The historic Yale Bowl, which celebrated its centennial last season, is set to undergo several changes this year.
Most notably, temporary lights will be installed in order to provide lighting during this year’s Game, which is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m., later than usual. In addition, other changes will make the bowl more usable during the winter months.
“We’ll be asked to turn on all of the lights in our facilities around the Bowl, so that would be Johnson Field, and we have lights on our practice fields, and Clint Frank Field has lights, so we’ll turn on all of our lights in Reese Stadium, et cetera,” Director of Athletics Tom Beckett said. “And we’ll add lights in parking areas where needed.”
According to Associate Director of Athletics Sports Publicity Steve Conn, the Ivy League Office approached Yale with NBC’s request to push kickoff back by an hour and a half. As a result, much of the second half will be played in darkness.
NBC told the league that NBC would cover the cost of the lights, Conn said, after being reminded that the Bowl currently lacks them. Musco Sports Lighting will be working with NBC Sports to install the temporary lighting, Beckett said.
Scottie Rodgers, associate executive director of communications and external relations at the Ivy League, declined to comment on the ongoing discussions between NBC Sports and Yale Athletics.
Jason Van Wyk, the communications coordinator at Musco, said that NBC and Musco had previously communicated about the lights. Van Wyk added, however, that Musco reached out earlier this year to follow up on the project but has yet to receive any new information from NBC.
Additionally, the Hartford Courant reported on Aug. 18 that the renovation will include adding a 65-foot-high protective bubble roof and replacing the field’s grass with turf. The roof and turf will protect the field throughout harsh Connecticut winters and turn it into a year-round facility available for use by other teams, including soccer and lacrosse. These changes, football head coach Tony Reno told the Courant, will allow more students to play games in the Bowl. It also opens up the possibility of renting the Bowl out for non-athletic events. Construction for the proposed changes would not begin until after the football season and would not be complete until 2016.
However, the Yale Athletics Department declined to comment on the purported changes, stating that the project is still under review. Beckett was able to confirm that this review process will occur throughout the fall.
The Yale Bowl last underwent a renovation before the 2006 season, when the exterior retaining wall and many of the portals were updated and the scoreboards replaced.