Improve Gameday UConn (IGU) | The Boneyard

Improve Gameday UConn (IGU)

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We can't squeeze out another Quarterback for Bob Diaco. And maybe we can hope our SuperDane Andreas Knappe can be Super Man. Or ... just bitch like the morose Connecticut curmudgeons we are.

But ... at the margins ... I think we all are looking at our investment into this UConn Football Program and thinking that it needs some energy, some oomph to get it to another level. And this is on Diaco and on UConn AD (which has failed us a few notable times). But, unlike producing a QB from our loins, this is something that you can probably impact - largely because no one else is really taking it on. And it is necessary. We can do this collectively.

So ... I like that you are brainstorming on the 3rd Down noise replacement. But ... think a little broader. And whether you work for the State of Connecticut or you are an actuary in the City of Insurance, you have some brain power. My credibility? As some know, I was part of the inception of Storrs Center 8 years ago when the RFP was won; created, financed and developed Rowan Boulevard at Rowan U.; and now I am part of the TEAM at the Coliseum site in New Haven. Why do I point these out? Because they aren't Stepford Wives Shopping Center formats. We don't need Disney. I firmly think WE have a far more vibrant and exciting Tailgate Pre-Game than we did in either 2003 (first year) or 5 years ago. How can we make it better.

Improve Rentschler? Come up with achievable ideas and think how to fund them.

I will start with a quick few (and follow me if you think this is necessary - and maybe we can create a group of 20-50 Boneyarders):

We had 23,000 announced attendance. (Other than winning all the time) What would make a Saturday in East Hartford a more vibrant Gameday? Because Stony Brook seems like a low point.

(let me insert another note - the Montreal guys (??) who are doing the Coliseum also got paid by Florida State ($20,000 a month for a year) Seminoles Booster Club to created the Gameday experience whereby there's is better than the peers they target (ND, Alabama, Gainesville, Georgia. So ... I've heard basic ideas)

Here's my top 5:

1. Get the Students on the Bus to Rentschler. Insure that we get Maximum Student Attendance that we can. That is the spirit of College Football. On this note, you have to make that trip more rewarding and fun for all those young adults. Put some thought into the entire experience - from Storrs to Rent. T-Shirts. Spirit. Free Food or whatever. Make their experience far more of a Up than it is today. I don't think this is all that expensive and we can get this funded. Need Brainstorming.

2. Get the tailgates to start and THEN wrap with plenty of time for a Large percentage in their seats and buzzing for Kickoff. Get the people in their seats and be clever on incentivizing this. I think this is very important.

3. Make this the most welcoming Visiting Team experience that it can be. Take one section - maybe the Aero Club - and make it oriented to fun welcoming for specifically the Visitors (and pointed to friendly home folks too). Maybe a Local Rock/Blues band every game - funded by some sponsor - and make the games (not the truly late ending ones) have a little extension (if East Hartford Muni & Police allow). Food. Festival - maybe local CT/NE flavor. We don't have a campus. But, unlike BC, we can SELL New England. And if you think about it ... won't take long to think of 10 things special about NE that can make a Football game special and memorable. Iconic special experience. If they come from Boise or Provo or Memphis ... this could be something.

4. USE that UConn Marching Band far more. HELL yeah ... they should split up and play all over the Tailgate parking. And they can be the Pied Piper for leading into the Gameday Kickoff. But ... be creative ... more & more use of them all game.

5. Celebrate UConn. 7 Games. We can do this all over in all our sports. Bring out Ray Allen. (for kids and whomever). Have Geno and Jim speak (not together). Have a piñata made to look like Jeff Hathaway. Autograph sessions. Meet the Women's national champs? Or Shabazz? See I can make 7 interesting events on UConn Sports easy.

But ... my underlying statement? Gameday in our Program is in its infancy. If Florida State can care and invest in Trying for Excellence in this aspect ... WHY NOT US?

What did FSU do? Well. This would need 'n developer of Rentschler to take some risk. Because around the stadium in Tallahassee you would find a permanent Village for entertainment. And the Seminole Boosters don't care about 358 days of 365. But, the next step is developing around Rentschler.
 
