MTSU season opener to feature beer

Sep 06, 2018 at 09:00 am by Voice Wire

As Saturday's season-opening football matchup with UT Martin nears, Middle Tennessee is making fans aware of some changes in store for this season to better enhance the game-day experience at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium.

You will not want to miss any of the action, so make plans now to have an incredible college football experience.

From a new alcohol policy to some stadium upgrades, Saturday's game and all five of the Blue Raiders' home matchups will surely be packed with excitement and fun on the field and inside and outside the stadium.

Here are some enhancements in store for fans and things to keep in mind:

Beer sales

For the first time ever, Middle Tennessee will offer alcohol at sporting events this year, and the football home opener will kick it off.

When fans 21 and older enter any of Floyd Stadium's gates, they'll have the option to go to a large tent area, where wristband stations will be located. Any state or federal identification can be swiped at the station on a high-tech scanner, and after age verification, a wristband will be given to those fans who want to purchase or consume an alcoholic beverage.

Keep in mind, you have to have a wristband on if consuming alcohol. Any consumption by a person not wearing a wristband, whether of age or not, will not be tolerated. In addition, there will be no beer sales after the third quarter and patrons will be limited to purchase two drinks per visit and three overall.

"We feel the sale of alcohol will add to our game experience for many of our fans," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "However, we wanted to put systems in place to ensure everyone has a great experience when they attend our events and to provide a proper environment for everyone."

Alcohol sales for the football home opener will include beer sales of Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and two local brews from Steel Barrel Brewery. A spiked seltzer will also be available.

Wine will be available later in the season, hopefully starting with the second home game.

Allowing alcohol sales is something that's been in the works for quite some time. It is allowed thanks to the passage of House Bill 2275/SB 2111, which passed into law on May 23.

"To see this come to fruition has been really exciting," Massaro said. "There's been a lot of hard work, manpower and hours to make this happen, and support from our local officials.

"It's very exciting for us."

Lyft partnership

In connection with the allowance of alcohol sales, MTSU has also entered into a partnership with Lyft to help keep patrons safe once they leave Floyd Stadium.

Fans can use the text code BLUERAIDERS98 for $10 off every Lyft ride leaving Floyd Stadium. Designated drop-off and pick-up locations will be located near Gate 3.

"This is part of our drink responsibly and safe driving program as a part of rolling out the sale of alcohol," Massaro said. "We want to make sure all of our fans have a great time here at Floyd Stadium, but also that our roads are safe when they leave."

Middle Tennessee Blvd. and other construction

Fans will notice some construction around campus on game day, so plan to add a few minutes to the commute to and from the stadium.

Middle Tennessee Boulevard is still under construction along the west side of campus, and while the project has shown progress, there is still work to be done. It's scheduled for a December completion.

"The project has come a long way from where it started a couple of years ago," Associate AD Kortne Gosha said, "however, they are a little behind schedule. You can still get through campus, but things may take a few minutes longer."

The Middle Tennessee Boulevard construction has caused the entrance to Faulkinberry Drive on Floyd Stadium's south side to be constricted.

Faulkinberry Drive has also been impacted by construction by Reese Smith Jr. Field, just off Champions Way. Work on one of the university's main steam line arteries has caused traffic shifts on Faulkinberry Drive, but Gosha said access from Champions Way shouldn't be affected on Saturday.

"All of our donors and fans that access the stadium down Champions Way and Faulkinberry will still have access there," Gosha added.

Where can you park and tailgate?

Parking and tailgating will be the same this year as the 2017 season.

The Greenland Drive parking lot will be available for $10 for non-BRAA members and free for BRAA members, and the tailgating area will also be located there on the green space between the lot and tennis courts. It's open to the public.

Fans will notice bolder parking lot lines, and lighting work at the Greenland Drive lot will be completed in the coming weeks.

Stadium upgrades

Once fans get into Floyd Stadium, they'll notice a few new upgrades to the facilities, including phone charging stations and a new seat numbering system that will be easier to navigate.

The lights will also be brighter at the stadium and will enhance fan experience thanks to a state-of-the-art lighting system installed this summer by Musco Lighting.

The new lights will help the university with energy savings and will cut the light fixtures around the stadium from 350 to 118 while providing better lighting levels.

"We had a unique opportunity with this lighting system to cut our energy use," Gosha said. "We'll be able to grow our energy savings by 60 percent from what our old system did. It's amazing the difference in technology we'll have … you'll really be able to tell a difference in the stadium and on TV."

Not only will the lights help fans see the action better, but they'll also add to the experience with unique features, including theatrical animations and the ability to turn on and off instantly.

"We feel the experience that brings will set us apart from our peers," Gosha said. "We're one of a select few intercollegiate programs that has a system like this."

What you're allowed to bring into Floyd Stadium

Some aspects of Gameday in Murfreesboro are changing, but what you're allowed to take into the stadium remains the same.

All bags 14-by-14-by-10 inches and smaller will be allowed, and every bag will be checked before patrons are allowed to enter.

Here is a list of items NOT PERMITTED in Floyd Stadium:

Outside food and beverages
Video cameras
Laser pointers
Artificial noisemakers
Shoe bags
Weapons or any other items deemed dangerous or inappropriate by security or game management

Patrons found in possession of any restricted items may be subject to expulsion from the facility and the restricted items confiscated.

Sections: Sports