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Staff Picks: What Should Happy Valley’s Sports & Entertainment Commission Bring To State College?

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau announced earlier this month it would bring a new sports and entertainment commission to State College. While it didn’t divulge into many specifics, the announcement brought plenty of excitement around what events might be brought to Penn State.

Penn State Deputy Athletic Director and vice-chair of the commission Scott Sidwell noted that the NHL Winter Classic and more concerts could be brought to Happy Valley. Excited to get started, our staff decided to share its thoughts on what should come to State College and the surrounding area.

Frankie Marzano: NHL Winter Classic

It’s about time that Penn State puts Beaver Stadium to use outside of football season. The idea of bringing a Winter Classic matchup between the Penguins and Flyers to Happy Valley has been thrown around for the past six years, and this new commission should try to make it happen. There have been outdoor meetings between the two teams before, but no venue would be better than right in the middle of Pennsylvania. Can you imagine 107k strong tailgating and filling Beaver Stadium on New Year’s Day to watch some good ol’ fashioned rivalry hockey? It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

Sam Fremin: Big-Time Soccer

Upon the commission’s initial announcement, it was noted that Beaver Stadium is not currently configured to handle soccer. However, with the lofty aspirations they alluded to, it seems like only a matter of time before it’s a realistic possibility. Soccer is one of the best sports for live spectators. Playing in the world’s third-biggest stadium (that doesn’t have compulsory attendance) would intensify the already electric atmosphere.

The United States is co-hosting the World Cup in 2026. It is too ambitious to hope for a World Cup game in Beaver Stadium, considering the host cities will be selected from a predetermined pool. But, consider how exciting it could be to host the American national teams, MLS all-star games, or international club friendlies in front of over 100,000 fans. Perhaps would-be Nittany Lion and current American soccer hero Christian Pulisic can pull some strings to get this done.

Mikey DeAngelis: Philly vs. Pittsburgh Sporting Event

With the announcement of this commission, one of the ideas tossed around was the NHL Winter Classic. But to be honest, I think any sporting event between a Philadelphia and a Pittsburgh team would be cool in Beaver Stadium. Yeah, a Flyers vs. Penguins Winter Classic in Happy Valley would be sweet, but how about a Phillies vs Pirates game? Even better, how about a Steelers vs Eagles game (whenever the out-of-conference opponents would end up playing), and paint the field with retro colors to honor the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Steagles of 1943?

Any event that showcases a team from each of Pennsylvania’s two major cities, right in the heart of the state, would be a really cool event to see, especially in a massive venue like Beaver Stadium.

Will Pegler: A Horse Track At Beaver Stadium

Who wouldn’t want to bet on some horse racing on a beautiful day at Beaver Stadium? Kentucky Derby who?

This would be so much fun, and I’m not even kidding. I realize the logistics of this would be ridiculous, but Penn State has a world-renowned turf management program. Let them put their skills to the test by forming a track on the field in the spring and bring in some serious capital with gambling in Beaver Stadium’s lovely suites.

Grab a few drinks, win some money, and wear funny hats. Horse racing is always a good time, and this beautiful football stadium would serve as the perfect venue for it.

Matt DiSanto: Big-Name Concerts

In all honesty, I’d do just about anything to get the Dave Matthews Band back in Happy Valley. The group has visited Penn State (read: the Bryce Jordan Center) five times already, most recently in 2004. However, if the HVAB is really dead-set on bringing entertainment to the area, jam bands like DMB need to be at the top of the list.

Simply put, there’d be nothing like an hours-long DMB jam session outside on a warm summer night in Centre County. The group’s concerts and live performances are legendary, and we’d be remiss not to consider bringing it to Beaver Stadium for a full-fledged, festival-style concert. The DMB’s fans travel historically well, so you know they’d bring business downtown and help liven up the area, too.

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