BLACKSBURG, Va. – Football is back and no doubt, fans are excited. That was evident Friday as Hokie Nation packed a sold-out Lane Stadium for the first time since 2019 in a season-opener game against UNC.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Virginia Tech is facing new challenges and officials are promising to take action. This comes after concerns from fans about safety and overall experience at Friday’s game.
One season ticket holder told 10 News she spent almost two hours navigating through a sea of unmasked people to get to her seat. When she finally did, the section was taken over by college students.
Virginia Tech students also voiced their concerns, saying at one point, security stopped checking tickets and fans roamed the stadium.
The university issued an apology Tuesday that, in part, referenced students and fan conduct, student seating, concession stands and lines at the gates as some of the main concerns expressed by Hokie fans.
Below is the full statement directed to Hokie Nation on Tuesday:
Dear Virginia Tech Fans,
While Friday night was a wonderful moment for Virginia Tech on a national stage, it also exposed a variety of challenges that need immediate attention to be rectified. On a broad scale, these issues include, but are not limited to, student and fan conduct, student seating, concession stands, lines at the gates, as well as other items.
All of the Virginia Tech community and administration are aware of the negative experience these issues may have caused. Please allow us to apologize. We take it seriously that our responsibility is to provide a first-class experience that exists nowhere other than Blacksburg.
Our entire staff continues to work through all available solutions with all parties involved and will update all stakeholders later this week with plans to improve the game day experience. We will work to make you proud.
Since the apology, Virginia Tech issued a statement regarding changes that will be made for Lane Stadium gamedays on Wednesday.
“We apologize to anyone who did not have a tremendous experience. We’ve heard you, we witnessed much of it first-hand, and we are working diligently to rectify it. Thank you for your support as we continue to improve,” officials said in the statement.
Changes include the separation of the students and the general public, reducing concessions wait times and improving entry gates and ticketing.
University officials made moves to clearly define the areas assigned to students, the general public and season ticket holders by issuing the following measures:
- The entrance to Gate 7 will be completely reworked, but will still allow the first 5,000 students to enter the North Endzone stands and the remaining students to move to the East stands.
- Seat tarps will be added to student sections 25 and 27 to clearly define where student can and cannot sit.
- Wristbands will be utilized for students who enter at the North Endzone, so students are encouraged to come early to the games.
Menu options at the concession stands will be reduced in an effort to expedite the lines.
For Saturday’s game, gates will open at noon, which is two hours before kickoff, and guests are asked to download mobile tickets by Friday or earlier.
Customer service will be located at Gates 2 and 4 to help any guests having issues.
Click here for Virginia Tech’s full statement regarding game day changes.