STATESBORO — With the kickoff of the 2015 Georgia Southern football season now less than two months away, Paulson Stadium is once again undergoing some renovation.
This summer’s work at “The Prettiest Little Stadium in America” is a far cry from last season’s addition of a second deck on the north stands and the construction of the Ted Smith Family Football Center, but will still make for a better game-day experience for some Eagle fans. Currently, crews are working to resurface the roof on top of the press box, as well as sealing up windows and improving the air conditioning to those areas.
“We’re working with the university to improve those suites.” GSU Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein said. “For lack of a better term, we’re trying to leak-proof those areas and make it more comfortable for everyone.”
These improvements come on the heels of an announcement in June that a new luxury tailgating option will make its way to Paulson Stadium this season.
Georgia Southern Sports Properties is teaming up with Gameday Traditions to bring a 400-square-foot mini mansion — complete with televisions, wet bar, private bathroom and outdoor patio area — to fans who want to earn some style points for their tailgate.
Depending on the interest shown this season, Klienlein said that the luxury tailgate options could become permanent fixtures moving forward. Kleinlein also lauded the fact that nearly every high-end seating option inside the stadium has already sold out for 2015.
“We’ve seen that the demand for higher-end options is there,” Kleinlein said. “That’s something where we might look into expanding in the future. But one of our main goals is offering something for everyone. We have these V.I.P. options, but we’re also proud of the fact that we’ve expanded and improved student seating and can offer ticket packages for anyone who wants to come watch a game.”
In terms of overall ticket sales, the Georgia Southern ticket office reported Tuesday that season ticket sales were just shy of the 2014 total and expected to surpass last season by September.
Searching for a voice
Chris Blair will return to the booth for his 10th season as the play-by-play voice of Georgia Southern, but this fall will be his last in Statesboro as he prepares to take over the microphone at LSU beginning in 2016.
While Eagle football broadcasts will sound exactly the same this season — with Terry Harvin joining Blair in the booth and Ryan Chambers providing sideline coverage — the wheels are already turning in the process of finding the Eagles’ new voice.
“There have already been a tremendous amount of people applying for the job,” Kleinlein said. “Learfield owns the rights to our broadcasts, but we’ll be working together to make sure that we get the best fit for our fans and for our school.”
The times, they are a’changin’
Last season, Georgia Southern scheduled its three Saturday home games for matching 6 p.m. kickoff times.
This time around, things will shake up a bit. The Eagles will kick off at 6 p.m. once again for their games against Western Michigan (Sept. 12), The Citadel (Sept. 19) and New Mexico State (Oct. 17). The Oct. 29 against against Texas State — which will be televised nationally on ESPNU — will begin at the same 7:30 p.m. time as last season’s midweek games.
The end of the season will see a pair of afternoon kickoffs. Georgia Southern’s Nov. 28 game against South Alabama and its regular-season finale against Georgia State on Dec. 5 will both begin at 2 p.m.
“We looked at the attendance numbers from last season and are trying something a little different,” Kleinlein said. “Early in the season, when it’s still warm, night games are what works best for Georgia Southern.
“But at the end of the season, we’re dealing with Thanksgiving weekend and the beginning of finals for students. We think that an earlier start is the best way to get the most people possible out to the games.”