

Every advantage for a “smaller crowd”, which Pullman definitely presents with only 33,000 or so (half the size of Husky Stadium for example), is incredibly important. For both factors of intimacy and warmth (literally the OPS building blocks the brunt of the wind from the West end zone, along with the larger press box on the South side) it is a huge addition for the fans and for the loudness of the stadium.

There are a few more factors like the ribbon boards and new video board that sum up the new Martin and for a more detailed look at those, take a quick look at my early season “first impressions of Martin” article. I’m really excited, as I’m sure all you Cougar supporters are, for our finished stadium and the future of WSU football. We are going to finally be part of the national scene when in consideration of a beautiful “major” college football stadium. It’s so nice to be able to say that!