It may have not been beer sales or an expansion to Albertsons Stadium like some had speculated, but new Boise State Director of Athletics Jeremiah Dickey gave Bronco Nation some good news on Tuesday.
When Dickey walked in front of the podium inside the Allen Noble Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon with new head football coach Andy Avalos by his side, he announced that Bronco Nation will be able to pack Albertsons Stadium to maximum capacity this upcoming football season.
Watch the full press conference below or on KTVB's YouTube Channel.
Dickey announced 100% capacity for Albertsons Stadium ahead of the 2021 season, which will feature a likely Top 25 Oklahoma State Cowboys team who will take on the Broncos on The Blue on Sept. 18. Full capacity will also be allowed for all university sporting events, including men's and women's basketball and women's soccer.
Last season, only about 1,100 fans were allowed inside Albertsons Stadium for the Broncos' final two home games. Back in April, about 6,300 fans were in attendance for the Boise State Spring Game.
Dickey was joined by first-year head coach Andy Avalos, who discussed how much having fans in attendance means for the football program, the players and the Boise State "brotherhood."
"That's a big deal. There are going to be some guys they are excited, just like they always say, it takes that first play though and usually, you realize it's just very much like practice if you got practice squared away like it needs to be," Avalos said.
For more than 40 student-athletes on the football program, the 2021 season will be the first time for them to play in front of a packed crowd.
"It's the next big step for our student-athletes, their experience and really giving them something to push harder, train harder, prepare, grow within this environment that we are building and thrive," Avalos said, "and then being able to get to play in front of their families, their friends and Bronco Nation is a big deal. I came here as a student-athlete for that reason. It's a big part of our recruitment, that these student-athletes get to play in this stadium, which is known as one of the best college football venues in America. We've had the winningest record since 2000."
Avalos added that having university sporting events back to maximum capacity allowed will be a big boon for the Treasure Valley economy.
"You guys have been downtown, you see how many hotels have been built down there, we got to build those things out too, right?" he quipped.
However, to get every home football game to sell all 37,000 plus tickets will require actively getting people, especially new residents, to come out to the games on their own volition.
"We need to meet them where they're at versus opening our gates and hope they show up. We need to take advantage of this, this story that we're telling and utilizing you all (the Treasure Valley sports reporters in attendance), whether you like it or not, you're part of this with us," Dickey said.
He added that part of bringing more fans to Albertsons Stadium will require improvements, ranging from tailgating to the post-game experience. Dickey explained that future announcements for fan improvements will be made in the coming weeks.
Some speculated, like KTVB columnist Tom Scott, that the announcement would be in regards to beer and alcohol sales at the stadium ahead of the upcoming season. However, the university announced prior to the shorten-2020 season that beer and hard seltzers would be available for sale at Albertsons Stadium.
During Tuesday's press conference, Dickey explained that the university is still working through making beer and alcohol available at the stadium and that there will further announcements about it this summer.
Prior to the press conference, another speculated possibility for Tuesday's announcement was that the university had secured funding for renovations and expansion of the east side of Albertsons Stadium. Plans to expand the east side of the stadium were first announced in January 2020, but of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and an ensuing budget crunch slammed the breaks on the project.
Dickey mentioned that the university is evaluating its facilities but he won't commit the resources to the project if it's not what's best for Boise State's 18 sports and more than 400 student-athletes.
"I really want to wrap my head around every opportunity that touches every single student-athlete that comes through here and make sure that we're, we're thinking through all the moving parts," Dickey said.
Renovations to the east side of Albertsons Stadium may have to continue to wait before it becomes a reality, but increased season ticket and individual game ticket sales will help make it possible.
"So we are excited today to announce that we're going to be able to fill the stadium. Now, we've got to get to work to prepare ourselves for this great opportunity we have this season and we're excited to do so," Avalos said.
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