Imagine in say, 10 years, an impartial visiting fan who happens to be one of the best sports writers in America writes this of the new Temple Football Stadium which, for purposes here, we will just call The Apollo:
“It simply is the best place in the region to watch a game. I’ve been going there since it opened a couple of years ago and it is … bright, warm, inviting and fun. Concession food is decent, booths adequately staffed. Above all, the student section is tremendous—full of energy and volume and ritual gags … marketing directors can’t prefabricate this sort of fun. It’s organic and spontaneous and precisely why college sports are awesome. This venue is stigmatized by outdated fear of North Philly and shouldn’t be. The best place to watch a game in Pennsylvania.”
A great writer did pen those wonderful words about an on-campus sports facility and it was long-time Penn State football beat writer Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News. He was writing about the current Liacouras Center.
The point here is that Temple got this on-campus basketball facility right 20 years ago and, if Jones can give the same glowing report of this Apollo that he can of that Apollo then Temple will have gotten this stadium right. In that story, published exactly five years ago (Feb. 20, 2011), Jones ranked it the top basketball venue by far in the state, ahead of Pitt’s Petersen Events Center (third) and well ahead of Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Arena (dead last). Of that cavernous place, Jones wrote: “If it weren’t for the small, hard-core, following of students, this place would be a $55 million Bingo Hall. Often, it is anyway.” Jones added: “Everyone has his opinion and they are all valid. (Except only mine is correct.).” Having been to all those places, too, I can vouch his opinion is correct. The LC is a wonderful state-of-the-art facility that Temple got right.
Temple must get this football one right or it will risk building a half-assed facility like Tulane’s, which is a Bingo Hall. If the Owls build something like Houston’s, they will have done it right.
Then, in 2026, Jones can write something like this: “The chairs, with Cherry seatbacks, are roomy and comfortable and the school was really ahead of the technology curve by installing two large 3-D video screens beyond both end zones. Those screens are the envy of Eagles’ fans, whose mere HDTV screens look like a 1950s black-and-white TV in comparison. The view of Center City through the open south end zone is breathtaking. Putting the 15,000 students opposite the 15,000 alumni from enhances the home field advantage and the nearly fully enclosed stadium captures the sound as much as it escapes from the Linc. Often, opposing quarterbacks have to use hand signals because the noise is so loud. The best place to watch a football game in Pennsylvania.”
There you have it. Temple spent $1 million for a feasibility study but the advice in the above paragraph comes for free and should be forwarded to the architect as an outline. If the Owls build a stadium Davey Jones can be proud of, they will build one which we can all be. They might have to spend a little more than $126 million but it will be worth it.
Anything less, and they can use it for Friday night bingo.