Penn State football makes history

Chris Koleno
August 31, 2015

For the first time in the history of Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions will host five consecutive football games. The last time the University’s football team enjoyed home-field advantage for five straight games was in 1922 at Beaver Field -- Beaver Stadium’s much smaller predecessor.

This scheduling rarity, which covers each Saturday from mid-September through mid-October, will present challenges to those charged with staffing services and departments including parking, police, restaurants and hotels, but it also will bring a positive economic impact to the area and offer a unique luxury for the players and coaches who won’t have to contend with the pitfalls of traveling to an opponent’s home turf during that time.

“I think the biggest positive (of five consecutive home games) is from the student-athlete stand point," said Mark Bodenschatz, associate athletic director for facilities and event operations management. “To not have to travel and to have a home stand of five games in the beginning of the season, is the biggest advantage, by far.”

In addition to a total of seven home games this season, the away games – Temple, Ohio State, Maryland, Northwestern and Michigan State -- will be played not far from Happy Valley.

While home games are a real benefit for the football team, consecutive home games present challenges for those working in and around the stadium.

“Five home games in five weeks is pretty relentless. There’s very little time to turnover, to learn from the mistakes of the last game and to bring changes into the mix,” said Bodenschatz, who oversees ushers, gate keepers and parkers.

The good news is hosting crowds that turn the area into the third largest city in Pennsylvania is par for the course at Penn State.

“We’re prepared,” said Tyrone Parham, interim assistant vice president for police and public safety. “It’s a lot of mental preparation and and planning, but nothing that hasn’t been done before. Our biggest challenge is coordinating the many police departments involved in staffing the games. Fortunately for us, start times for three of the first five home games already have been determined.”

Police

Police officers are stationed in and around Beaver Stadium during Penn State football games. In addition to the University's police officers many different area agencies -- Pennsylvania State Police, Spring Township, Bellefonte Borough, Patton Township, Ferguson Township, State College Police and other Penn State campuses -- are used to staff the games.

IMAGE: Penn State

In addition to Penn State police officers, many different area agencies -- Pennsylvania State Police and police from Spring Township, Bellefonte, Patton Township, Ferguson Township, State College and other Penn State campuses -- help staff the games.

Increased staffing at hotels, restaurants and other businesses also will be a necessity as the impact of these home games extends well beyond Penn State and State College, into neighboring counties and throughout the state.

“Having five home football games back-to-back is sure to have a positive impact on our local economy because it means our lodging properties will be at capacity, and that means their guests will be eating in our restaurants, shopping, and more,” said Betsey Howell, executive director for the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And it’s not just Centre County that benefits. Penn State home football games also have an impact in the surrounding counties as well because when our lodging properties are full, we refer visitors to our member properties in the contiguous counties. One could perhaps argue that the trickle-down spreads across the state.”

Fans in attendance at the home games will enjoy a variety of experiences, including a Military Appreciation Game against Army on Oct. 3.

“We have been very encouraged with the ‘Seats for Servicemembers,’” said Jeff Nelson, associate director of communications for Intercollegiate Athletics. “Our fans have bought over 6,000 tickets for our service members.”

Additional 2015 game themes include:

-- Sept. 12, Buffalo: Community Heroes Day; 1959 Liberty Bowl Team Reunion; Youth Football, Cheer and Dance. Penn State will celebrate Community Heroes Day at the home opener. All community heroes (police, fire, emergency medical technicians) are eligible for a special ticket package, which includes a pre-game tailgate at Medlar Field with food and beverage available for purchase.

-- Sept. 19, Rutgers: Stripe Out; Medical Employees Appreciation Night; Penn State Parents Family Reunion. “Stripe Out” Beaver Stadium for the first time in program history.

-- Sept. 26, San Diego State: Unrivaled Band Jam: High school bands are invited to participate in the pre-game performance with the Penn State Blue Band.

-- Oct. 10, Indiana: Homecoming; Varsity ‘S’ Day; Celebrate Agriculture. This weekend features the Alumni Blue Band joining the Blue Band, 2015-16 king and queen, and a Homecoming Parade on Friday night.

-- Oct. 31, Illinois: All-U Day; THON Game, Faculty and Staff Day and Scouts Day.

-- Nov. 21, Michigan: Senior Day; Penn State White Out.

Fans attending the games are encouraged to purchase parking passes early to save money and expedite parking. Fans may buy "Seats for Servicemembers" tickets to donate to military personnel and their families. Parking passes and any tickets, including tickets for service members,  may be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY.

  • Hackenberg vs Purdue

    Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg awaited a snap during a game at Beaver Stadium against Purdue.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
  • UMass-02014-1009

    Penn State fans enjoyed the bright sunshine, warm temperature during a game at Beaver Stadium.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
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Last Updated August 31, 2015