Hurry Up With Those Bathrooms and Concessions At This Historic But Outdated Stadium
It’s not gone as smoothly as a perfectly-executed 50-yard bomb for a touchdown. A grind it out, penalty-marred 80-yard drive is more like it.
But eventually, the Rose Bowl will reach the end zone, and its planned renovations will be completed.
The current phase of the project, which includes widening tunnels, updating technology and a remodeled press box, is running over its $35 million estimate and will likely not be completed until the time of the 2015 Rose Bowl game, not 2014 as originally anticipated. The more the contractor works on the stadium, they more it finds things that need fixing. Such is the way things are when you are doing surgery on a 90-year-old grandaddy.
And if there’s one thing the Rose Bowl needs, it’s renovations. In fact, if they really wanted to improve it, they would gut the place and re-do the entire thing, leaving only the actual bowl and, of course, the iconic Rose Bowl sign, in place.
For all its tradition, the Rose Bowl is an uncomfortable venue at best. The seats are so close together your knees are pressed up against the seats in front of you. And that’s in the wide sections; in some areas with the aluminum benches you’ve got to get up on your feet and stand sideways in order to keep from bumping elbows with the person next to you.
The bathrooms are too few and too tiny. The concession stands are too few and too small. Sideline Sam missed the entire second quarter of the Alabama-Texas BCS National Championship game in 2010 while standing in a beer line. It took a friend 45 minutes to get through a line in a bathroom. And that was before the game.
The impression of many first-time fans is typical of what the friend said afterward: “I’ve always wanted to go to the Rose Bowl. It has all that tradition and it looks so great on New Year’s Day on TV. And I’m glad I went. But I don’t ever have the desire to go back there and see a game.”
It’s a tough situation for officials to sink too much money into the place, though. It’s used only a for the one game, plus UCLA’s six home games, flea markets and a 4th of July celebration. So the revenue streams are limited, to say the least. In fact a bond measure with the city of Pasadena that was to have paid for the current renovations fell $12 short of expectations.
Maybe what needs to be adjusted are the expectations of first-time fans. Know that it’s an old stadium, use the bathroom before going inside (there’s public restrooms at the “backstop” by the stadium entrance with the Rose Bowl sign) and load up on your beers tailgating before entering the stadium.
At least until – and if – the phase that includes more bathrooms and concessions are completed. That’s what they should be doing first, by the way.
For now, just squeeze into your seat and enjoy the game!