Another big step forward for the City of Regina’s new Mosaic Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the first ever event held in the new 33,000 seat stadium.
On a sunny Saskatchewan fall afternoon, the University Regina Rams beat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 37-29 in front of a Canada West record 16,500 people. Even though the game was entertaining, as the Rams have been all season, the real reason most people came to the game was the check out the new digs.
Unlike the current Mosaic Stadium, when you first enter the facility at ground level, you’re not actually at the bottom of the stadium. This makes access to the lower bowl much easier and means less of a climb for fans that will be making their way to the upper deck when that portion of the building eventually opens.
One of the biggest upgrades you’ll notice when you get to your seat, is it’s actually a seat. Even though the seats aren’t cushioned they are plenty comfortable without having to bring your own seat pad like for the benches at the Taylor Field. As a bonus, there’s also cupholders and plenty of room for even a big guy like me.
Walking around the stadium there didn’t appear to be a bad seat in the house.
The partial roof is supposed to be a new state of the art kind of roof. Adjustments are apparently going to be possible to deal with wind, which has been known to happen in Saskatchewan. Since this was just a test event without all of the bells and whistles of the new stadium, the roof might not have a full effect just yet as the near 30 km/h wind certainly made it’s presence felt on the field and in the stands.
The biggest bell and whistle isn’t up and running just yet as this massive new video board isn’t operational at the moment. It was well known coming in that the Maxtron wasn’t going to be up and running yet but seeing just how big it is in person is impressive. This picture was taken from the two rows below the concourse level in the south end zone standing area and the screen still barely fit in the frame.
There was definitely a few glitches with the sound early on, most notably from the mic on the head referee. Some fans online also commented on sound not travelling as well to the ends of the stadium. These are pretty standard issues in new stadiums and hosting an event like this will help them iron out the wrinkles before the Riders open the facility officially next season. I remember being at Tim Horton’s Field at one of the first games there and the sound wasn’t that great either but it’s since been fixed.
Another thing you’ll notice right away about New Mosaic Stadium is the space. As expected, the concourses are much wider but just how much they can handle will be tested when all 33,000 people are there compared to the half capacity for this game.
What’s really good about the concourse is there are plenty of areas to stand and watch the game beyond the section in the south end zone. This is a big part of stadiums today as people like to socialize with family and friends on top of watching the game.
The concession choices were limited for the test event with some local vendors brought in. If this is a sign of things to come when the real concession stands are ready, fans should have plenty of choice beyond the usual fare. It’s always good to bring brands the community recognizes into sporting facilities now, whether the restaurants at this game will be there next season has yet to be seen, but it’s a good sign. Hopefully some local beer is offered up as well.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have to use the facilities, so a review of the washrooms will have to wait. I’ve been told it’s a huge upgrade, which isn’t hard if you’ve ever had to go at Taylor Field.
Overall, it seems like the City of Regina and it’s contractors have hit this project out of the park. To date, it remains on-time and on-budget, something that can’t always be said for projects of this magnitude.
The first event went off with seemingly few hiccups, which is a good sign for the next test event which has yet to be announced and of course, the Riders making their move next season.
All in all, this a stadium that Regina, the province and fans of football in Canada should definitely be proud of. If you didn’t think Taylor Field needed to be replaced, stepping foot in the new building across the street will definitely change your mind.