Since taking over as Boston College’s Director of Athletics, Martin Jarmond has overseen the expansion of alcohol sales to both Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, developed a ridesharing partnership with Lyft, established a Fan Council, offered original gameday giveaways, and even revealed new team apparel. But on Tuesday, the 38-year-old AD took a stab at a gameday giant: tailgating.
Jarmond announced that Eagles fans will now be able to tailgate for four hours before kickoff prior to every weekend football game—one hour more than the previous allotted tailgating time. Additionally, for weekend games that start at 3 p.m. or earlier, fans will also be allowed to tailgate one hour after the conclusion of play. Weekday games will still be limited to three hours of tailgating and no post-game activity.
For years, BC students and alumni have complained about tailgating. The lack of space was non-negotiable, but the duration of the tailgating experience was seen as a possible change. With only three hours of tailgating time, many fans often trickled into Alumni Stadium late, getting to their seats anywhere between five to 15 minutes after kickoff—an eyesore on television, and something that Jarmond wanted to avoid.
“We are always looking to improve and enhance our gameday environment for our loyal fans,” Jarmond told BCEagles.com. “We heard how important it was from our fans, and specifically from our Fan Council, on the ability to extend tailgating hours prior to the game. We feel it will be very beneficial to our fans in terms of easing traffic flow into the stadium and getting to their seats for kickoff.”
It’s a tactic that Jarmond tried out during the 2018 season. When College GameDay came to BC this past year—the show’s first stop in Chestnut Hill since 2009—he pushed the tailgate start time forward one hour. Fans were permitted to begin tailgating at 4 p.m. for the 8 p.m. game as a one-time exception. A sold-out Alumni Stadium was packed for kickoff in preparation for what was, at the time, a top-20 matchup between BC and Clemson.
The school is also introducing a new clear bag policy that’s consistent with all NFL stadiums and the ACC. Fans can now bring a “one-gallon sized clear plastic zip bag, a clear plastic bag that does not exceed 12x12x6 inches or a small clutch bag, wristlet, or handheld wallet,” per BCEagles.com.
Each year that Jarmond has served as BC’s AD, the average attendance at Alumni Stadium has increased. During 2017, the school filled, on average, 80.7 percent of Alumni Stadium’s 44,500 seats. This past season, it filled, on average, 84.5 percent of Alumni—a 12.2 percent increase from the 2016 season. The Eagles’ recent success is surely a factor, but Jarmond’s enhancements can’t be overlooked.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff