On Monday, East Carolina University athletic director Jon Gilbert gave members of the media a private tour of several newly renovated athletic areas including the new luxury suites and TowneBank Tower in Dowdy-Ficklen stadium.
“It's finally here, we’re excited about it and I think it is really going to transform our game day experience,” Gilbert said.
Although not all of the improvements are completely finished, they are expected to be completed by this coming Friday.
The luxury boxes have several differences spanning from covered outdoor seats and buffet access to a fully air conditioned room with a working fridge, kitchen and bathroom.
There are approximately 530 seats at the basic club level, where fans will have availability to food, drinks and a new sports bar which serves alcoholic beverages.
“I continue to think that this is one of those areas we will rent out for weddings and parties and other social events, and I really do look at this tower as a community aspect,” Gilbert said.
For fans that are interested in purchasing tickets on the club level, Gilbert said that they have about 150 seats left to sell in this area as of August 13, so there is still an opportunity to get tickets.
The loge boxes are more luxurious with each ticket getting four seats that are covered from the elements and have a refrigerator right behind the seats. Out of the 22 total loge seats, only two are left since August 13, and they are $12,000 for the season.
Aside from the luxury areas of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, ECU also updated Minges Coliseum and the training facilities that student athletes frequent. Minges has a brand new court design, including the ECU Pirate logo and the new crossbones branding pattern that is a part of the athletic department’s rebranding effort.
“I think aesthetically, it (the new court design) lightens the arena up, it lightens the court up, and we should be doing this every couple of years.”
The court has been updated with the new NCAA men’s basketball three-point line, which is further back and in line at the international level of play. The line is moving from 20.9 feet to a little more than 22 feet.
Gilbert emphasized his strong feelings about branding and felt that if a fan is walking around one of the hallways in Minges, they should see several ECU logos or something that clearly conveys that they are in an ECU stadium.
He mentioned how he thought many hallways and walls seemed barren, and without some amounts of purple and gold on the ceiling, spectators would have no clue that they were at ECU.
Gilbert and the athletic department are looking to change that, and are on a branding campaign to facilitate Pirate pride and to make the various athletic venues and areas more aesthetically pleasing.
Although the current renovations are being wrapped up, expect to some many improvements to ECU athletic facilities in the future. According to Gilbert, him and his staff have no intention of slowing down any time soon.