Some new bells and whistles are coming to the Kansas football fan experience beginning this weekend, just in time for the start of the Les Miles era.
Athletic Director Jeff Long, now in his second year on the job at KU, and his staff spent time throughout the previous season and beyond gathering feedback from the program’s supporters in anticipation of the changes.
The following is a rundown of what those heading to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday for the Jayhawks’ matchup with Indiana State (11 a.m.) can expect.
• Alcohol sales — KU decided this past offseason to make beer and wine available for purchase throughout the stadium. With the new offering also comes a new “no reentry” policy that will be strictly enforced. Alcohol sales will be suspended at the end of the third quarter.
The following will be available for purchase this season at KU games: Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Goose Island IPA, Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.
On this week's episode of the KU Sports Hour, Matt Tait, Benton Smith, Shane Jackson and Braden Shaw talk all things related to the KU football opener and offer their game predictions and season predictions for the Jayhawks in 2019.
• Rideshare locations — With more people using apps such as Lyft and Uber, KU has preferred rideshare drop-off and pickup points. Before the game, that is on Memorial Drive at the top of the hill, south of the stadium. After games rideshare services can make pickups one block east of the stadium, in metered parking on the west side of Indiana Street.
• More parking options than last year — With new parking spots in Lot 94, east of the stadium, KU now offers improved ADA accessible parking stalls. And with the completion of the new indoor practice facility, Williams Education Fund regained more than 180 prime parking spaces on the west side of the stadium, including 14 ADA accessible spots.
• New LED boards in north end zone — Two HD boards now appear in the north end zone of the venue to provide fans with improved viewing of game stats and crowd prompts. Each board is 60 inches tall and 84 inches wide.
• Crimson and Blue BBQ — Kansas Athletics for the first time is bringing a sanctioned barbecue competition to the stadium (Friday through Sunday in Lot 94, east of the stadium). Entrants will compete in the “People’s Choice” competition on Saturday and the judged competition on Sunday.
• New team entrance — The Jayhawks, Miles and his staff will enter the field this year through a new tunnel when they take the field. Pyrotechnics will be included for the entrance.
• New concessions choices — Kansas Athletics’ official concessionaire, Centerplate, will offer new menu items: loaded tater tots, cheeseburger rollers, chicken rollers and bacon wrapped chops.
• Tailgate Guys — Partnering with the company Tailgate Guys, KU is providing what are described as turnkey tailgating options. Fans who use the service will have access to reserved tailgating sites, which are set up and broken down by Tailgate Guys staff. Plus, fans can be transported from their parking spots to the tailgating area, and Tailgate Guys provides tents, tables and chairs for the setup. Additional options such as satellite TV access also are available.
• New “Hawk Walk” — The Jayhawks will arrive for each home game on buses two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff. They will be dropped off on the southeast corner of the stadium in Lot 94, with “Hawk Walk” stretching around the south perimeter and into the stadium. Fans can line the walk and greet them.
• Season ticket discount for state employees — Not as much a game day feature but also new this season is a 20% discount for state of Kansas employees on football season tickets. The discount applies for a maximum of two tickets and is available at any of the four season ticket price levels.