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We can't squeeze out another Quarterback for Bob Diaco. And maybe we can hope our SuperDane Andreas Knappe can be Super Man. Or ... just bitch like the morose Connecticut curmudgeons we are.

But ... at the margins ... I think we all are looking at our investment into this UConn Football Program and thinking that it needs some energy, some oomph to get it to another level. And this is on Diaco and on UConn AD (which has failed us a few notable times). But, unlike producing a QB from our loins, this is something that you can probably impact - largely because no one else is really taking it on. And it is necessary. We can do this collectively.

So ... I like that you are brainstorming on the 3rd Down noise replacement. But ... think a little broader. And whether you work for the State of Connecticut or you are an actuary in the City of Insurance, you have some brain power. My credibility? As some know, I was part of the inception of Storrs Center 8 years ago when the RFP was won; created, financed and developed Rowan Boulevard at Rowan U.; and now I am part of the TEAM at the Coliseum site in New Haven. Why do I point these out? Because they aren't Stepford Wives Shopping Center formats. We don't need Disney. I firmly think WE have a far more vibrant and exciting Tailgate Pre-Game than we did in either 2003 (first year) or 5 years ago. How can we make it better.

Improve Rentschler? Come up with achievable ideas and think how to fund them.

I will start with a quick few (and follow me if you think this is necessary - and maybe we can create a group of 20-50 Boneyarders):

We had 23,000 announced attendance. (Other than winning all the time) What would make a Saturday in East Hartford a more vibrant Gameday? Because Stony Brook seems like a low point.

(let me insert another note - the Montreal guys (??) who are doing the Coliseum also got paid by Florida State ($20,000 a month for a year) Seminoles Booster Club to created the Gameday experience whereby there's is better than the peers they target (ND, Alabama, Gainesville, Georgia. So ... I've heard basic ideas)

Here's my top 5:

1. Get the Students on the Bus to Rentschler. Insure that we get Maximum Student Attendance that we can. That is the spirit of College Football. On this note, you have to make that trip more rewarding and fun for all those young adults. Put some thought into the entire experience - from Storrs to Rent. T-Shirts. Spirit. Free Food or whatever. Make their experience far more of a Up than it is today. I don't think this is all that expensive and we can get this funded. Need Brainstorming.

2. Get the tailgates to start and THEN wrap with plenty of time for a Large percentage in their seats and buzzing for Kickoff. Get the people in their seats and be clever on incentivizing this. I think this is very important.

3. Make this the most welcoming Visiting Team experience that it can be. Take one section - maybe the Aero Club - and make it oriented to fun welcoming for specifically the Visitors (and pointed to friendly home folks too). Maybe a Local Rock/Blues band every game - funded by some sponsor - and make the games (not the truly late ending ones) have a little extension (if East Hartford Muni & Police allow). Food. Festival - maybe local CT/NE flavor. We don't have a campus. But, unlike BC, we can SELL New England. And if you think about it ... won't take long to think of 10 things special about NE that can make a Football game special and memorable. Iconic special experience. If they come from Boise or Provo or Memphis ... this could be something.

4. USE that UConn Marching Band far more. HELL yeah ... they should split up and play all over the Tailgate parking. And they can be the Pied Piper for leading into the Gameday Kickoff. But ... be creative ... more & more use of them all game.

5. Celebrate UConn. 7 Games. We can do this all over in all our sports. Bring out Ray Allen. (for kids and whomever). Have Geno and Jim speak (not together). Have a piñata made to look like Jeff Hathaway. Autograph sessions. Meet the Women's national champs? Or Shabazz? See I can make 7 interesting events on UConn Sports easy.

But ... my underlying statement? Gameday in our Program is in its infancy. If Florida State can care and invest in Trying for Excellence in this aspect ... WHY NOT US?

What did FSU do? Well. This would need 'n developer of Rentschler to take some risk. Because around the stadium in Tallahassee you would find a permanent Village for entertainment. And the Seminole Boosters don't care about 358 days of 365. But, the next step is developing around Rentschler.

The Hathaway pinata can solve our revenue gap if we just auction off the right to smash it to FDNY!
 
