At the Nov. 5 home game against Iowa, Penn State will announce the name of an act that will change the history of the venue with a July 8, 2017, performance.
“It is the first concert event at Beaver Stadium,” said Phil Esten, Penn State deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer for Intercollegiate Athletics.
That’s right. Since it opened in 1960, the stadium has never hosted a non-Penn State event. But preparations have been a while in the making.
“We’ve been discussing it since (athletic director) Sandy (Barbour) arrived. We’ve been discussing not just Beaver Stadium, but ways to use all of our facilities as general assets, not just to the athletic program but the community,” Esten said.
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The closer look at those properties has been front and center for months, including ideas about renovating the football team’s home.
Part of that has included a look at alcohol. In May, the Penn State board of trustees gave the nod to getting a liquor license for the stadium and Pegula Ice Arena, strictly for non-Penn State events. Pegula hosted its first, an NHL preseason game featuring the Buffalo Sabres and the Minnesota Wild, where alcohol was served.
“We had zero alcohol-related incidents,” Esten said. “The license also allows us to have it in controlled spaces (like suites). We have not done that this year in Beaver Stadium, but we will in the future, probably.”
“It is common practice among Penn State’s peers to allow for the sale of alcohol for attracting headlining performing acts and major, professional sporting events to athletic venues. In fact, our venues have been at a disadvantage in gaining the sign-on of such attractions, and it is possible to have alcohol served in a safe and responsible manner,” David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business, said in May.
The Bryce Jordan Center, next door to Beaver Stadium, hosts university basketball games and is a large concert venue. Spokesman Bernard Punt said the Jordan Center is the site of about 20-25 concert tours and 30-35 nonathletic events annually.
That will not be happening at Beaver Stadium. Esten said concerts would be more of a once-a-year activity.