After announcing a few very well-received gameday enhancements last week on WTIC, Dave Benedict was on again on Thursday to share more changes to what should now be a vastly improved experience.
For starters, Benedict mentioned that more season tickets have been sold than last year and has also reached out to 3,500 former season-ticket holders with a generous offer.
“We reached out to that group and invited them to be our guests for this first game. We offered them each two tickets,” Benedict said. “Within a week, we have sold about 1,200 tickets to that group.”
Benedict adds that the reception for the changes made so far has been positive.
“I’m really fired up about this, because we have gotten a good response,” he said. “In general, the feedback is very good. I’m excited that we’re doing things that are meaningful to fans.”
Benedict also said that the signage around parking outside Rentschler Field will be enhanced, so that people who may not be familiar with where things are will be able to find them easily.
There will also be a new scoreboard layout.
“I think it’s going to enhance things,” he said. “It’s going to it very easy for people to look at.
“It goes back to those simple things that are really important to fans on a game day, and that’s one of them.”
Benedict also spoke about changes to promotional reads over the PA system and flow of the game.
“We had close to 90 promotional reads over the public address system,” he said. “We are going to cut that in half. We are going to do everything we can to minimize those reads being done in-game.”
Benedict said that limiting promotional reads can allow the band to play more and for more music in order to get the fans fired up so they can impact the game.
On-field recognitions will also be cut down.
“Those can be really fun for people, but at the same time, we have just been doing a lot of on-field recognitions,” he said. “Last year we had a total of 23 recognitions, for six games. This year we have seven home games and we will limit that to 13.”
Lastly, in an effort to create lifelong fans out of the incoming students, Benedict is pitching the season opener on Thursday September 1 against Maine to be part of freshman orientation. There will also be a free tailgate for all UConn students prior to the Maine game, featuring Bear’s Smokehouse Barbeque.
Benedict was hired to fill Warde Manuel’s vacancy a little over six months ago. So far these gameday changes are the most significant moves he has made besides completing an extension for Bob Diaco earlier in the summer. With UConn angling for an invite to the Big 12, the Husky football program will be monitored closely by the expansion powers that be in comparison to the numerous schools vying for a bid.
Hopefully these changes help improve attendance and, with regards to potential realignment, the perception of UConn Football’s fan support.