Let’s face it, our football program is moribund and lifeless, and is under-appreciated by both the students and administration on campus, let alone the media and greater community. What we need is a statement, something that will grab the eyeballs of the press and shake up attitudes and perceptions. Here’s what we need to do:
Play one game in Drake!
I’m not talking about the dead-on-arrival campus stadium idea. That’s a no-go. But ONE GAME? That might be a possibility. Here’s how we do it:
Drake currently holds 11,000 +. We put temporary grandstand seating on the other 3 sides. You’ve seen large, temporary seating at events like the Rose Parade and the Final Four? Sure, those are fine, but there are even better temporary seating arrangements out there. In fact, this company can build entire temporary arenas that are first rate!
Anyway, the current Drake 11,000 plus the temporary seating on the other 3 sides will total at least 35,000 – and that’s minimum.
Now, to offset the lost ticket sales, this one game will not be included in the regular season ticket package. It will be a special ticket, with a really special, really high price point. How high? I can’t answer that yet, but tell me – how much would YOU pay to be in the stands for the first honest-to-goodness football game played on the UCLA campus since the 1920’s? Imagine the atmosphere, imagine the excitement. Every time I do, the price keeps going up.
Now, allow me to try to beat some of the Naysayers to the punch:
The neighbors - Sure, the neighbors won’t be happy. But, come on, it’s ONE GAME. We’re not building a permanent structure. We’re putting everything up for one game, then taking it all back down again. Besides, the stadium won’t even be very big. And, remember this – UCLA just lost the L.A. Times Festival of Books, which brought in huge crowds for 2 weekend days every year. This is just one day – still a net win. Plus, as unhappy as the residents might be, the merchants in the village will be thrilled!
Infrastructure – Parking will be easily manageable through a combination of campus lots, Lots 32 and 36, the Federal Building and even the VA if necessary. Once again, the Book Festival has given the campus plenty of practice at moving large groups in and out on the weekend.
I propose that this one game at Drake be played after the renovation of Pauley, thereby utilizing their new amenities such as food service, restrooms, and even the new locker rooms for the teams. The L.A. Tennis Center can be used for gourmet food trucks and additional porta-johns.
The Rose Bowl lease – I have no idea about the terms of the lease we just signed, but leases can always be amended. Folks, once again, we are talking ONE GAME. The Rose Bowl will still be our home, and the Rose Bowl still will want to continue a great relationship with UCLA. Working out a deal for one game shouldn’t be a problem.
The cost – The costs for the temporary stucture will be offset by marketing. For instance, how about naming rights? Let’s give first shot to our partners at Adidas. How much would it be worth to them to call it Adidas Stadium? It’s one game, it’s temporary, but it will give them a tremendous bang for their buck.
As for the upside, well, do I really even need to mention it? The publicity will be enormous. From the first announcement to the preparation and construction to the actual game day, the media will lap it up. Where do you think ESPN will send GameDay that morning?
Imagine how charged up the campus will be. Think our students are apathetic about football? Fire them up with this one game at home, they’ll be dying every other week to take that drive to the Rose Bowl.
Imagine how charged up our team will be. The first game on campus at UCLA since the 1920’s? Are you freaking kidding me? Those players will be sky-high amped, and it will be the kind of excitement that will continue through the whole season. This team will feel like they’re part of something special.
Imagine the first Homecoming where the UCLA Bruins are truly coming home.
I’m sure some of you are already hitting “reply” to educate me on how ridiculous this folly is, but hey, I’m a dreamer, and there might be others like me out there as well. What do you think? Could we, or should we, try to play one game at Drake?