Penn State Asks: Will You Wear a Mask at Beaver Stadium this fall?

Mark Wogenrich

Will you wear a mask at Beaver Stadium? How comfortable will you be tailgating? And do you want to pay for items with cash?

Penn State is asking football season-ticket holders questions like these as part of an extensive survey regarding the expected return to Beaver Stadium this fall. The feedback will help shape what kind of experience fans will see.

Penn State announced plans for bringing football players back to campus beginning June 8. In a subsequent email to season-ticket holders, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour called the decision "the first step in what we anticipate will be a full return of Penn State Athletics this fall."

The survey covered a broad range of topics, from safety to concessions to tailgating to fan expectations. So what does Penn State want to know before the season? Here's a sampling from the survey.

What factors will influence fans' decisions to return?

Penn State asked ticket-holders to rate several deciding factors on a scale of 1-5. Among them: personal age and health, whether a successful treatment or reliable testing are available for COVID-19 and what precautionary measures will be in place at Beaver Stadium.

What's important about the gameday experience?

Penn State asked fans to rate their reasons for attending games. Among them are tailgating, FanFest and team-arrival activities, concessions and merchandise, spending time with family and friends and simply watching the game in person. Tailgaiting will be a point to watch, as most season-ticket holders likely will make that a priority.

What's important regarding health and safety?

Should Penn State require, perhaps even provide, face masks to fans? Should stadium staff be required to wear masks and/or gloves? And should Penn State encourage physical distancing with plexiglass dividers and spacing markers?

How do you want to pay?

Mobile-ticketing likely will be expanded, or even instituted completely. But Penn State also asked whether fans want more contactless options to buy concessions and merchandise. Also, do they even want to use cash?

When will you be comfortable attending a game?

September? October? November? Fall 2021? Penn State asked fans to grade each period (from extremely uncomfortable to extremely comfortable) based on the current status of COVID-19.

Considering the survey's depth, Penn State is exploring a variety of options for resuming football at Beaver Stadium this fall. It's reassuring, though, that the athletic department seeks input from fans to shape that experience.

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