The newly renovated and modernized Memorial Stadium is awesome, beautiful, incredible, pick you own Joe Starkey superlative. A modern stadium has arisen in the same spectacular location as the old, 1920’s era mess. Cal got it right at every level. Now here’s a more detailed report card on the specific stadium upgrades that were advertised in Cal’s own marketing materials. Agree or disagree?
- New and expanded restroom facilities. On the stadium’s west side, the restrooms seem to hold up well. On the east side, which is built into the Tightwad Hill hillside, the port-a-potties were upgraded. Grade: B (held down by the west side port-a-potties)
- On the west side, concessions were modernized and the menus improved with a wider selection and some ethic foods. On the plaza on the north-west side of the stadium, excellent sausages from Evergood Fine Foods with all the fixings, including peppers and onions, were available hot off the barbeque. [Note that while the food was great, the prices were not cheap – $22 for two sausages and two sodas!) Grade: B+ (held down by the prices)
- On the east side, I understand that Top Dog sausages were available above the student section. But I have heard the lines were very, very long. Grade: I (Please send me your input; I need more info.)
- A wider main concourse on the west side was intended to improve access around the facility. However despite the wider concourse, it was packed to the point movement was slow and difficult due to the lines at the concession stands around sections B through E. Grade: C (I fail to see any improvement other than it looked a lot better if you ignored the wall-to-wall people.)
- A modernized public address system, which is now wonderfully audible, replaced the old one and its speakers on poles between the seats and the field. Grade: A
- Modern scoreboards with enhanced video capabilities are a great improvement over the 17’ by 40’ originals and the “JumboTrons” that were installed next to them, but they are not fabulous by modern stadium standards. Grade: B+ (They are only okay by modern standards; they could have done much more.)
- The original pine benches from 1923 have been completely replaced (finally!) with full stadium seats (for high donors), benches with seatbacks (for donors), and aluminum benches. If you are not seating in a Cal donor section, expect to sit on a bench. Stadium seats (seat backs) cannot be brought into the stadium, but rentals are available at the north and south ends of the stadium. Grade: A- (Some could complain that modern stadiums have actual seats throughout, but I’m old school.)
I haven’t seen every corner of the stadium. Agree or disagree? Let me know what you think.