Spent some of my vacation in Orlando this past holiday visiting the Citrus Bowl on two separate occasions. Considering the fact that the Citrus Bowl was recently renovated, I was greatly anticipating the visit. The first view of the new venue was on December 29, 2014 for the Russell Athletic Bowl (RAB) between Clemson and Oklahoma. The second visit was on January 1, 2015 to watch the Minnesota Gophers compete against the Missouri Tigers at the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.
Here are some of my thoughts and insights on those experiences.
First, I wondered why there were no prices on the RAB tickets outside the stadium? A friend and I wanted to find some inexpensive seats knowing the supply exceeded the demand although it was hard to determine what prices quoted to us by ticket scalpers were good and which ones were of much less value. Should you trust the scalper on a bicycle or ticket broker or is this information available elsewhere?
Once the game got going, the Citrus Bowl producers showed a brief video of the complete redo of the Citrus Bowl. Word has it that it was recently completed in the fall of 2014 in anticipation of the bowl games right around the corner. Getting to the stadium earlier, we walked around the Citrus Bowl enjoying the new construction and half-heartedly looking for a restroom. After several unsuccessful attempts of finding a bathroom outside the stadium, I had two choices. I could pay $10-15 to attend some fan event south of the stadium and use their facility or enter the Citrus Bowl early. Is that any way to treat guests? One would think guests of the Sunshine State would be treated better. In my mind, if Florida, and Orlando in particular specialize in tourism and hospitality, would not outdoor restroom facilities be part of that? I like nothing more outside a stadium than sun and palm trees, except a few public restrooms.
Staying on the restroom theme for a moment, is the absence of restrooms intentional or was it forgotten by the project manager? One more thing, check out Lambeau Field for a great example regardless of sun, wind, rain or snow. The stadium off Lombardi Avenue have several restrooms on opposite sides of the stadium that can be used before spectators officially enter the stadium. I realize there’s much more beer consumption outside of Lambeau although restroom facilities should be part of fan experience outside all stadiums, including the Citrus Bowl.
Good and bad news about using the Twitter feeds on the scoreboard during TV during TV timeouts. It’s nice to get an idea of what people are thinking during the Russell Athletic Bowl (RAB) although you do find a repeat of posts during several parts of the game. If using AT&T as your carrier inside the stadium, tweeting your picture and comments to #RAB was not successful for either game. Not sure if the photo size inhibits the upload or their service was inferior. Needless to say, this PR campaign is highly regulated. Don’t expect anything close to controversial or anything snarky to be published, much like commercial TV.
In lieu of this new stadium, I was quite surprised not to see any scores of the other collegiate games on January 1, 2015. Do they not have an available scoreboard to include other games associated with the current event being hosted? In other words, keep fans abreast on other bowl games at the end of December or on the first day of January? I think they made one announcement of the Wisconsin/Auburn game played at the same time in Tampa but that may have been the only score I heard on New Year’s. I know the Citrus Bowl will host some major soccer games later this year, will they provide that additional service and include scores of other soccer games that may be of interest to the soccer spectators?
Some may say I’m a dreamer, regardless, I’m wondering why weather information can’t be part of outdoor stadiums. I know with smart devices, the weather information can be secured while inside the facility, however, not all attendees have smart devices, or others may have service challenges. It would be useful to have the temperature, wind direction, forecast and possible barometric pressure. Perhaps if you’re playing a bowl game inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome in NOLA, this would not apply but having it for outdoor stadiums may be useful.
>One more thing about signage inside the stadium, why not add a clock to gauge the official time? Just curious when the game starts, halftime ends, and when the game ends. Is there a reason why no clock is used inside the newly renovated Citrus Bowl?
(Continued Next Week)