Just before kickoff on Saturday afternoon against UT Martin maybe the coolest of Boise State’s game day changes will take center stage.
Sure, the pregame light show will eventually be a big hit – but not Saturday with game coming at 2 p.m.
The highlight Saturday might be when former Bronco Quintin Mikell gets the crowd fired up by raising the new Blue Chaos flag in the northwest corner of the field.
Similar to the raising of the 12th man flag prior to the start of home Seattle Seahawks games, Boise State is hoping the start of a new tradition will have fans as loud as ever before the opening kick off.
A different former player or local celebrity will raise the flag each game just prior to the start of the game, but only once the crowd noise reaches a certain decibel meter.
“We wanted to set the tone for the whole game before kickoff,” said Josh Bender, Boise State’s interim associate athletic director for strategic marketing and fan experience. “Our Experience Blue committee, they helped us come up with something that will really get fans loud and engaged before kickoff.
“Looking around, one we really loved and the committee connected with was the Seahawks raising the 12th man flag, so using our mantra of Blue Chaos…we’re going to get Bronco Nation rowdy right before kickoff. It’s going to be a great time.”
Boise State put a big focus on improving the fan experience during the offseason. An 18-person committee of ticket holders, both single game and season ticket holders from various seats throughout the stadium, was formed to help provide feedback and suggestions to Boise State on ways to make positive changes in and around Albertsons Stadium on game day.
The group, called the ‘Experience Blue’ committee, met monthly in the spring and summer at Boise State with athletic director Jeramiah Dickey, senior associate athletic director for external affairs Cody Gougler and others from the athletic department including Bender.
And a lot of what they talked about and discussed, including the Blue Chaos flag, will be on full display Saturday afternoon both inside and outside of the stadium.
“We can’t wait to show everything we’ve been working on over the summer with Bronco Nation,” Bender said. “The committee did a phenomenal job meeting over the summer with us. We brought ideas to them and they brought ideas to us. It’s a really exciting time to be a Bronco.”
The biggest changes inside the stadium will hopefully lead to smaller lines at the concession stands, a big complaint from fans last season. Fans can now order directly from their Bronco Sports app, and a notification will be sent to them when their food is ready for pickup.
Additional food and beverage locations and kiosks have been added, including the Locals Corner in the Northwest corner of the main concourse. This area will feature local food and beverage options in a quick grab-and-go, market-style setting. Local breweries and vendors will rotate on a game-by-game basis.
New signage is also in place, as well as another big change – new televisions throughout the concourse showing the game for those that are stuck in line waiting for a hot dog.
“That was another thing the committee said, making sure you don’t miss any part of the game while going to get concessions,” Bender said. “The process should be sped up this year and we’re hopeful it will be a lot better.”
A new video board will be up and running Saturday in the north end zone. It’s roughly 25 percent bigger than the previous board, and will have a much clearer and crisper picture. The plan is to have more information for fans on the board than in years past, including stats and a scrolling ticker of out of town score.
Plans are in place for even more stats and information on the new video board in the south end zone once it opens later this season.
“They wanted to see stats,” Bender said. “The was the big ask from the committee. They want to see as many stats as possible. So we rearranged the (north) video board and we’ll have game in progress stuff, stats, out of town scores. I think it will make a huge difference for fans to stay informed and engaged.”
New light shows will also be a big hit, although not during the day on Saturday. Boise State plans to still do them, mostly as a test, but fans won’t really notice them until the first night game. Custom light shows for the pregame team entrance and a new transition from the third to fourth quarter will be the headliners, but Bender said the technology will allow them to do a lot of cool things throughout the game.
“That’s going to be an amazing one,” Bender said. “It’s going to be incredible.”
Boise State has made a number of changes outside the stadium as well, including live music from rotating bands starting three hours prior to kick off at Ford Fan Zone. Alcohol will be available for purchase at the new ‘sports garden’, as well as food from rotating food trucks.
Kids inflatables will again be up at DeChevrieux Field for a more family-friendly space. Private tailgating options are also back at Boise State’s practice field as well.
Also new in 2022 will be fireworks to announce the start of the Bronco Walk, roughly 2 hour and 40 minutes prior to kick off. When fans hear the fireworks, they’ll know to head to Bronco Lane to watch the team walk from the Student Union Building, through the Larry and Marianne Williams Plaza and into the Allen Noble Hall of Fame as they arrive at the Stadium.
As for tickets to the game itself, they are still available for as little as $25. The Broncos are transitioning to digital tickets this year, but those with paper tickets will still be allowed to use them to enter the stadium.
The obvious main goal Saturday will be for the Broncos to win a football game. But after months of planning – 301 days to be exact since the last home game of the 2021 season – Boise State is also hoping for a win in the stands amongst Bronco Nation.
The home debut for the Broncos will also be the debut of the new and improved game day experience at Albertsons Stadium. And they are confident fans will notice the difference.
“It’s going to be so amazing,” Bender said. “We love our fans. They are the most passionate I’ve seen and they really do care about the team, the fan experience and about each other, so getting to work with some of them and now getting to put on on an amazing show for them, it’s just super exciting. We can’t wait to get to Saturday and actually get to experience it with everyone.”