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Nevada aims to improve Mackay Stadium game-day experience with these changes

Nevada football
Nevada football is making tweaks to its game-day experience to try and improve attendance for the 2021 season. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)

Nevada football launched its football season-ticket renewal process Friday by unveiling a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the gameday experience at Mackay Stadium while increasing attendance for the Wolf Pack's biggest revenue program.

Among the changes are:

* A new tailgating experience called the "We Are Nevada Fan Zone" near Jensen Plaza north of Mackay Stadium that will include food trucks and live entertainment.

* Relocating the band and student section to the south end zone and southeast corner to improve the environment inside the stadium (the band and fans used to be located in the north end zone).

* A revamped in-game production with new videoboard features, promotions, giveaways and fan experiences.

* Decreased ticket prices as Nevada has lowered the cost of tickets in 100 percent of the seating areas in Mackay while offering different payment plan models.

* Full digital ticketing to make the sales and transfer process more efficient.

* Reduced costs on some concession items throughout the stadium and increased efficiencies to purchase concessions.

* A new customer service initiative called "Ask Alphie" aimed at making parking and stadium maps more accessible while answering questions and providing service for Wolf Pack fans.

"Our administration is really taking a step back and really looking at our game-day experience for our fans," Nevada football coach Jay Norvell said earlier this month before spring camp began. "I can't unveil all the things we're talking about right now, but I do believe we're looking at moving our student section and moving our band because your game-day atmosphere is directly related to your students. Those are positive things. We're looking at some things with food trucks on game day. We're really looking at the game-day experience as a social event where people can tailgate, be with their friends and enjoy an affordable day out. Those are things we're looking at as an administration embracing bringing our fan base back to Mackay."

Season-ticket holders from 2019 should receive a 2021 Nevada football season-ticket brochure via email Friday with instructions on how to renew tickets online. Those with questions can contact the ticket office at 775-348-7225 or email New season-ticket holders can place a hold on tickets for the 2021 season with a $50 deposit here.

Nevada said the changes are a result of feedback from fan surveys in previous seasons. Complete details are still being finalized and more enhancements are planned for coming seasons.

The Wolf Pack is working with local health officials to determine capacity at Mackay Stadium for the Silver and Blue Spring Game on May 1. Those who renew their season tickets or place a deposit on new season tickets will have first availability at purchasing a ticket for the spring game.

The Wolf Pack has struggled to draw at Mackay Stadium over the last decade, seeing its season-ticket base drop from a program-best 12,783 fans in 2013 to 7,877 fans in 2019 (Nevada did not allow more than 250 fans at games last year due to COVID-19 restrictions). In 2019, the last year of full capacity allowance, Nevada drew only 97,080 fans for six games, its third-lowest figure since 2002, and lowest since announcing tickets distributed rather than actual attendance starting in 2012. The Wolf Pack's 16,180 fans per game in 2019 ranked 10th out of 12 Mountain West teams, ahead of only New Mexico and San Jose State.

Nevada is coming off a 7-2 season in 2020 and is one of the preseason favorites to win the MW in 2021. The Wolf Pack opens the 2021 season on Sept. 4 at Cal with the home opener Sept. 11 against Idaho State. Nevada's home schedule includes games with Idaho State (Sept. 11), New Mexico State (Oct. 9), Hawaii (Oct. 16), UNLV (Oct. 30), San Jose State (Nov. 6) and Air Force (Nov. 20).

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