WHO: S.C. State (1-0) at Clemson (0-1)
WHEN: 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Clemson
CLEMSON - Nearly 56,000 season tickets have been sold for the seven-game slate at Memorial Stadium, proof the HD-television age hasn't deterred fans from watching Clemson in person.
The man entering his second football season in charge of overseeing Clemson's athletic department operations, Dan Radakovich, has prided himself on upgrading facilities. Death Valley is certainly no exception.
"The gameday experience at Clemson and in Death Valley is second to none, but we're always looking for ways to improve," Radakovich said. "These initiatives and improvements - some big, some little - all go toward making sure our fans are having the best possible time they can when they come to visit us."
Though the first true test will come when 80,000 or so fans are packed into the stadium at once Saturday against South Carolina State, wireless connectivity around the athletic complex has been noticeably improved this fall. Verizon and CCIT aided Clemson in boosting WiFi speeds for stadium patrons and tailgaters attending sporting events, a $10 million project.
Fans will notice newly installed credit card machines at the concession stands, speeding along the process of fetching nachos or a soda pop during a break in the action. When lines are long, new TVs around the concourse make the wait a little easier.
Some of those concession stands will have wider options than before, such as The Smoking Pig barbecue.
Death Valley's videoboard, which was already put to use last week for a viewing party during Clemson's road game at Georgia, has a new graphics package. For the hard of hearing - and it is typically hard to hear for anyone when it gets loud on an opponent's third down - the public address announcer's words will be listed via closed-captioning on ribbon boards surrounding the stadium.
More frequent out-of-town scoreboard updates, interactive maps directing patrons to the nearest restroom and a smartphone app called "The Experience" offering seat upgrades are also among the upgrades. The marching band also will wear brand new uniforms.
The external concrete on Memorial Stadium was power washed in the offseason, while Gate 1 at the southeast corner of the stadium was renovated. Suites now have operable windows for those fans to open and close the glass as they wish.
Just two years ago, Clemson distributed 52,221 season tickets. That number climbed to 58,824 this fall, a 12.6 percent increase.
"As we continue to move forward and compete for ACC and national championships, this level of support from our passionate fans is not only appreciated, it's vital for our success," Radakovich said. "Our fans are the best in the nation, and we've challenged our department to continue to improve their experience each time they come to Memorial Stadium."
Clemson fans wait for their team during the Tiger Walk before a game last season at Memorial Stadium. (Paul Zoeller/Staff/File)×
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