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The student/bus issue will always be an issue but here are some ways to improve it. Right now students get shipped in on a bus with no tailgate gear and some have no where to go. Perhaps Uconn can host a tailgate for those who take the bus and provide some food/drink. Booze will remain an issue but students can take care of that on their own.

The Jets started a fan experience program this year for all season ticket holders- find a similar system. You get bonus points for scanning into the stadium a half hour before kickoff. Any time the crowd noise caused an offensive penalty for the Raiders they got +100 bonus points which showed on the screen. Reward noise. Have a fan of the game lead the U C O N N chant on the big screen vs the cheerleaders after scores. Have the points redeemable for Uconn merch/ free concession items- whatever it may be.

Allow 5 hours for tailgating
 
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The student/bus issue will always be an issue but here are some ways to improve it. Right now students get shipped in on a bus with no tailgate gear and some have no where to go. Perhaps Uconn can host a tailgate for those who take the bus and provide some food/drink. Booze will remain an issue but students can take care of that on their own.

The Jets started a fan experience program this year for all season ticket holders- find a similar system. You get bonus points for scanning into the stadium a half hour before kickoff. Any time the crowd noise caused an offensive penalty for the Raiders they got +100 bonus points which showed on the screen. Reward noise. Have a fan of the game lead the U C O N N chant on the big screen vs the cheerleaders after scores. Have the points redeemable for Uconn merch/ free concession items- whatever it may be.

Allow 5 hours for tailgating

Tailgating time can't be expanded pursuant to the State's deal with P&W. So could we leave that alone. Even if someone could explain to me why I need five friggin hours before a game in the parking lot to be a good and happy fan when I get to the game. Do some of you hate your homes that much?
 
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P5 programs begin tailgating at and around the stadium 48-72 hours in advance of a game. There are signs in Tuscaloosa that one may not park their RV on campus before noon - Thursday. I get it we are not Bama, but if you limit folks to a few hours before the game, force them to park in the order they arrived, then you need to understand it takes awhile to start, organize and wind down a tailgate - assuming you dont want to walk around a bit, take in the pregame stuff and hit more than 1 tailgate.

As an aside, the contractual limit will prevent the Rent from ever being part of a ESPN Gameday event, as those begin the day before the game. While not worried about that happening anytime soon, it might need to be revisited if we expand (and add 5-10K more cars) and/or ever get in to a P5.

I have no need to be at the rent the night before, but some might like it and it might lend itself to a more vibrant experience.
 
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Because deals have never been altered before as long as both sides can come to an agreement?

We complain about people being in the game for kickoff but look at most other college and NFL teams. They all start tailgating at least 5 hours prior to events. You have to account some time for setup and cleanup/takedown and that will burn close to an hour of your time depending on how much you have. Its not a make or break for me but we're looking for suggestions for improvement and maybe if people have more time to enjoy their tailgate they'll be more timely with getting in the game. Lastly- you improve overall traffic flow with people arriving over a greater period of time.

While we're at it we should also look to get a parking vendor with some competency. They are terrible. In the blue lot they cram people on top of each other. Then they make lanes that are so close that the annoying golf cart guys make everyone move all their stuff so they can drive through.
 
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If we could tailgate longer that would be great, but I think that has very little to do with getting people in on time. It's not like the lots are full 4 hours before gametime and people stay out there because 4 hours isn't enough. The people who come in late aren't getting there that early, they are getting there a couple hours early and figuring they can tailgate into the game a bit since it's not a priority.
 
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Slightly OT...but has anyone ever broached the topic of reserving a spot in blue lot at Rentschler for a specific game...or the season? I know at other schools you can...obviously comes with more of a financial commitment (combination of outright cost and/or donation). Sure would be easier when we do large group tailgates if we could say "we will be in our usual spot in row 2 of lot 7" or something like that instead of spending so much time giving directions or meeting people in the road and walking them to our spot once we are set up. I realize that the Dave/Ryan and crew have a one-off arrangement for the player parents setup, but wondering if anyone else has ever been able to broker a deal of any sort. I know my crew of regulars would be willing to spend a bit more for something like this.
 
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Because deals have never been altered before as long as both sides can come to an agreement?

