Beaver Stadium Fireworks Add Excitement To Football Atmosphere
After much speculation prior to kickoff, fans that piled in to a striped out Beaver Stadium crowd were met with an element that added to the already electric atmosphere.
As the team burst through the tunnel, fireworks on top of the scoreboards at both ends of the stadium gave fans a sense of excitement and awe. After each score, another burst of fireworks erupted from the scoreboards, adding to the intensity inside the packed stadium.
While it was thought that these fireworks would only be seen at the Stripe Out, fans were treated with a similar display at the game against San Diego State. It became clear that these fireworks were more than just a one-time thing, and Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, Bradley Keen, says fans should expect to see them in the future.
“We definitely want to continue the fireworks display for the rest of the season,” Keen said. “We didn’t want it to be just against Rutgers. We just found that the Stripe Out was the best game to introduce it. Of course with every game, we will make adjustments to change the way they look, but we ultimately want to add to the game day experience.”
The idea behind the fireworks at both scoreboards came from Keen’s previous experience before coming to Penn State. Keen, a graduate of Alabama, worked as the Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at Vanderbilt for almost two years, then most recently serving as the Director of Marketing at Wake Forest for the past two years.
While working at Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, Keen explained that both football programs implemented fireworks as the players left the tunnel and during scores. He noticed that it created an extra spark at every home game. So when Keen came to Penn State in 2014, he brought up the idea of fireworks at Beaver Stadium during one of the marketing team’s weekly synergy meetings. The team agreed to bring this to Penn State, and went to extensive lengths to make it a reality.
“We had to get approvals from many different groups,” Keen said. “To make sure we could make this happen, approvals from Penn State Risk Management were needed, along with approvals from the FAA (Federal Aviation Association), and we needed permits. We also had to find a pyrotechnics company that would want to take on a task like this.”
From there, Penn State partnered with Starfire Corporation to put on its immense display. After some collaboration with marketing and Penn State football staff, and getting the approvals and permits they needed, the Beaver Stadium fireworks were ready for game day after less than a year of preparation.
After the Stripe Out game, Keen and the rest of the Penn State marketing staff were met with overwhelmingly positive feedback by fans.
“The feedback from fans was nearly all positive,” Keen said. “Many students posted their reactions to the fireworks and they were all positive ones. It showed that this was a big success, but there were some that had mixed feelings.”
The majority of fans who had neutral feelings towards the fireworks were indifferent because they enjoyed the fireworks, but felt that it took away from the traditional Penn State atmosphere.
“We understand the feelings that some fans had towards the fireworks,” Keen said. “Penn State is a place that is built on traditions and we want to keep those traditions alive. Moving forward, we do want to be able to blend those old traditions with new traditions to help bring everyone together in this new era of Penn State football.”
Keen also explained that while the process was a long one, but it couldn’t have been done without the work of the Penn State marketing team and everyone involved. Thanks to Keen and his team, another tradition may have just added to an already healthy assortment of Penn State football traditions.
The fireworks took fans by surprise during the first ever Stripe Out game, but they created an atmosphere that was unlike any other — besides the White Out. With this new tradition, the game day atmosphere continues to be on the rise at Penn State in what looks to be a very exciting future for the football program.