LEXINGTON, Ky. – On Saturday, UK football will open the second season of the Mark Stoops era against UT Martin. Just as coaches and players have prepared during the offseason, UK Athletics has worked to improve the game-day atmosphere at Commonwealth Stadium.
Based on nearly 1,700 fan suggestions through BBN First, UK Athletics has implemented the following enhancements to game day at Commonwealth Stadium for the 2014 season.
Weekly music vote – In partnership with four Lexington radio stations, UK is asking fans to vote on songs from four genres – hip hop, pop, rock and country – each week leading up to game day. The winning songs will be played during timeouts each home Saturday throughout the season. Additionally, new songs have been added to the game-day playlist, as is the case each offseason.
Kickoff Playoff – In July, eight UK football team leaders each chose a song they wanted to hear immediately before kickoff for the season opener. Fans then voted on their favorites in tournament format, selecting Braylon Heard’s choice of “Who Run It” after casting nearly 13,000 total votes.
Entertainment between plays –Southeastern Conference bylaws have changed to allow video, audio and music to be played between downs. UK Athletics will capitalize on this change with entertainment and crowd prompts between plays.
Pre-fourth quarter tradition – In BBN First suggestions, fans clamored for exciting new in-game traditions, more former player involvement and a more engaging role for the Wildcat Marching Band. Combining these three things, UK will unveil a new tradition between the third and fourth quarter.
In-game score updates – The continuous loop of game scores will move to a more visible portion of the ribbon boards, allowing fans to stay up to date on college football action throughout the country.
Live national anthem performers – After the success of Marlana VanHoose’s performance of the national anthem at the Blue/White Spring Game, more live performers will be featured at Commonwealth this season. For Saturday’s season opener, Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter will perform the national anthem on fiddle.
Roving pep bands – Roving pep bands will move through different tailgating lots pregame to help build the pregame atmosphere.
Wildcat Refuge – A new giant cornhole board will be available at the Wildcat Refuge, located outside Gate 9. UK is also making a concerted effort to educate fans about the area, which features activities for families and children.
Guest services – With numerous changes due to ongoing renovations at Commonwealth, four new guest services locations have been added to assist fans in the adjustment process. In addition to the four on the lower level, two have been added on the upper level and two more outside Gates 1 and 9, which open five hours prior to kickoff.
Parking – In spite of substantial losses due to ongoing construction and a government-mandated FEMA project, UK Athletics offered parking passes to all season ticket holders who had passes last season by creating new parking options. Prioritizing convenience for fans, working staff will also park farther away from the stadium.
Free water – Complimentary 10-ounce cups of water will be available to fans at stadium concession stands this season.
Restrooms – Additional attendants will work in the restrooms at Commonwealth this season, helping to ensure cleanliness and orderliness.
Shuttles – Additional shuttles servicing non-permit parking areas will be offered this season. For complete information on shuttles, fans can visit the official Kentucky Gameday site.
Weekly game-day review – Each week on bbnfirst.ukathletics.com, UK will revisit the previous Saturday’s home game and review topics ranging from music selection to video content to entry and exit from the stadium. In that process, fans will be asked to provide continual feedback as UK Athletics seeks to provide the best fans in America the experiences they deserve.