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No easy answer to what would be Kyle Field's perfect size - Aggie Sports: Blogs

No easy answer to what would be Kyle Field's perfect size

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 2:52 am

It wasn't that long ago local merchants and fans were worried that Texas A&M would play its home football games at Reliant Stadium or Dallas Cowboys Stadium for a season or maybe even two.

Now people are giddy as the Board of Regents on Wednesday could announce that Kyle Field will be expanded to a capacity of 103,000 during the upcoming $450 million renovations set to start after the 2013 season, ending August of 2016.

When it was announced months ago that the seating capacity was expected to be between 95,000 102,500, it was a win-win situation because A&M wouldn't be playing home games in Houston or Dallas.

If the Regents opted for 95,000, that was 12,000 more than Kyle Field's current capacity, a good thing. And if A&M went for 102,500, which would make it the largest stadium in the Southeastern Conference, that would be better, right?

I didn't give the size much thought after that, but maybe I should have.

An A&M athletic department employee told me that one of the hottest debates has been the size with the sides going back and forth.

Some are saying the time is right to think big. If A&M can raise the money, build it, because who knows what the future holds, maybe construction costs will rise sharply. Others are worried about empty seats and atmosphere.

Both sides have great points. The worst things at any venue are empty seats or not enough of them.

The Rose Bowl is pretty neat, right? It seats 94,392. The atmosphere at Alabama last year was cool, right? Bryant-Denny seats 101,821. I'm looking forward to A&M's first SEC game at The Swamp, which seats "only" 88,548.

I don't know about you, but mentally I picture the above venues as rocking, and packed. Kyle Field was that way last year, and ESPN night games in the 1980s were awesome, but it wasn't that long ago there were empty seats for nonconference games and those games against lousy conference teams.

There's no easy answer.

Just look at Blue Bell Park. It's one of the best baseball facilities in the country. Yet there were probably 2,500 at Tuesday's game. Yeah, the opponent was Grambling State, but A&M also was 22-22. There also were lots of empty seats at Reed Arena the last two seasons.

They will come if you build it, providing you win.

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  • jim '78 posted at 6:32 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    jim '78 Posts: 1414

    SEC teams like Alabama and LSU will definitely fill Kyle. Wow, it is so exciting to be able to go to Kyle and watch programs like Alabama.!!! Keep the hospitality going to all the SEC schools and we can always fill it up. Can't wait..whOOOOOOOOop!

    Hyman really has done nothing yet

  • mart80 posted at 3:32 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    mart80 Posts: 1885

    "Bigger is better" is not always the case,especially when televised.Recruits across the nation watching,understand a crowd base when they see one.I know ,reduce ticket prices?That would fill it? Nah,keep going up and the 30,000 will enjoy at tailgate.Maybe tv can pan that also,to get the full perspective of whats going on.Or maybe ,reflect on Jerryworld where the fan base can't see anything from row 30 and up because of jumbotron.

  • agnerd posted at 11:06 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    agnerd Posts: 40

    But just because the seats are full doesn't mean the atmosphere is rocking. The Arkansas game last year was a sell-out, but people weren't really into it. They just sat there, watched the game, and started leaving at halftime.

    With the current growth rate the university is experiencing, there are a lot of students graduating every semester that want to continue to attend games. I would hope the stadium would be big enough to allow them to afford the worst seats in the stadium on a new-graduate salary. I don't believe empty seats hurt the atmosphere just as a sellout doesn't automatically resullt in a rocking atmosphere. Just look at the women's basketball games. They get some great crowds in Reed Arena and never sell out.

  • bbfan22 posted at 10:39 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    bbfan22 Posts: 247

    Hyman has some big decisions to make, and pretty soon by my reckoning. Kennedy's illness won't get better. It's progressive. From personal experience, I have seen (and continue to see) how Parkinson's (PD) manifests itself. No two cases are alike, but all share similar characteristics. Eventually, Kennedy won't be able to tell if he's giving the correct instructions to his players and coaches, because PD affects speech and cognition.. That's why my wife had to retire from her teaching career earlier than she planned. A teacher (or a coach) can't mean one thing and say another and not expect it to be confusing to everyone. I often have to act as an "interpreter" for my wife because I know when she "misspeaks". Students (and athletes) often don't know or won't question a "misspeak". Kennedy will get to this point very soon.

    Baseball is another dilemma. Childress has been a decent HC, but his assistants leave a lot to be desired. He only concerns himself with the pitching staff and leaves the offense and defense to Sawyers, et al. Although pitching has not been great this year, it has been the strong suit in the recent past, and was the main reason why they went to Omaha on 2011. Hitting and "thinking on their feet" (the thinking part includes the coaches) has been the bane of this team, and the reason why they are not a perennial Super Regional or CWS team. Yes, they get to the Regionals often enough, but that's where hitting and thinking rears it's ugly head. This team should be one of the elites. Sawyers, et al, just don't have the ability to get the best out of the raw material they recruit. That's due, in part, to the HC only being a pitching coach and not the person who determines the offense, defense, and strategy of the game.

    BTW, I base my analysis on discussions with a friend and former two-time Aggie All American who played in Childress' system for four years. Perhaps it's time to cut the ties to Van Horn disciples and go another direction. Hyman should tell Childress he's gone if he doesn't make some changes in his staff. Interesting to note that Childress is commenting publicly once again. He even noticed that the Aggies didn't strike out once last night. That's a good thing (that he noticed). However, the pitching staff of a 16-27 SWAC team had a lot to do with that.

  • RJ posted at 8:51 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    RJ Posts: 1069

    Agree winning will "Fill the seats". But you have to also have a Coach that will promote and engage the media and fan base, and win. Blair is the best example, took over a horrible program and now his team wins, is fun to watch, and he recruits great players. Sumlin is on a similar track, although one year does not prove longevity, but based on his exposure to the media and recruiting, I will bet he endures. I would also include Evans Softball program, fun to watch, win, and they deserve a new ballpark. Most minor sports are all doing well, winning. Poor examples are the last 2 horrible football coaches, and our current BB program. I gave Kennedy a pass due to his illness, but it is time to move on after this year unless he shows vast improvement......his teams are boring to watch, no emotion, and Kennedy is horrible to watch as a coach and when he meets the press. Based on past record Childress gets a pass this year, his team looks bad. the biggest and best you can afford, we are in the SEC now!!


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