South Carolina’s football gameday experience is getting an upgrade.
Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner told the USC Board of Trustees at a regularly scheduled meeting Friday that the school is forming a focus group and hiring an outside consultant as part of a review
“Call me biased, but I think we have a really good gameday experience and I think that’s where we start, that we have a really good gameday experience but we are going to enhance it,” Tanner said.
The changes – which could include a live disc jockey in the stadium, more fireworks and more school-produced hype videos – are planned for the upcoming football season. Tanner has heard from some of his team’s fans about the types of gameday enhancements they like at other stadiums, he said.
“I pay attention to what’s being said out there,” he said. “We said, ‘This is an opportunity where we can sit down, take a look at what we do and maybe enhance that or bring something new in.’ ”
School officials have yet to hire officially an outside consultant but have talked with a group that has experience with NFL and NBA games and expects to hire that group, Tanner said. Part of the impetus for the changes is the growing nationwide trend of fans choosing to watch athletic events from home rather than in person. The Gamecocks were eighth in the SEC and 17th in the nation in football attendance last year, and Williams-Brice Stadium was at 95 percent capacity for the season.
“We are all challenged by what is going on around the country with technology and television,” Tanner said. “We want the experience to be different in the stadium to get people to come to the games.”
In other updates:
▪ Plans were announced for $2 million worth of updates and renovations to the 100 level of Williams-Brice Stadium, Suite 207 in the stadium and two quadrants of Gamecock Park. The upgrades to Suite 207 will allow the school to use it as a space to host gameday functions.
▪ The school will have a dedicated “recruiting room” at the new 1801 Grille adjacent to 650 Lincoln.
▪ Tanner told the board that the school had a 20th straight semester in which its athletes achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
▪ Tanner told the board that Justin King, the newly hired associate athletic director for new and creative content, will hire two full-time staff members.