Penn State’s Phil Esten talks ‘Happy Valley Jam’ ticket sales, Beaver Stadium, and more
WILLIAMSPORT- A new firm will provide security for Penn State home football games this fall.
Whelan Security of St. Louis has been awarded the contract, deputy athletic director Phil Esten said Thursday at the Coaches Caravan Stop in Williamsport. Whelan provided security at the Blue-White game, he said.
When asked why the change, he answered from time to time with third-party partnerships the university puts them out to market.
In this case several companies responded to a request for proposals and Whelan was chosen, adding that the company has been successful in providing security in markets similar to Penn State’s.
Esten blamed long lines last year at Beaver Stadium gates to “wanding” ticket holders for the first time.
It is requiring behavioral changes for fans in that they need to arrive at the gates earlier to avoid lines, he said.
On another topic, he said ticket sales for the July 7 Happy Valley Jam that features Blake Sheldon and other country stars are doing real well but he did not have specifics.
“I would expect in the next month, month and a half we’ll see some things ramp up,” he said.
Asked if ticket sales are reaching the benchmark to consider similar events in the future, Epsten responded: “I think so.”
Other opportunities for Beaver Stadium that are being looked at include more concerts, international soccer or professional hockey.
“One of the biggest things we are really trying to study and assess with the concert is how we set it up,” he said. “We haven’t done this before.”
The recently released master plan for improvements to Penn State’s athletics facilities does not include updates to Beaver Stadium in the first five years.
“The more we’ve discussed this with fans, the more they understand why it is not necessarily in the first five years,” Epsten said.
It is such a large-scale project with a 107,000-seat stadium, he said. It will take time to design and identify money for amenities that could include wider concourses, improved restrooms and chair-back seats.