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New upgrades worth the price of admission

Sections of bleachers on the east side were replaced with chair-back seats in addition to a new scoreboard and replacement of the track, which went from red to silver during the renovation at Mackay Stadium.
THOMAS RANSON / LVN |

There hasn’t been much magic in Mackay Stadium lately.

The Wolf Pack football team didn’t lose often at home and has a quite a few memorable comebacks that still resonate with the fans. The attendance woes and complaints grew as many watched Nevada struggled in the new conference.

But a major facelift on campus is now complete, sending wavelengths of excitement to the program and community. The university completed its upgrades to the seating, added a new club level and enhanced the game-day experience with an updated videoboard and sound system.

You won’t be disappointed when Nevada takes on Cal Poly tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Gone are most of the bleachers on the west side of the stadium. Permanent chair-back seating now occupies that void, leaving a couple sections with bleachers. On the other side of the field, two of the five lower sections now have chair-back seating.

Also new on the west side is the 8,000-square-foot club level that bridges the West Stadium Parking Garage and Mackay. It’s impressive and you forget that you’re at a sports venue, making it a great option for hosting events. A mural featuring ex-Wolf Pack greats, a bar, full-service kitchen and restrooms welcome you as you pass through the double-doors. Many TVs hang throughout the club and will feature the same feed as the new scoreboard display.

However, not all the fans will get a chance to experience the new club level or new seat upgrades as less than a quarter of the capacity was affected.

But the stadium makes up for this with upgrades to the videoboard, which is now 64 feet wide by 36 feet tall and boasts 1.5 million pixels, making it the best high-definition display in college football. Clearer and crisper video will be easily noticeable, which will also help the football team watching replays and debating about challenging a play. You’ll be able to even read coach Brian Polian’s lips when he’s arguing a call.

The audio gets an equivalent upgrade, too. A new surround sound system was installed as 16 speakers sit on the press box and suites part of the stadium. Think of it as the biggest sound bar you will ever see and hear.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the new seats or scoreboard, the most pleasing upgrade is the track. It’s a subtle change. Instead of eight red lanes surround the field, it’s now a silver track with “Nevada Wolf Pack” printed on both straightaways. The silver matches with the bleachers and when you sit back, it’s easy to forget that there’s a track in the stadium.

Also subtle is the widening of the aisles and installing handrails and adding ADA seating and ramps. There’s also an electronic ticker that runs between the two decks on the east side.

With all the new upgrades to the stadium, it will be worth it to buy a ticket just to experience the new game-day experience. A winning Wolf Pack team will be a bonus but hopefully the new excitement will bring life back into the 50-year-old stadium and restore the Mackay magic.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports@yahoo.com.