Lack of ticket sales and funds prevents move of home bench
As the 2009 Fresno State football season hits full stride, the team and the atmosphere at Bulldog Stadium have gone through many changes.
There is a new starting quarterback and a new coaching staff at nearly every position except for head coach. The celebratory fireworks have come back to the stadium and the band has moved back into the student section.
One change that did not go into effect this season was the rumored move of the home bench to the east sideline of the stadium, which would have brought the team closer to the students.
For all of Pat Hillâ€™s 13 seasons in Fresno, the home team has always stood on the west sidelines. During the off-season, there was talk of moving the team to the east sidelines to be closer to the band and the student section.
The university even went as far as to put the move on the season schedule and promotional handouts. However, after discussions and lack of ticket sales, the team decided to stay on the west sidelines.
After a ticket campaign to fill the seats behind the east sidelines did not attract enough buyers, the move was not going to be feasible at this time.
â€œWe did a ticket campaign for the east sideline and the amount of tickets sold did not merit a move,â€ Hill said. â€œIf we wouldâ€™ve of sold five, six or seven thousand tickets, that wouldâ€™ve been a different story.â€
Another reason why the move did not take place was the economic struggles outside of ticket sales. The team felt that it would be too costly to move the wiring needed for communication during games to the east sidelines.
â€œMoving the coaches headsets, line and equipment proved to be more costly than previously projected and in these tough economic times. We couldnâ€™t justify that expense,â€ said Steve Weakland, the teamâ€™s sports information director, in an e-mail response.
Other reasons that were given for not moving the Bulldogsâ€™ bench to the east sideline were that the team has been on the west sideline for years and they didnâ€™t want to make that a distraction for the players.
Weakland also said that the coaches would have a hard time seeing the other teams substitutions early, because it is harder to see the west sidelines from the press box on the west side.
Even Mother Nature played a role in keeping the bench on the west side, as the team would be in the direct sunlight during day games.
While the added expenses factored into the decision to stay on the west side, the most important reason, however, was that the tickets have to be sold on the east sidelines to make the stands behind the team look full.
Whatever the reason, whether that be economic, lack of ticket sales, or even honoring past tradition, the Bulldogs will remain on the west sideline for the rest of this season.