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Onward Debate: Is Reducing Beaver Stadium’s Capacity A Good Idea?

The iconic Beaver Stadium is known for plenty, but arguably its proudest achievement is becoming one of the largest stadiums in the country. Behind everybody’s favorite marketing campaign, #107KStrong created a new identity for the venue’s signature seating capacity. But, with proposals to renovate Beaver Stadium — and reducing its seating capacity in the process — slowly coming to fruition, fans won’t be able to proudly claim that the stadium is among the elites in terms of seating.

Our staff shared some opinions on whether or not reducing Beaver Stadium’s seating capacity is a smart move.

Make Beaver Stadium Smaller

Steve Connelly 

Beaver Stadium downsizing isn’t the end of the world. Sandy Barbour has said it’s not going to be a drastic drop off and pointed to Ohio State’s recent reduction of 2,600 seats as an example. Beaver Stadium in all likelihood will still be 100,000+ and even if it drops 3,000-4,000 seats, it will still be the second largest stadium in this country. Those 3,000-4,000 seats would almost certainly not come from the student section anyway. The purpose is for needed renovation and if the reductions make Beaver Stadium better, so be it. The loss in seats isn’t going to hurt Penn State’s attendance since the Nittany Lions rarely fill all 107,000 anyway. Last season Penn State filled the stadium officially twice against Army (which if you were there, you know is the definition of tickets distributed and not actual attendance) and Michigan. Four other times last season the attendance in Beaver Stadium wasn’t even 100,000. If Beaver Stadium gets the renovation it needs, I’m ok with being #104kStrong.

Derek Bannister

I see no problem with the idea of a possible reduction in Beaver Stadium’s capacity – especially if it means the stadium is packed for every game. I can’t help but look across the stadium from the student section and notice that – at every home game that I’ve been to as a student – the upper levels of the stadium are only about half full. I know that #107KStrong is kind of our thing, but we probably only get to that level of attendance once a year at his point. It’s not 2005 anymore. This past weekend, for example, the Minnesota game was an absolute delight to watch…other than the fact that only about 95,000 fans showed up and the empty bleachers adjacent to the student section looked pretty sad. Meanwhile, schools like Clemson pack Memorial Stadium to the brim with an absolutely electric atmosphere (and a “measly” 81,500 fans).

I think that I speak for many older football fans when I say that bleachers simply don’t cut it when it comes to sitting for hours – especially given the cost of Penn State football tickets. My parents, for example, are not huge fans of being packed into the stands like sardines, and I don’t blame them. Penn State fans are the best in the world, and I firmly believe that giving them enough space to keep them from going certifiably insane is something that they deserve.

I know that I’m probably in the minority with my opinion, but sometimes tradition is not worth keeping for tradition’s sake if it hinders progress.

David Abruzzese 

My take is a bit similar to those presented above, but it’s true — Beaver Stadium hits full capacity when Ohio State or Michigan comes to town, but that’s about it. There’s nothing wrong with 95,000 fans, but condensing those fans so that empty seats aren’t visible provides a more palpable home field advantage.

Also, the stadium needs a renovation in the worst way; schools like Michigan and Notre Dame — both iconic programs with equally historic venues — took the hint and modernized their fortresses. It’s about time Penn State does the same, and while anything less than #107KStrong isn’t as sexy, it’ll probably be better in the long run.

DON’T YOU DARE MESS WITH #107KSTRONG

Patrick Cines 

I don’t think we should reduce the size of Beaver Stadium. Being able to say that my school has the third largest stadium in the world and the second largest in the western hemisphere is one of many things that makes me proud to be a Penn Stater. Also, decreasing the size of the stadium, while it would increase the ability to fill it, would drive ticket prices up for everyone.

Robbie Rockwell 

Penn State should not reduce Beaver Stadium’s capacity. Call me unreasonable but Beaver Stadium’s size is what makes it so special and so intimidating. I’ve sat in the regular bleachers before, and while you definitely get to know your neighbor, it’s all worth it when you remember that our school has the third largest stadium on the planet. That’s something I brag about a lot to my friends. There is nothing quite like seeing 107,000 people all dressed in white screaming their heads off under the lights and we all know how much it helps the team. Going into Ohio State in 2014, Penn State was supposed to get destroyed by the eventual national champions, but instead the Lions took them to double overtime (should’ve won if not for some very bad calls). No matter the opponent, I always feel Penn State has a shot at winning if the game is a whiteout under the lights. Would reducing the capacity change things that much that the team loses that advantage? Probably not, but I don’t want to find out. There’s nothing I love more than watching my favorite team with 107,000 of my closest friends.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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