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What do people think about the new stadium?

Original post made by Stanford Fan, Professorville, on Sep 18, 2006

OK...forget the horrible football game. What is everyone's reaction to the new Stanford stadium? It was kind of a shock when we first entered, sort of like returning to the house you grew up in and find that it had been torn down and a new house had taken its place.
But it grew on our family and I think it's going to be a great venue. I love the concourse between levels...nice and open and you are able to watch the game while getting food or talking with friends.

Comments (26)

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 18, 2006 at 10:28 am

I am not a fan of American football, but I do like world class soccer (fifa football) and think it is a shame that the stadium is now too small for international soccer. I really enjoyed going to the world cup, both men and women's, and it is a shame that we can't do this locally now. It seems that this is another situation where America feels that ties to the rest of the world through the world's most favourite sport is ignored and not important.

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Posted by Peggy Dawson
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2006 at 10:53 am

There are many great features but the seats should have been staggered for better viewing and a couple more inches of leg room would be desirable. An elevator to the upper concourse would help a lot.
Also, the food is the pits - we tried food from both the upper very limited selection and from the broader selection below, and the lack of selection at the upper concourse is very discriminatory.

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Posted by Victor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 18, 2006 at 10:57 am

The stadium is capable of holding soccer matches and even world cup ones. Remember, the minimum size for a FIFA stadium is like 39k or something and Stanford Stadium fits 50k. I'm sure they left some room for expansion too and it's not out of the question to do so when the WC might come around next...perhaps in 2018, or even in 2010 if South Africa loses the right to host. Although perhaps then, the new 49ers stadium might be more appealing.

I havent been to the stadium yet, but I intend to go there for the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce event next week.

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Posted by Charles
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 18, 2006 at 10:58 am

Regarding Carol's comment...

Let's see, since Chinese is the most common language spoken in the world, perhaps Stanford can teach all its classes in Chinese instead of English. Indeed, this is another situation where America feels that its ties to the rest of the world are ignored and not important.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2006 at 11:18 am

I had heard that the stadium was intentionally built too narrow for soccer because the major donor didn't want the stadium used for anything but football. I hope Victor is correct, but would love some official confirmation of this. It would be a tremendous venue for soccer. Victor, are you sure? It didn't look like there was a lot of extra space between the football sidelines and the stadium walls.

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 18, 2006 at 11:43 am

Victor, I am not sure about the capacity, it is the field size, or rather the amount of space at the side that causes the problem.

Charles, I didn't mean to offend, but we are talking about sport here. There are many good and varied ways in which this country leads the world and rightly so. However, in sport, there is an exclutionary tendency which makes American sport unable to identify with other world sports. For example, how can the world series in baseball be called such when only teams from the US take place? At Stanford there are, I believe, soccer, rugby and cricket teams. All three sports are very popular in other countries. It would be a step forward for international relations if Stanford could host world standard events in these sports in their signature stadium.

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Posted by Oh, give me a break
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2006 at 11:57 am

Carol is correct that the stadium is too small to be used as a soccer venue, but I do not think that this is a very fair complaint.

International play requires a minimum field width of 64 meters. American football is played on a field that is about 48 meters wide. Accomodating soccer requires that you make the field more than an extra 50 feet wider. The whole POINT of the remodel was to bring the stadium seats closer in to the action in a more intimate smaller setting that didn't make fans feel like they were sitting in an empty cavern. EVERY seat in the new stadium is more than 60 feet closer to the action than the old stadium, with upper seats being well more than that.

Trust me, Stanford expects a return on investment for its $90 million dollars. The new stadium has more than 30,000 season ticket holders versus only 13,000 at the old stadium. It does nothing for their recruiting to bring potential recruits to a silent hole in the ground. Give them a few years and some luck, and they may be able to return the team to a winning tradition.

