While some fans may have been concerned about some games not selling out this season at Williams-Brice Stadium, figures from around the country show that the current economic climate affected all major college football. Our average football home attendance was down about 5,000 per game this year compared to last year (from 80,529 to 75,369). However, we finished 17th in the nation in average home attendance – exactly where we finished in 2008.
As a point of comparison, Clemson was also down about 5,000 per game (from 79,164 to 74,214) and fell from 18th in the nation to 20th in average home attendance.
Several of you have e-mailed me to ask what exactly happened Saturday night regarding the power outage at Williams-Brice Stadium. I spoke with our Associate AD for Facilities and Operations Jeff Davis and here is the full e-mail response:
The power outage was caused by an SCE&G (utilities provider) fuse link (fuse) that went bad or (melted down) over time, due to the power load and demand to operate the stadium. This outage caused the stadium to have what is called “single phase power”. There are three phases or lines of power that are supplied to the transformer substation at WBS; when one of the three lines were lost, there were only two lines of power in operation.
The stadium has what is called a DELTA connection that allows power to back feed to line that was lost. This prevented the stadium from having a total power outage; the outage primarily affected half of the west side of the stadium inclusive of all elevators, concourse and interior lighting, air conditioning systems, ESPN TV production power and the in-house video production studio.
A fuse link melt down versus a fuse link blow out (which is loud boom & fuse hanging down) takes longer to diagnose or determine, the extent of the power problem. SCE&G technicians who are on-site for each home game along with University High Voltage and electrical personnel, after trouble shooting and responding to multiple calls that were being received, determined the extent of the problem; SCE&G then replaced the damaged fuse link (fuse) and restored power in less than one hour from the first sign of problems.
Because the stadium was operating on two lines of power, there were numerous breakers that had tripped and had to be reset in multiple electrical rooms; for lighting throughout the affected areas, for the west side elevators, for air conditioning systems, the ESPN TV production power and in-house video production etc. (Normally, TV will bring generators to operate their production and satellite units-this production was smaller and did not, utilizing the stadium or house power). (Breaker reset) This process is methodical and is not a quick fix. This total reset of breakers was complete just before half-time of the game.
On Tuesday, SCE&G will change out the three fuses that supply the main power to the stadium (an upgrade from 150 amps to 200 amp fuses) The University High Voltage and Electrical departments will also upgrade the six secondary power fuses from 100 amps to 150 amp fuses. This upgrade will safely regulate the power and prevent future overloads from occurring.
With all the new graphics and visual improvements to Williams-Brice Stadium, you might not notice one of the most major improvements to the facility. As some of you may know, the West Lower stands at the stadium had a tremendous leakage problem. Any heavy rain created a number of problems for the areas beneath the stands – mainly the office spaces, team equipment area, multimedia room as well as the locker room.
Over the summer, all of the bleachers in the West Lower stands were removed to seal and waterproof the entire seating section. The cost – $495,000. While it might not be as sexy as fresh garnet graphics, it was a valuable project that will help extend the life of Williams-Brice Stadium. (Editor’s Note: It’s slightly difficult to take a photograph of a waterproofing project. But you can get the gist of it below.)
The athletics department is introducing a new texting service for fans at Williams-Brice Stadium this season. If you need to report stadium issues, unruly behavior, or need to request assistance, just text “USC” <space> your issue and location to 41513. Assistance is available two hours before kickoff and one hour after the game. Standard text messaging rates apply. See example below:
Text message to 41513: “USC the fan behind me is creating a disturbance in section 502, Row 17.”
“It’s a new avenue we’re using to assist our fans so that they can enjoy the game more,” said Shawn Burke, Assistant Athletics Director for Event Management.
Something to look for this season at concession stands in Williams-Brice Stadium is the new value menu:
You can get a hot dog, 24 oz. cup of popcorn or a 12 oz soda for just $2 individually or you can get all three for just $5. Good deal.
The reaction was positive after I showed you the start of the work on the stadium ramps. I stopped by the football stadium this afternoon and shot some pictures of the work as we get closer to kickoff at Williams-Brice.