A variety of improvements to the University of Notre Dame football game-day experience have been instituted for the 2009 season in the areas of hospitality, communication, and safety and security.
The new game-day initiatives are born out of an ad hoc committee’s study during the last academic year, and its subsequent report in the spring to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Assistant vice president for University events and protocol Mike Seamon, who in April was named director of football game-day operations, is leading the effort to implement improvements to Irish football weekends.
“The University believes that Notre Dame home football weekends are and should be a great experience, and we know how important they are to our alumni and fans,” Seamon said. “This offseason has provided all of us at the University with the opportunity to drill down into all the various elements of the weekend in an effort to look at each one and see if there are ways to improve.
“This is just the beginning of our commitment to make the Notre Dame football experience better than ever. We will be continually soliciting feedback from fans and making additions and changes in an effort to make the experience even better than it was the week and year before.”
Hospitality improvements for 2009 home football weekends include:
- “Rally on the Green,” a hospitality village located on Irish Green (adjacent to the south side of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center), will be in operation from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to one-half hour before kickoff for each home game. Access to the area will be free of charge and open to the public. It will feature entertainment on a main stage (including bands and speakers), plus roaming “kid-friendly” entertainment throughout the grounds. Food and beverages (including alcohol) will be available for purchase, and Follett’s and other vendors will be on site.
- The hospitality village will close in time for the pep rallies, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evenings. Due to the renovation of the Joyce Center, pep rallies will be held in several locations, as follows:
Sept. 4 (Friday), Nevada – on the South Quad as part of the annual Dillon Hall rally
Sept. 10 (Thursday), Michigan – an on-campus event at the Stepan Center for the Sept. 12 road game at Ann Arbor
Sept 18 (Friday), Michigan State – on Irish Green
Oct. 2 (Friday), Washington – on Irish Green
Oct. 16 (Friday), USC – tentatively Notre Dame Stadium
Oct. 23 (Friday), Boston College – on Irish Green
Nov. 6 (Friday), Navy – on Irish Green
Nov. 20 (Friday), Connecticut – in Purcell Pavilion in the Joyce Center
- On home football Fridays, fans will be able to enter the north end of Notre Dame Stadium between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and walk down the tunnel to the field for photo opportunities. The only time the tunnel would be unavailable would be when any visiting teams conduct Friday practices or walk-throughs.
- A corps of Notre Dame guest service representatives, identifiable by green blazers, will be stationed around the campus beginning at 9 a.m. on game days to answer questions, offer maps and lists of activities and otherwise be of assistance to fans.
- The University has created a sportsmanship document that outlines ND Game-Day Courtesy Guidelines, including the rights and responsibilities of all fans. Additional signage will be available in parking lots and at Notre Dame Stadium gates to encourage positive fan behavior.
- Ticket scanners will be utilized at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time to ease entrance into the facility for fans attending games.
- A public parking option for up to 2,000 vehicles on the nine-hole Notre Dame Golf Course was previously announced. Located on the southwest corner of the campus, the course (once known as the Burke Memorial Golf Course) will offer two parking entrances – one on Angela Boulevard and another on Dorr Road. The parking will be of the drive-up variety, with no parking passes sold in advance for this area. The price will be $40. Football game tickets must be shown for entrance to the parking areas on the course. The parking area, as with all other Notre Dame football parking areas, will open at 8 a.m. Eastern time on game days. Tailgating will be permitted. If inclement weather makes the course unavailable, there will be signs to that effect at Exit 77 of the Indiana Toll Road and at entrances to the course. Only passenger vehicles will be permitted to park in this new area; no recreational vehicles, limousines, large trucks, buses or motorcycles will be admitted. All vehicles must exit the course by three hours after each game, so the course can be prepared for play on Sundays. Any vehicles remaining three hours after the conclusion of a game will be towed.
From a safety and security perspective, new initiatives include:
- In an effort to encourage appropriate behavior, fans will be able to utilize a new text messaging system to report any instances of unruly or disruptive behavior in conjunction with home games, including inside Notre Dame Stadium. The system will be in place beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Fans can simply text 41513 and type into the message the word “Irish” followed by a space, followed by a brief description of the issue and its location. Ushers, public safety personnel and/or University officials will respond as needed.
- The University’s no trespass order has been reviewed and a new policy will go into effect beginning in the 2009 season. People who are disruptive on game days risk being issued a one-day Game Day Ban and will be prohibited from remaining on campus for the duration of the day. This does not change the University’s policy with respect to those who commit criminal or seriously offensive acts on campus, who are subject to being issued a full no trespass notice.
- The University will continue to work with its community partners to provide the safest and most welcoming and enjoyable environment possible on game days – including a newly designed integrated command center in Notre Dame Stadium to respond to any issues.
Communications initiatives include:
- A new, enhanced football game-day Web site titled “Game Day: A Legendary Experience” will be available at gameday.nd.edu. A one-stop resource, the site will include information on pep rallies, special speakers on campus, parking, the Friday luncheon, the band and everything else that occurs on a home football weekend.
- Fans will be provided a variety of ways to provide feedback on their game-day experiences – including via the game day Web site and a toll-free phone number, 877-ND1-FANS.