Stanford plays what, 6 home games/year? The World Cup is held every 4 years, and comes to the US, what every 10-15th time (if we're lucky). The team could play literally scores of times for every World Cup opportunity. If Carol is ready to make a donation or increase her property taxes to fund a bond measure, I'm sure that Stanford would be more than happy to provide a national venue for soccer here in the US, but I believe it's a little unreasonable to berate Stanford for trying to provide a venue for football that alumni and local families can enjoy every year.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 18, 2006 at 12:10 pm

There may be 25 feet of additional space on both sides of the field. To me, its desirability isn't just for World Cup. We lost the Earthquakes due to the lack of a good stadium. Stanford would be a great venue for a Bay Area soccer franchise. Just close off the upper deck and you've got a great 20,000 person stadium. They could also host College Cup games there, exhibitions, etc.
It seems an incredible waste to spend all that money for five or six football games each year. Why not look for ways to use it for other events?

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Posted by Victor
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 18, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Oh ok. I didnt know of the field dimensions of the new stadium. I thought it was a bit least the sidelines and whatnot. Wow. that is unfortunate then.

As for Oh's's still worth it. You can charge much more for a World Cup event or a high profile game...especially qualifiers featuring the US National team...or even Mexico. I think those events have the potential to sell out for sure. You have to fill up the stadium in the off-season, don't you? It's a bit pointless to have an expensive building like that lie fallow for a few months. What's wrong with having soccer or something else there? I see it as a mistake, and clearly others do as well.

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Posted by Periwinke
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2006 at 12:20 pm

It reminds me of the Stanford Mall - - upscale, no more funk, and generally full of itself. It's now a more 'exclusive' venue. I'm surprised that they weren't serving crepes for dinner. (maybe that's coming).

It's more expensive to attend, which is another tragedy, because many who used to go to the ganes with an entire family can no nlonger afford to do so.

Stanford, in general, has done a great job of taking the 'soul' off its campus, or hiding it. Call me nostalgic, but I miss the Pow-Wow and June Auto Concourse fronting El Camino. Those two events were a great way to showcase events that happened both in Palo Alto and the Stanford Campus. Now they're buried in "Nowheresville" off the main drag through town. There's a certain kind of "preciousness" that has infected Stanford over the last few decades.

Last, I certainly hope that the stadium was built to include soccer. If what one of the above posts said is true - that soccer can't be player there due to structural constraints - it's a real tragedy - both from a sporting perspective, as well as an economic one.

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Posted by ogmab
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Need I remind that Stanford is a private university. I don't think that they have any interest whatsoever in playing host to any private franchise team, be it soccer, football, or any other sporting team (excepting prestige events such as the Olympics, World Cup, Superbowl, or after a major earthquake).

Given that practically speaking, soccer needs sidelines of its own, I don't imagine that you'll ever see an international soccer event there. College games are a possibility, but I think they will still need about 70 yards of grass are on the width.

One way to look at it is "only" 6 games/year. Another way is $100's of millions of general university donations due to continued alumni involvement and contact. It's just a matter of perspective.

Rest assured that when Soccer generates the kind of alumni enthusiasm that football does, Stanford will lead the way in building a world class soccer venue.

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Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2006 at 1:12 pm

"Rest assured that when Soccer generates the kind of alumni enthusiasm that football does, Stanford will lead the way in building a world class soccer venue"
You call that "leading the way" - *waiting* until soccer becomes a sure thing, instead of providing a venue to promote it now? That may be Stanford's idea of leadership, but not most leaders I know.

There's lots of leadership in the academic ranks, but very little in the administrative ranks, where bad decisions like this are made.

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Posted by ogmab
a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Hey, as I said, it's all relative. IMHO, you can only compare what Stanford is doing relative to other institutions of higher learning. I fail to understand why one would think that it Stanford's responsibility to promote International Soccer.

I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that Stanford's new stadium will accomodate collegiate games and perhaps even exhibition international games. I don't get why there is sufficient angst to describe anything done here as being a "bad decision".

Fwiw, I'm with you on the Stanford Mall. Given that they are operating a shopping center which caters to the public and falls under local zoning restrictions, they have a greater responsibility to consider the broader local community in their store selection, and in this they are failing very badly. Being a "mere" multi-millionaire is insufficient to feel invited to shop at a majority of the stores replacing others in this mall. For shame.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Duveneck School
on Sep 18, 2006 at 4:39 pm

Whoa - I thought this was for comments on the new stadium. It's great in all respects.

