Sports Law • Risk Management

December 29, 2010: Guest Gridlock in Nippert Stadium

Probably the worst thing about attending big sporting events is the crowds, that is if the crowds create gridlock. One of the worst experiences of gridlock I have encountered is in the University of Cincinnati’s football stadium where the success of the football team in recent years has often drawn sold out crowds.

The University of Cincinnati football stadium, Nippert Stadium, is strategically located in the center of campus where the field is dug out so that fans walk in to an impressive view from the top of the stadium. Nippert Stadium has been around since 1902, which makes it the fifth-oldest college football stadium. Even though the facility has undergone expansion in the last century, the layout of the stadium still could be improved to increase the movement of crowds.

One of the most troublesome areas for crowd congestion is in front of the concession stand closest to the student section. The concession stand faces the football field so, theoretically, if it were not so crowded, fans could watch the game while they wait in line for food and beer. The concessions also neighbor one of the stadium entrance points. Fans who use this entrance must walk in front of the concession stand to reach their seats on the opposite side of the concession stand. Needless to say this area gets so congested with people that it is nearly impossible for a person to get through.

A simple solution to this congestion is to reverse the window for the concession stand. In other words, the same concession building can still be used but the window facing the football field should be bricked up and a new window reopened on the back wall farthest from the field. By moving the concession window, lines for concessions can stack up away from the stadium walkway for those finding their seats. Crowd frustration can be minimized and decrease crowd control issues. Furthermore, the University of Cincinnati could also have a television airing the games inside of the concession stand to reduce anxiety of fans waiting in line. Solutions to guest gridlock, like those in Nippert Stadium, may be resolved by redirecting the flow of the crowds.