It’s been a while since MSU announced expansion and renovations for Davis Wade Stadium and construction is well underway. While the SEC is in an all-out arms race, MSU decided to only add 6,255 seats upping the total to 61,337. The main goal is adding premium seating opportunities, elevators, restrooms, and concessions as well as creating a new west-side concourse. Many of the improvements of the existing structure were a wise way of using the $75 million as opposed to just chasing a seating number and building as big as you can.
I really like the vision of the current athletic administration. Scott Stricklin just gets it. One of the most important parts in business, which also relates to college athletics, is knowing your lane, not reaching at too much too fast, and executing your plan to the fullest. I’m sure MSU could have gone with an expansion only mindset and built a 70k+ seat stadium but that would have been shooting for the wrong goal.
When you look at the big boys in the SEC (Bama, LSU, UGA, and Florida), they all have the huge stadiums and even our most ambitious expansion plan would not been able to match their size. I think to fully understand what we need, you have to put yourself in the shoes of an opposing fan. If a Bama fan travels to Starkville, they aren’t going to be blown away by the size of the stadium. Why not wow them with the aesthetics and grounds? Stricklin understands that while we may not need a huge stadium right now, there is no reason we cannot have the best 61k seat stadium in America.
We constantly see how our athletic department is doing everything they can do differentiate themselves from the pack and the stadium is no different. I absolutely love the plans and the direction we are headed. The attention to detail such as the bricks, the premium bunker section, and the premium loge seating in the north end zone are clears signs of embracing what we are and differentiating. The stadium we are building is truly a thing of beauty and MSU fans should be as pumped as I am about its completion. Going bigger in the future is the easy part. Demand will drive that.
I’ll leave you with an analogy that simulates my theory that we need to approach this as if we are an opposing fan. If you go to a trip to a different city you have a couple nights where you want to go out to eat. You can always go somewhere generic like Applebees and order a big 14oz steak. Its big enough, it resembles the steaks at the high end places, but it just doesn’t have the taste and you leave that restaurant semi-satisfied at best. Contrast that with going to a quaint little Italian place you were told about. You go in and immediately fall in the love with the atmosphere. You receive great, friendly service and you eat the best authentic chicken scarpariello and baked manicotti you’ve ever had. While it may not be the biggest or most high end place you’ve been, you leave wowed and never forget your experience there. There is no reason Davis Wade Stadium can’t achieve that same effect on everyone that visits.