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New and Gold Game allows fans to preview new stadium features

| Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The University opened the renovated Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday with the New and Gold Game, a scrimmage open to the public that simulated a real game day experience. The New and Gold Game was a chance for those in attendance to preview new stadium features such as video board, renovated concourses and new benches in the general seating area.

For the Notre Dame cheerleaders, Sunday’s scrimmage also offered the opportunity for new members to adjust to performing in front of a crowd and returning members to get back into the atmosphere of the season. Senior cheerleader MaryKatherine Nagengast said she appreciated being able to cheerlead during a football game without the pressure of performing in front of a television audience in addition to the live crowd.

“The scrimmage was awesome,” she said. “It was a good opportunity for us to train our new-coming cheerleaders. … It’s a great opportunity for us to get back to why we love cheerleading, and just get back to the fun of it instead of worrying about the cameras and everyone watching. And you just get to do what you love.”

Senior and Notre Dame leprechaun Joe Fennessy said his favorite aspect of the scrimmage was seeing the special features the video board offers for home football games.

“One thing I thought was great was [at the New and Gold game] you could see a little bit of everything,” he said. “They had behind-the-scenes stuff about some of the players — so the crowd is getting to really know the players they love even more. You’ve got little fans in the crowd that they’re showing on the jumbotron — that’s cool. You see a little girl in a little cheerleading uniform with her poms, and you can see how young it starts for people who love this school. So that was really exciting.”

The video board will connect the fans — particularly the student section — with the action on the field, as well as the band’s and the cheerleaders’ attempts to excite the crowd, Fennessy said.

“I can’t wait until that video board gets going and whips the crowd into a frenzy,” he said. “I know they’ve got some surprises in store for us, [and] I think at night games it’s going to be huge. … As a cheerleader — as the leprechaun — it’s really exciting, the idea of working with the video board to get the student section going, get the crowd louder. I think, done right, we can really work together with everyone so I’m excited about it.”

The close-up nature of the footage on the video board, Nagengast said, will make Notre Dame football games a more “personal” experience.

“I think it’ll make it more personal, if anything,” she said. “Just because you get to see and hear better what’s going down on the field and … you get to be down on the field with them. So I think it’s going to make it a closer, more personal experience.”

While some fans might be worried that any changes to Notre Dame Stadium would take away from the historic Notre Dame football game experience, Fennessy said fans shouldn’t be worried about losing the essence of the University.

“Everything seems really well done, top-notch, but also keeping the tradition of Notre Dame,” he said. “I’ve been able to see the locker rooms and some of the concourses, the new benches and my personal favorite [new feature] is the opposing tunnel. … While it’s definitely a big change, it does not get away from what Notre Dame is all about.”

If fans embrace the changes, Fennessy said, the game day experience could end up being improved.

“I just hope everyone comes out excited,” he said. “Change can be a little scary, but I hope people embrace it and at the end of the day it’s just another opportunity to show off our love for Notre Dame.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a senior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, who recently wrapped up her year as Editor-in-Chief. She is a former resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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