We complain about people being in the game for kickoff but look at most other college and NFL teams. They all start tailgating at least 5 hours prior to events. You have to account some time for setup and cleanup/takedown and that will burn close to an hour of your time depending on how much you have. Its not a make or break for me but we're looking for suggestions for improvement and maybe if people have more time to enjoy their tailgate they'll be more timely with getting in the game. Lastly- you improve overall traffic flow with people arriving over a greater period of time.

While we're at it we should also look to get a parking vendor with some competency. They are terrible. In the blue lot they cram people on top of each other. Then they make lanes that are so close that the annoying golf cart guys make everyone move all their stuff so they can drive through.

There is no right answer to this, but I can speak to my experience. The night of the BYU game, I got into the parking lot at 5:25 due to god awful traffic for a 7:00 kickoff. We set up for 5 people, put an antipasta out, I grilled shrimp as an appetizer, we ate it, I grilled flank steak for steak sandwiches, we ate those, we had a good time, I cleaned up and we were in the stadium at 7:02 (because of a line) and just made our seats for kickoff.

Now, do some people want to drink more than me before coming in? I had 3 beers and wouldn't have had time for much more without chugging. Do some people have larger gatherings that require more time setting up and taking down? Sure. But it doesn't strike me as anywhere near even rational to believe that by having more than four hours you would increase fan interest or attendance or even people being in seats earlier.

Now, would some of you like longer tailgates? That's obvious from these threads. And that is your right. But could we stop pretending that it's more than a personal preference and is actually effecting the football program?
 
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An on campus facility would resolve many of the student issues, if not all. As far as the Rent goes it just seems to me that there is no character associated with the surrounding of the facility. Just my opinion but its a stadium positioned on an old airport runway. The stadium itself is nice, very nice but the school needs to find a way to infuse energy into the complete college game day experience.
 
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Now, would some of you like longer tailgates? That's obvious from these threads. And that is your right. But could we stop pretending that it's more than a personal preference and is actually effecting the football program?
There is no disagreement on this. Some people will want as long a tailgate as possible and will still say it is too short and stay out for a couple of more. I peg this as about 20-35% of all the people in the lots at this point. This even stranger as beer is actually sold inside the stadium. Uconn is one of about 8 venues in the country where that happens.

Fans in the stadium on time happens when it becomes a culture (and when wins happen). For me, I want to see the opposing team warming up. See if the QB has any hitch. See if the star WR's and RB"s have the right shoes on to make their cuts. FWIW, FSU tailgating is not unlimited. I have been there for games and it 5 hours (that is whe the lots open up). Now, there are plenty off off campus lots that open way before that but I think most at those are not actually going into the game.

Easiest and best idea is giving the students free tailgate food for getting on the bus to the game. Or have a band/DJ playing oustide and give them vouchers for food INSIDE the stadium at a student only concession stand. Be sure the students pick the entertainment. I like the bonus points for scanning early entry too.

Uconn can and should have assigned tailgate spots for anyone that donates over $2,000. Or allow a pool of donations of $5,000 to get 3 contiguous spots with each of the 3 getting credit/points like it was a higher donation.

One other idea, until Uconn is winning 7 to 12 games a year, schedule as many 6 to 7 pm starts as possible. Every ESPN3 game should be then. Gets the Saturday kid conflicts out of the way, gets the HS/Pop Warner teams to show up (these should be $1 tickets to help build some buzz when kids are young), gets the students out of bed and is a perfect atmosphere. Noon starts against teams like SB makes it hard to grab any of those groups.
 
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An on campus facility would resolve many of the student issues, if not all. As far as the Rent goes it just seems to me that there is no character associated with the surrounding of the facility. Just my opinion but its a stadium positioned on an old airport runway. The stadium itself is nice, very nice but the school needs to find a way to infuse energy into the complete college game day experience.

OK ... good idea ... but NOT an option for this discussion. Ain't going to happen anytime within 3o years; so, that means it's outside my lifetime. Thanks for your support of UConn football.
 

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I don't recall but do students get meal points or however that works to swipe for meals? They should be able to swipe for non alcoholic concessions at Rentschler, at least on the student side.

