DES MOINES, Iowa -- It has been a little over 25 years since Drake University opened the Knapp Center, and the school thinks now is the time for some substantial changes. Some will be very obvious, some more subtle, but all are improving the experience for fans.
Drake University has to compete with other schools in the state like Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. But they also have to compete with people’s own living rooms! Many times, people are more comfortable sitting on their couch to watch the game. Drake wants to change that mindset and bring people back into the stands.
Drake will become the first school in Iowa to make beer available to all ticket holders at its basketball games. Iowa State and the University of Iowa sell beer to limited people with special tickets and in reserved sections. There will be two sections inside Knapp Center that will prohibit alcohol, the student section and directly across the court in a family section. Beer will only be sold to fans of legal drinking age.
“We’ll increase our police presence, we’ll redistribute security that are in the building. We want to make sure that, we’ll have I.D. scanners so that fake I.D.’s won’t be able to get through. We’ve tried to think through a lot of different steps here that will provide for the best game day atmospheres as we can,” Drake University Athletics Director Brian Hardin said.
Beer sales aren’t the only new feature this year. Knapp Center has a brand-new court and lighting system. The lights are able to turn on instantaneously and features four different settings of a light show.
The concession stands also got an upgrade this year and will feature some lower prices. There will be 15 items at less than $5 and 7 items at less than $3, and for the second year they are bringing back Chick Fil-A to the concession stand.
Hardin said Drake has a different level of competition than neighboring schools as well as a different level of expectation from fans. He said these additions are just a reaction to that.
“This is a way for us to enhance the experience for fans who have been coming to the Knapp Center for years and decades in some cases and it`s obviously an opportunity to maybe invite in a new set of fans that haven`t visited the Knapp Center before,” Hardin said.
The men’s season opener is Thursday night and for $15, fans will receive a ticket to Thursday night’s game, a ticket to a future game, an official `Des Moines` Hometown Team` t-shirt and a small popcorn.
To order the Hometown Team Starter Kit, use promo code HOMETOWN at DrakeTix.com/promo