Gameday in Guido D’Elia’s Clutches

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Last Wednesday I had the “pleasure” of listening to Penn State football’s communication and media director as he spoke to about 100 students. He goes by Guido D’Elia and this is his seventh year at the position.

Here are some quotes from his hour-long lecture:

  • “I received several emails and phones complaining about the fan experience last weekend.”
  • Sports Illustrated named us greatest show in college football. We didn’t start that.”
  • “The Athletic Department was not willing to change jerseys; getting rid of the stripe was tough.”
  • “In the third quarter [last week against Alabama], we felt that crowd was dead so we went ahead and played ‘Sweet Caroline.’ I think coaches thought, ‘Why are you singing? There’s nothing to be happy about.’”
  • When asked if he felt that STEP was fair for students, he responded, “I think we’re able to keep the ticket price low and let the alumni pay for it. We had to do it. We needed to raise money for all our sports so this campus can compete with others. It’s harder because we’re trying to do it the right way. We need a reasonable budget to recruit while others are cutting corners. People were getting away with murder for those seats… If we stumble this year it will be tough.”
  • “The sound technicians will be here for Iowa and Nebraska to take new sound measurements due to the student section move.”

Some reasonable and unreasonable answers there. Guido said he didn’t start the “Greatest Show in College Football,” but that’s how he’s been branding the experience for years now. At least he gave a respectable response to STEP and it’ll be neat to have the sound techs back.

Now that all of the good stuff is out of the way let’s move on to more interesting quotes.

  • “STEP program was good until we lost to Bama, amazing in the offseason, 92% renewal, more than half upgraded or stayed the same. We lost 8% of season ticket holders this year, we usually lose 5.5%.”

So because of STEP, 2.5% of Penn State season ticket holders (about 2,000 alumni) dropped their tickets. I guess that would explain this.

Finally I have what you’ve all been waiting for: his comments on the Blue Band. In case you’re new to this argument, be sure to read this article. This is what the man who has drastically changed the game-day experience had to say.

“For the gameday experience, the Blue Band is a driving force. Greg Drane does a great job. They’re really good.”

But then I asked Guido, “Why do you choose to play so much hip hop music over the Blue Band?”

He responded in a rather defensive tone.

“On Saturday, there was 7 minutes of Blue Band time for every minute of music. If you don’t believe me, feel free to come to my office to see the data.”

7:1 Blue Band to rap ratio? That’s bullshit if I’ve ever heard it. I’m still seriously considering of making the trip to his office to see this so called “data.”

In short, this man doesn’t care what we (the students or alumni) think. All changes will be to his own accord and no one else’s. The fact is, if Beaver Stadium really did sell its soul, consider Guido the dealer.

Photo By: John Tecce

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Ryan is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He is a Lion Ambassador who loves giving tours to prospective students. His favorite activities include distributing news and consuming Chipotle.

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