Bring as much of Storrs down to Rentschler as possible. Seems they are doing that with the dairy bar, but keep it up with other campus favorites.

Flat out bribe people to be in before kickoff, or the 4th quarter - 5 fans win $100 gift card if present, something... Fan points... Whatever works. Maybe won't move the needle much but worth a shot.
 

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2. Have a Helicopter drop 100 dollar bills into Rent Seating sections 5 minutes before kickoff

EDIT - I cant help but think of the WKRP episode when Les Nessman did the Turket givaway in the shopping center parking lot.
Giving away my age...
 
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Bringing more of "Storrs to Rentschler"
How about a mini Uconn Co-op on site with a Uconn hall of fame like the Patriots have? Cover all sports vs just football. I'm sure something can be worked out with the alumni center on campus to share in some of the memorabilia.

Have one vendor station allow a rotation of campus favorites come in- DP dough, wings over storrs etc

Students: i believe within the last few years they started a program for WBB that Geno gives away prizes at the end of every home game for students left in the stand. These prizes included books for a semester amongst other things. If they can do that at WBB games they should be able to offer something similar for half the amount of home games that football has. Gives the students further incentive to stay to the end.
 
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A few quick ideas...
  • More food trucks...line them up at the front of the blue lot before the game and have them behind the scoreboard during the game. And make sure the Dairy Bar is one of them. We do all of our own food for tailgating, but I think enough people would use it.
  • How about the UConn Club runs a 50/50 raffle each game like they do at Fenway? After a good tailgate, I'd buy $20 of tix each game.
  • The traffic getting into the games has to improve (I'm in blue lot). I won't bore you with possibilities, but it shouldn't be that hard.
  • More security & ticket scanners to get fans into the game faster (also true for XL).
  • Marketing and promotions has improved, but still has a long way to go imo.
 
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The student/bus issue will always be an issue but here are some ways to improve it. Right now students get shipped in on a bus with no tailgate gear and some have no where to go. Perhaps Uconn can host a tailgate for those who take the bus and provide some food/drink. Booze will remain an issue but students can take care of that on their own.

The Jets started a fan experience program this year for all season ticket holders- find a similar system. You get bonus points for scanning into the stadium a half hour before kickoff. Any time the crowd noise caused an offensive penalty for the Raiders they got +100 bonus points which showed on the screen. Reward noise. Have a fan of the game lead the U C O N N chant on the big screen vs the cheerleaders after scores. Have the points redeemable for Uconn merch/ free concession items- whatever it may be.

Allow 5 hours for tailgating
This is such a (fairly) cheap, easy, no brainer it is a wonder how they haven't figured out a way to have an area where students can get dogs/burgers/pizza whatever. Is it because they'd be sacrificing paid tailgate space to do it?
 
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businesslawyer said:
Tailgating time can't be expanded pursuant to the State's deal with P&W. So could we leave that alone. Even if someone could explain to me why I need five friggin hours before a game in the parking lot to be a good and happy fan when I get to the game. Do some of you hate your homes that much?

Come on now. Deals were made to be renegotiated...

That's what you tell your client?
 

SonsOfNutmeg

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Why isn't there a perminate UConn Co-Op (sort of "express" location) at The Rent? Not just the tables on the concourse "Husky Mania Shop" or whatever they call it, but imagine having something there that's open Thursday - Saturdays all Football season long. Especially with the new UConn campus moving into Downtown Hartford, a more actual UConn presence at Rentschler is needed IMO. I'm actually suprised this isn't something WM or Susan haven't worked on so far.
 
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In an ideal world, the obvious investment is for a UCONN to acquire ownership of the property.

As for game day, there really is no substitute for winning. I think there should be some kind of external ring, monument park around Rentschler with monuments to the industrial and military history of CT dispersed along walkways with vendors, restaurants, bars, and a permanent dairy bar stand, performance stage area, encircling the stadium. Have bands play small stage stuff. Make every person that enters the stadium have to walk through on a husky paved path, at least part of that outer ring with entertainment and military monuments. CT is littered with old cannons, tanks, helicopters that sit obscurely everywhere. Gather them up, and park them all around t he stadium. Make a winding walkway through, and intersperse entertainment venues. Put a Chili's or Texas Roadhouse or something in as an anchor to be open year round. The irony in your post is that two or three years ago now, lunatic huskydan, had t he same concepts you are asking and posting spewing out.

