The best part of Colorado State’s new on-campus stadium is inclusive

A view from the concourse on the south end of the stadium. Taken 3/20/17. Credit: Rich Kurtzman.

Forget the New Belgium Porch and the Orthopedic Center of the Rockies Field Club, the best place to take in a football game that Colorado State’s new on-campus stadium isn’t exclusive, it’s inclusive.

OK, maybe don’t forget about the Porch — which will be pouring delicious microbrews just outside the north end zone — and the Field Club, which brings fans closer to the football team than ever before. That access, Joe Parker told us during the media tour on Monday, will be a first for collegiate athletics as it was modeled after AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Plus, the school did well to reach out and connect with big-time, local businesses for sponsorships.

The one downside to those areas is that an extra donation — $200-400 — required on top of season ticket prices. While some will easily be able to fork out the cash, others simply won’t and, therefore, won’t be able to enjoy that particular experience.

The good news is this: First and foremost, there’s not a bad seat in the house at Sonny Lubick Field at the on-campus stadium. But, even better than that is the concourse’s design.

After hiking the stairs from Mike Bobo‘s office terrace to the concourse, it was a night-and-day difference from the one at Hughes Stadium. The on-campus stadium’s concourse is open, airy, and it offers views to the field nearly 360 degrees around the action. Under the west concourse at Hughes, it was like being in a bomb shelter, shrouded from the game if you left your seat.

When asked the new stadium’s seating capacity, Parker explained to a local camera man it’s around 36,000, with 5,000 standing room only “seats” around the concourse. I was skeptical, until we got to that concourse, which more closely resembles Coors Field and the experience there, than a football stadium. And it was intentionally designed that way.

Growing up in a working class family in Denver, going to games was a treat which almost always included a nosebleed seat. We were proud of our seats — literally at the top row of Mile High Stadium or Coors Field — but, sometimes pined for more.

That’s where Coors changed the game. Sitting in the nosebleeds? Walk down to the first level and watch the game from behind home plate on the concourse. Or from left field, or center, or anywhere you choose. That same freedom will be able to be applied at the on-campus stadium starting Aug. 26.

A view from the concourse to the field. Taken 3/20/17. Credit: Rich Kurtzman.

It means fans, in theory, can literally travel down the field with the team, if they so choose.

Need to run to the restroom? You’ll be able to keep an eye on the action while you walk along the concourse. Which, is spacious, allowing room for long lines to form at concession stands — ones that look much more modern than the old ones at Hughes — which will offer more food choices than before in Ram fans.

Another advantage to the concourse: It’s sheltered if rain happens to pour down and fans want to seek refuge while continuing to watch the battle on the gridiron.

As Bobo spoke from the terrace outside his office on Monday, he explained everything about the stadium will be “first-class” and that includes the concourse and its brilliant views, which may be overlooked. Parker added the intent of the open concourse was to help everyone connect to the action on the field. With it’s proximity to the gridiron, it will do just that.

The attention to detail, to giving fans the best experience possible, is evident when walking around the new stadium’s concourse, and it’s not even complete yet. That same level of detail is clear throughout the on-campus stadium, as Colorado State didn’t just set out to build something, but to build something great.

For Ram fans, game days will be grand, wonderful.

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