How Syracuse prepared for the biggest week in recent SU Athletics memory

first_img Published on February 21, 2019 at 12:06 am Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+ College GameDay brings a production staff of 65 of its own, and will arrive via bus Friday, Sala said. The production will require SU to add a number of different sound, light and camera systems. SU will even add a spider cam, a camera system that enables film and television cameras to move vertically and horizontally over a designated area.The Duke game is the first event in a series of three-straight Carrier Dome changeovers, with SU women’s and men’s lacrosse set to play back-to-back games on Sunday, the Notre Dame women’s basketball matchup on Monday and a women’s lacrosse game on Wednesday. “Pete was a magician at the changeover,” Gross said. “Flipping the Dome over wasn’t something that was foreign to us at all. That was just how we lived.”While Gross said 2014’s Syracuse-Duke game was one of the most memorable moments of his basketball fandom, Wildhack said his intention with this weekend is to stretch to communities outside of SU. With as many people in the area as there will be, Wildhack imagined the possibilities for shops, restaurants and local businesses. Then, he envisioned the Carrier Dome to be packed Saturday.“You get 35,000 people in Orange. You want to talk about a visual? You want to talk about a memory?” Wildhack asked. “That will be a memory.” Five years ago, Syracuse’s first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Orange were riding an undefeated men’s basketball season and were the top-ranked team in the nation. SU left the Big East and yearly matchups with some of its most storied rivals, but in the docket for that weekend was a new threat: Duke.Through the logistics and talks for the game, ESPN College GameDay’s presence and even the T-Shirts, Syracuse’s former Athletics Director Daryl Gross sensed the momentum, at the time.The Orange would already welcome the largest on-campus basketball crowd in history, so why not aim for more?“The Duke game would have been the game to do it,” Gross said of the potential of moving SU’s basketball court to the center of the Dome. “It was a one-time deal.”Syracuse didn’t make the change but the Carrier Dome still welcomed a record 35,446 people to the game. The next year against Duke, they opted against moving the court again. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNow, in 2019, Syracuse looks to break its five-year long attendance record as part of one of the biggest SU Athletics weekends in recent memory, Syracuse Athletics Director John Wildhack said. The week-long stretch from Wednesday, Feb. 20 to Wednesday, Feb. 27 features seven SU Athletics events in the Carrier Dome, two potential basketball attendance records and three Dome changeovers from the facilities staff.Kaci Wasilewski | Asst. Digital EditorThe previous Carrier Dome basketball attendance record is expected to be bested by eight attendees for the Orange’s matchup against the No. 1 Blue Devils. SU added four seats beside both the home and visitor benches, a move that was imitated from many programs around the country, Wildhack said. Wildhack added that the Carrier Dome women’s basketball record (11,051), which is expected to be set in No. 18 Syracuse’s Monday matchup with No. 6 Notre Dame, could be broken by more than 1,000 attendees. The most-recent figure for tickets sold was 10,000. But Wildhack said SU Athletics is “comfortably” expecting a record-setting crowd.“I think we’re on track to take that number and beat it significantly,” Wildhack said. “Significantly.”SU marketed the Notre Dame women’s basketball game — which will air on ESPN2 as a part of its “Big Monday” coverage, the first time women’s basketball will be featured — well after the Duke men’s basketball matchup was sold out. “We want to set an attendance record for the women’s game National TV,” Wildhack said. “Let’s show the nation we’re a great basketball community, not just a great men’s basketball community.”Talia Trackim | Digital Design DirectorChanging the Carrier Dome floor from a lacrosse field to a basketball court, and vice-versa, is not something out of the ordinary for the Dome facilities staff. The Carrier Dome floor has been changed over 19 times in the past month, Syracuse Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala said Tuesday. The process of changing over the floor typically begins immediately after the stands are cleared following an event that uses either the Carrier Dome basketball court or turf field. To set up for basketball, the workers have to cover 87,000 square feet of the Carrier Dome turf field with blue-square floorboards. The floorboards are separated on 175 palettes with each covering about 497 square feet. Workers lay down the palettes and multiple forklifts are used to haul the stands from the West end of the Carrier Dome as a courtside section for basketball games. The actual court is constructed from 15-by-14 rows, or 210 hardwood pieces. With the addition of ESPN’s College GameDay’s attendance at the game, an ESPN feature presentation that travels to campuses around the country for marquee college basketball and football matchups, the logistics were further complicated. Commentslast_img

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