AUSTIN, Texas - The kickoff for the Longhorns home opener is still a few weeks away but Wednesday morning at DKR, several people could be seen up along the northern ring watching for fireworks.
A series of flares fired in front of the stadium was a test for game day celebrations, that according to assistant athletic director Drew Martin. "This stadium is going to be rocking with pyro all game long, from anytime Texas does something good on the field, whether it was taking the field to scoring touchdowns field goal, winning games, DKR is going to be lit up with pyro this year,” said Martin.
Martin is hoping for a bigger bang out of another fan day event that he is planning.
On game days, the road on the west side of the stadium will be closed off. It’s being done to create Bevo Blvd; what school officials say will be a carnival like tailgating event. "No ticket required, this is basically a festival for Texas Longhorn football fans, it is open to the public it will be 5 hours prior to every home game,” said Martin.
This new game day tradition will start with a parade led by Bevo and include food vendors, big screen TVs showing early games. A chance to meet and cheer on players as they walk into the stadium.
On the lawn, next to the fountain by the LBJ Library, a concert stage will be set up.
"We understand space is limited on campus on a game day, there is not as many place to have a Grove or have a Junction, or have big areas of land where fans can pop a ten up and have their own tailgate and so we really want to focus on providing atmosphere,” said Martin.
Rena Morales, who has a child at UT, said the idea would make her come to campus even if she didn’t have a game ticket. "As a fan I think that for sure that would make me even more just to come hang out with everyone and converse and kind of enjoy all the activities,” said Morales.
Caroline Miller said she knows what a good tailgate looks like. Miller is working on her Masters at UT, but got her undergraduate degree at Florida State. "It sounds fantastic, at FSU there were small … street parties directly outside the stadium, everything they are doing here at UT sounds like a really big upgrade,” said Miller.
Enhancing the game experience also will mean some changes inside the stadium.
Those those long commercial breaks on the big Jumbotron are being eliminated.
"The fans really want to see the action, so we will fulfill our sponsor commitments in other ways than what you saw in the past, they'll be there but it won’t be 30 sec commercials, there won’t be football game ball presentations, i it will be worked more seamlessly into the game,” said Martin.
The Bevo Blvd. events will end 30 minutes before each kickoff.
That will allow ticket holders to get into the stadium.
The new show gets underway September 8th.