Minium: new premium seats, cup holders and beer and wine sales coming to ODU Football
NORFOLK, Virginia – Old Dominion has added another premium seating area to SB Ballard Stadium, called The Deck, which will include seating on the west side of the stadium, an all-you-can-eat buffet, non-alcoholic beverages, cash bar and space to mingle .
The deck will have TVs showing live football and will also have an unobstructed view of the playing field. Premium seats of all kinds have sold out every season, and it’s an effort by ODU to keep up with demand .
And that’s not the only change coming to ODU football home games.
The general public will be allowed to purchase beer and wine for the first time this fall.
ODU also fulfilled a promise made three years ago to install cupholders on more than 5,000 chair-back seats.
All 482 chair-back seats in the Cox Business Loge Lounge premium seating area in the South Zone have been replaced.
Fans will also notice new branding. This will be ODU’s first season in the Sun Belt Conference and the stadium turf has new logos as well as new signage inside the stadium.
“The Bridge” will be located behind sections W118 and W119 on the second level on the west side behind the ODU bench.
Tickets are $1,000 each and include a buffet, free soft drinks, and a cash bar. It also provides a clear view of the TowneBank replay dashboard in addition to the playing field.
The bridge is marketed largely to corporations and businesses in the area as a place where business owners or their employees can mingle for business and pleasure. But the club is open to anyone who wants a little more than stadium seats.
For information on purchasing The Deck tickets or general season passes, call Justin Ross at 757-683-3360.
Most FBS schools including Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison already allow the sale of beer and wine in football and basketball halls. ODU has been cautious in adopting a similar policy.
Athletic director Dr. Wood Selig and other ODU administrators authorized a “pilot program” to sell beer and wine at men’s and women’s basketball games last season.
Selig said ODU wanted to see if beer and wine sales were causing any behavioral issues among fans and said there were none.
Selig said ODU was cautious, but he’s happy football fans can enjoy beer or wine while watching the game.
“It’s something our fans have been asking for for years,” he said, adding, “Fans are usually used to having a beer when watching a game.”
This has long been the case at the region’s other two major sporting venues, Harbor Park, home of the Norfolk Tides; and Scope, where the Norfolk Admirals play.
Mixed drinks will not be sold at SB Ballard concession stands. You must be in a premium seating area – Priority Automotive Club, Deck, Deluxe Suites, or Cox Business Loge Lounge – to purchase mixed drinks.
Cup holders were promised in 2019, when ODU was carrying out a $71 million renovation of the former Foreman Field that turned the site into SB Ballard Stadium. The number of places has been increased to 21,944.
Most of the stadium was demolished and rebuilt in just under 10 months, and the cup holders were one of many upgrades that had to be delayed due to cost.
A year later, ODU was in the middle of the pandemic and not playing football. Once football returned last season, the University began planning to deliver on its promise.
Branded Seats, a San Diego-based company that specializes in installing cupholders in existing stadiums, recently completed installing cupholders on 5,474 chair-back seats.
Much of the fan reaction was “better late than never”.
“It’s been a big talking point in our tailgate group,” said Ilana Davlin, alumnus and longtime subscriber.
“A member of our group would often say, ‘God gave us two cup holders’ when we were talking about it.
“It may seem like a small thing, but it’s a big deal for the fans that we finally have them.”
Longtime fan Larry Eakin called the SB Ballard Stadium renovation “our shiny new BMW” and the missing cup holders “the ornament on the hood”.
“I never cared much about cup holders, but I’ve heard a lot of fans who really want them. So, I’m glad we have them.”
Virgin Jenaexecutive director of the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, the University’s fundraising group, said ODU still intends to install the cup holders.
“It was something that was important to our donors and our fans,” she said. “They asked for the cup holders and we listened to them.”
Promotional mugs are planned as a giveaway for fans sitting in the back of a chair “because they’ve been so patient,” Virga said.
Greg SmithODU’s associate athletic director for facilities and event management, played a significant role in selecting branded seating as a supplier and determining the type of cupholders installed by the university.
Ironically, ODU had planned to install small cup holders in 2019 which would not fit all of the cups sold at SB Ballard Stadium.
Branded Seats cup holders were 33% less expensive than standard cup holders, but also bigger than what ODU planned to buy in 2019. The new cup holders will hold the largest drinks sold at SB Ballard Stadium , souvenir cups.
“We were able to save money and deliver a superior product,” Smith said.
Greg Smith contains one of the cup holders installed at SB Ballard Stadium
The branded seats received excellent reviews, Smith said. The group installed 65,000 cup holders in the Pittsburgh Steelers stadium, now known as Acrisure Stadium.
As for the delay, Smith said: “We didn’t want that to happen. But we never stopped planning to install the cup holders.
“I think the fans will be really happy with the result.”
ODAF promotional labels can be found on the front of each cup holder. The ODAF hopes to recruit a sponsor for the labels next season.
Sitting in the Cox Business Lodge Lounge was installed in 2009 and was replaced as it was starting to show signs of wear.
The Cox Business Loge lounge is one of the few premium seating options available. All 29 luxury suites and 400 Priority Automotive Club memberships are sold out.
There are a few dozen box seats left, at $5,500 for four tickets. A membership comes with a coveted pass to the Red Garage, which is adjacent to the stadium. Ticket holders have access to food and drink just steps from their seat.
For more information on premium seating options, contact Ashley Vellines at (757) 683-6963 or by email at [email protected] or Click here
ODU opens at home on Friday, Sept. 2, against Virginia Tech in one of Monarch’s most anticipated home games in years. ODU upset Tech, 49-35, in 2018 when the Hokies first visited Norfolk.
The game marks the debut of Tech head coach Brent Pry, who was defensive coordinator at Penn State while ODU head coach Ricky Rahn was the offensive coordinator. The 7 p.m. game is expected to sell out before single-season tickets go on sale.
Of the 36 sections on the east and west sides, 14 are sold out, 19 have limited availability and three have medium availability. There are approximately 4,000 tickets left and sales have been strong over the past week.
Last season, the Monarchs lost six of their first seven games but then won the last five to earn their first bowl bid since 2016. Ten starters return on offense and seven on defense.
To purchase ODU subscriptions, Click here
ODU 2022 Football Schedule
September 2, Virginia Tech, 7 p.m., ESPNU
Sept. 10, at East Carolina, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Sept. 17, Virginia, 2 p.m., ACC Network
Sept. 24, Arkansas State, TBD
October 1, Freedom, TBA
October 8, opening date
October 15, in Coastal Carolina, TBA
October 22, Georgia Southern, TBA
October 29, at Georgia State, TBA
November 5, Marshall, TBA
November 12, James Madison, TBD
November 19, at Appalachian State, TBA
November 26, in South Alabama, TBA