In this country if it was for soccer it would be called a soccer stadium. Economics 101 - when there is enough demand, Stanford will build/supply a soccer stadium.

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Posted by tim
a resident of Monroe Park
on Sep 19, 2006 at 8:19 am

Japan and Korea built up several new soccer stadiums for the WC. Most of these stadiums are now rotting and very expensive to maintain. They do look pretty cool however.

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Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 19, 2006 at 8:58 am

I attended the game on Saturday and here are my thoughts:

Things I liked:
1) All the seats had back support
2) You are closer to the field which brings you closer to the action
3) Tons more bathrooms and concession stands
4) Everything is new, clean and very professional - no more dust!
5) The hope that a new state-of-the-art facility will attract better recruiting classes which is required if Stanford is to improve.

Things I didn't like:
1) Minimal leg room - went with my dad who is a Stanford alum and played football (read multiple knee operations) for Stanford in the 50's - thankfully we had seats on the aisle or he would have been in pain watching the game
2) The lack of uniqueness - the stadium was new and impressive but generic - like other stadiums in the country - I found myself wistfully remembering the old stadium though inadequate in many ways had its own personality and presence.
3) Only a partial view of the Stanford sideline - our seats were on the 50 in the upper deck (row O) and we could only see part of the sidelines which is disappointing as I like to keep track of what is going on and off the field as well.
4) The low attendance - even with 30,000 fewer seats there was not a full house.
5) And of course, the game - it was even more painful to watch than losses in the past because my expectations had be artifically raised by the new stadium.

With all that said I do think the new stadium was a good move on Stanford's part. The old lady was in need of an extreme make-over and I hope that over the next few years we will have new traditions, new memories and winning seasons which will help define her new personality.

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Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 19, 2006 at 12:30 pm

tim, where did you hear that soccer standiums in Japan and Korea are rotting? We all know that soccer stadiums have maintainance costs, but my understanding is that soccer is very popular in Japan and Korea, and growing in popularity in both places.

What you say seems contradicted from what I've seen, and have heard from others.

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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2006 at 8:37 pm

As I read this thread, I find myself chuckling. Soccer is a major international sport. But it is not very important in this country. Professional soccer, other than World Cup, is zilch here. So why demand that Stanford have a soccer stadium? They already have a soccer field, with stands that are rarely filled. Baseball is bigger at Stanford, compared to soccer (much bigger).

You soccer people need to overcome the resistance to soccer in this country. Soccer is VERY boring to the American mind. It is a defensive game, and Americans like offense. I like its cardiovascular aspect, but I fall asleep watching the actual games. Where is the action? Basketball is SO MUCH more exciting!

There are MANY injuries to soccer players. If we are, as a society, going to accept such casualties, there MUST be a dividend. What is it?

Until some excitement is generated, why should Stanford spend any more money on this sport?

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Posted by Jeanie
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2006 at 12:46 am

To the person that said: it's a private university... they can do what they want with their football stadium. That's fine but Stanford is part of the greater Palo Alto community and this community supports Stanford. Sheesh! Next thing you know, they'll be locking us out of the Dish trails!

And another thought: I believe PacBell/ATT/Whatever Phone Co Park was built with private money for the express use of the Giants, but the owners rent the venue for a myriad of events like concerts, other spectator sports, even religious revivals. I sure hope the new stadium doesn't limit itself to football only.

PS: bring back the band for gosh sakes!