The very first thing we can do is put some statues up at each of the four gates. A jonathan, Jasper ' s statue, two others. You go to any other venue anywhere, and the monuments and statues greet you as you go in. Rentschler is like walking into prison gates. Sterile.
 
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The Jets started a fan experience program this year for all season ticket holders- find a similar system. You get bonus points for scanning into the stadium a half hour before kickoff. Any time the crowd noise caused an offensive penalty for the Raiders they got +100 bonus points which showed on the screen. Reward noise. Have a fan of the game lead the U C O N N chant on the big screen vs the cheerleaders after scores. Have the points redeemable for Uconn merch/ free concession items- whatever it may be.

This is actually a great idea, if implemented properly. You could even tie rewards points to staying until the end of the game. Have "scanning stations" that people could use on their way out like the parking validation stations in a movie theater.
 
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Why isn't there a perminate UConn Co-Op (sort of "express" location) at The Rent? Not just the tables on the concourse "Husky Mania Shop" or whatever they call it, but imagine having something there that's open Thursday - Saturdays all Football season long. Especially with the new UConn campus moving into Downtown Hartford, a more actual UConn presence at Rentschler is needed IMO. I'm actually suprised this isn't something WM or Susan haven't worked on so far.

This would go outside in that external ring, as a permanent vendor to go with a year round restaurant, in my vision.
 

SonsOfNutmeg

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In an ideal world, the obvious investment is for a UCONN to acquire ownership of the property.

As for game day, there really is no substitute for winning. I think there should be some kind of external ring, monument park around Rentschler with monuments to the industrial and military history of CT dispersed along walkways with vendors, restaurants, bars, and a permanent dairy bar stand, performance stage area, encircling the stadium. Have bands play small stage stuff. Make every person that enters the stadium have to walk through on a husky paved path, at least part of that outer ring with entertainment and military monuments. CT is littered with old cannons, tanks, helicopters that sit obscurely everywhere. Gather them up, and park them all around t he stadium. Make a winding walkway through, and intersperse entertainment venues. Put a Chili's or Texas Roadhouse or something in as an anchor to be open year round. The irony in your post is that two or three years ago now, lunatic huskydan, had t he same concepts you are asking and posting spewing out.

The very first thing we can do is put some statues up at each of the four gates. A jonathan, Jasper ' s statue, two others. You go to any other venue anywhere, and the monuments and statues greet you as you go in. Rentschler is like walking into prison gates. Sterile.
So so agree w/ you... Doing a memorial or something signafying our state's great investment in the history of our armed services, especially on the same grounds that help fuel many of those advancements would be awesome. My grandfather was a test pilot at P/W back in the 60's and I think about him everytime I walk on the grounds of The Rent.

Getting another "anchor" besides Cabellas on the grounds would be huge too. Make it a true "destination" year-round in our state. These types of things will help to build our program, fan-base, and many people think about UConn Football as "big time".
 

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Did I miss something or are they not building those outlets/shops on the property?? If they still are building them that brings something more to the area...It's not enhancing the UConn Gameday environment but it provides things for visiting fans, etc...
 
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I had the idea a while back to make part of such a walkway up to, around t he stadium a short tunnel or at least an arch that would a section of the hull of a submarine. With Sikorsky in state, a helicopter mounted in air somewhere, get a huge prop screw from a sub. Simply go town by town in CT and see who will donate the artillery they have sitting around dating back through two centuries of war. Put that all around t he stadium, and then intertwine the husky coop vendor, any other year round store you can get, a year round restaurant like a Chili's I mentioned, have a small outdoor stage for performances, t put a uconn celebrity on stage signing autographs for each game if not a band, the dairy bar, year round, have room for temporary street style vendors to rent on game day. Close all of t hat in, with four external gates, and a walkway winding through to t he four internal gates. Have some meaningful statues for t he internal gates. That's my vision once again. Enjoy
 
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