In the brand new $278-million Mosaic Stadium there is lots of green and . . . pardon me? What did you say?
Lots of noise. Lots and lots of noise.
The seats are green. The artificial turf is green. The stadium’s exterior is mainly green. Pil Country, a party section in the north end zone, is really green! The Riders wear green and so do their fans, attired in hats and jerseys and watermelons, who don’t take kindly to anyone sporting rival colours. And it gets so loud inside Mosaic Stadium with the cheering spectators, the promotions, the announcements and the pumped-up music that parts of conversations get totally wiped out.
The stadium was designed that way: With an overhanging roof that reduces the wind inside the stadium, it also captures most of the sound and redirects it toward the field. Using a cell-phone app to register the noise level, it measured 122 decibels during parts of the Roughriders’ sold-out, home-opening, 43-40 overtime loss on Canada Day against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. That’s close to the decibels generated by a nearby thunderclap (120) or a balloon popping (125), but according to one chart it’s less than the 130-decibel maximum produced at other sporting events held in an outdoor facility.
With most of the 33,350 fans wearing Rider green, the crowd naturally was loudest when the home team was playing well. And the patrons showed extra interest in the University of Regina Rams 50/50 tally being shown on the scoreboard; helped by an unclaimed jackpot from the 2016 finale at Taylor Field, ticket sales hit $554,000. After Hall of Fame kicker Dave Ridgway, best remembered for Saskatchewan’s game-winning field goal in the 1989 Grey Cup game, smoothly swung through a ceremonial kickoff, the home team jumped to a 17-3 lead. Bedlam!
In celebration of Canada Day, the CFL honoured great players from all nine franchises with commemorative t-shirts to be worn during warmups and on the sidelines. The Riders feted Number 34, Hall of Fame fullback George Reed. Reed had recovered well enough from a recent hospital stay to attend the game; he received a loud ovation when shown on the stadium’s giant — the size of two basketball courts! — video board. Some fans afterwards expressed displeasure that head coach Chris Jones wore his traditional all-black garb rather than the white Number 34 shirt, but only half of the CFL’s coaches donned their team’s commemorative shirts during their respective weekend games,
Anyway, the pro-Rider noise subsided as Winnipeg rallied and took a 37-23 lead early in the fourth quarter. But it boomed again as Riders quarterback Kevin Glenn threw touchdown passes to Nic Demski and Naaman Roosevelt, forcing overtime.
There seem to be no bad seats inside Mosaic Stadium. There are some nooks and crannies, where rows of two or three seats are wedged in, but the main sections have longer rows. The lower stairways are wide and gradual, while the up-top sections get a little steep and scary, especially where there is only a small handrail to grab. The concourses are wide open and bright, offering opportunities to walk around the entire facility and to stop almost anywhere for a peek at the game.
Luxury boxes, the press box, the Roughriders’ locker room, elevators, ramps and walkways all seem perfect, although the visitors’ locker room could use some expanded amenities. There are a few internal issues being worked on, such as washroom usage and concession lineups, plus there’s an ongoing debate about Molson lightening up its exclusivity deal so craft brewers can sell beer inside the stadium. While some people remain concerned with parking and bus service, it’s evident the people who designed Mosaic Stadium asked lots of questions on their tours to other stadiums around North America.
The only significant flaw at new Mosaic: they didn’t make the goal-post uprights wide enough apart … just ask Rider kicker Tyler Crapigna.