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Posted by JC
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2006 at 1:10 pm

As a family member of a player, I was thrilled to be at the game. Although I too have had several knee surgeries, I found the seats to be comfortable and the view was next to none (granted, I sat in the player guests section).
The thing I like the most is how close the seats were. We took a walk up to the top level, and the view was still incredible. And you can't beat the fact that you can see the players faces, yell to them, and (even though they won't acknowledge it) they can hear you. Unfortunately, I do think it's a shame that the tickets are so so so expensive... but then again, at least we can get tickets (unlike Notre Dame- not even their students are guaranteed tickets!) I didn't try the food, but the number of bathrooms compared to the old stadium is nice. I liked the concourse a lot as well.\
I think the other important point is that the student athletes loved it. They noted after the game that they loved the noise, of being able to see their friends and family from the sidelines, and the wonderful grass.
As for the traditions and uniqueness... I have no doubt that the traditions will not disappear for ever... but isn't it our responsibility, as fans (as well as students, of course), to make sure that they continue?
Finally, the issue of multi-use... Soccer is my favorite game (even as an American) but I don't think that it is right to criticize the stadium because it will no longer be able to host international matches. The new Stanford Stadium has a purpose, which is to serve the football program. To try to do other things, like make it available for soccer matches, would be to take away from that goal of making it an intimate football stadium. You can't have your cake and eat it too. And who's to say that concerts or other events will not take place there in the future?? The stadium hasn't even been open for a full week. If you so badly want a world class soccer stadium, stop posting on this board and YOU build it... then maybe they will come...

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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 20, 2006 at 11:01 pm

The stadium itself is fine and as Bob Bowlsby said, if a public institution tried it, it would take 3 times as long and cost 3 times as much.

When will Cal's stadium renovation be done? 2010, if then?

However, unless the product on the field improves, even 50,000 seats will be too many.

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 22, 2006 at 4:08 pm

Glad to hear that there is so much discussion on this topic. I have no object to the new stadium as such, I just think that in this day and age multi purpose makes more sense. A few years ago we were in the throws of discussion about bringing the olympics to this area. If that had happened, we would have wanted any new facilities to have been built with multi purpose in mind and not just one sport that takes place for a month.

Now, here is a novel idea. If we can build stadiums with removable roofs, then why can't we build stadium where the seats could be moved back and forth for different sports. I am no engineer, but it would seem to be something that could make a very expensive stadium much more practical in the long run. I can just picture it, rolling blocks or seats being moved 20 feet, while the fields are being restriped and one set of spectators leaving while another arrive. I know its done at the San Jose arena with two sports in the one day.

Ahh. Its nice to dream!!!!!

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Posted by Sports fan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Went to the Stadium for the first time yesterday for the Chelsea v Club America soccer game. I was very impressed with the stadium.

Unfortunately, most of the fans were standing for most of the game which meant that the seats were irrelevant.

The most annoying thing was being told in the blurb with tickets that no alcohol and no glass bottles or cans were allowed. Therefore I took many bottles of water (all sealed) with our family of six, all obeying the instructions. At the gates these water bottles were confiscated.

What amazed me were that my plastic water bottles were all confiscated and we didn't take cameras as instructed, but there were many camera flashes during the game and quite shockingly, many fire crackers.

Now my bottled water was a necessity, we had to buy inflated priced water in the stadium. But I would have preferred if the powers that be had managed to keep out the firecrackers which were much more of a danger to all.

Something is wrong somewhere.

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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 15, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Sports fan,

Welcome to international soccer! It is at least as much riot, as sport.

Either wear your flak vest and ear plugs next time, or bring your own firecrackers. Look at it this used to be M-80s when I used to attend. It will be easier for you, if you get really drunk on Rum or Gin or Vodka befoe you enter the stadium. Then make sure to hide at least a pint of the stuff on your body (hint: sip it through a narrow tube/straw). Great fun. Take aspirin afterwards for the hangover. Be happy you were not crushed by the opposing fans.

Under no circumstances should you take your family to a serious international game. Too dangerous....

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Posted by Soccer fan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 15, 2007 at 4:30 pm

We went right in with a backpack that wasn't searched and that contained bottled problem. Guess you chose the wrong entrance!

It was a really great game; let's hope the first of many to come.

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Posted by Driver
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2007 at 6:58 pm

I have a suggestion for Stanford on game days. Why not have a park and ride parking lot near 101, say at Edgewood Plaza, and shuttle fans along Embarcadero in Marguerites. This would have to be publicised well in advance, but it would help both parking and local traffic congestion as well as get fans to where they need to go without causing a traffic nightmare for everyone else.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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