It started off with a free lunch, as most things media related do. Feed the guys writing about you and put them in a good mood. There was no need for the buttering up, as the product Baylor was selling is the soon to be new home for the Baylor Bears football program; McLane Stadium.
Pulling up to the media entrance, you could see that there was still plenty of work to do in the next two weeks. Landscaping is in progress, though not nearly done, and there were several secondary roads around the stadium that were not fully set yet.
Inside the stadium was an entirely different story. This is a 99% finished product, with just some last minute painting and finishing touches to be done. We started out in the recruiting room, which is located right next to the field, and adjacent from the players entrance for pregame warmups. The room is a bright green with gold and white accents. It is bright and colorful and very interactive. There are several 55-inch televisions on each wall, highlighted by an entire wall covered in televisions.
During our tour, they turned the music down, but when walking in, you could hear that bass pumping, and you quickly remember that this is a room for teenagers. The TV's were all set to sports channels, with the main TV showing Baylor highlights. Some of the televisions will have videogames, but that was not setup yet.
The view from the recruiting room is tremendous, one that seems to be too good to be true, especially for any recruits that saw the "view" from the Floyd Casey room last year. They just aren't in the same ballpark. A door takes you right out to the field, just to the side of the band and in the corner of the endzone. I can imagine that the walk out to the field will be a bit more impactful with a sold out crowd cheering and the band serenading the event.
The field itself is nice. Felt the same as Floyd Casey, though the lovely black pellets that are so customary now with this type of playing surface were easily seen. Those will settle into the field the next few years, but for now, the field could be a bit slippery. The field also feels much closer to the stands. The fans will be much more on top of the action here at McLane, after years of being pushed away from the gridiron at FCS.
We then made a short walk to the locker room, which is just massive. There are roughly 140 lockers in there, each with their own bench and compartment to store the necessities. The overheard "BU" is the focal point of the room, and is truly the first thing you see.
Next up was the President's Suite after a quick ride in a lovely freight elevator. The Suite is massive, and has quite a view of the field and of the Baylor campus and Brazos River. There is a full kitchen, several large TVs, and enough seats to comfortably sit 140+ people. You could have 140 people watching the game in their chairs, and another 140 behind them chatting away.
The sight-lines from the Presidents and Founders suites are excellent, with great views of the entire field. The stands do not feel steep at all, but you are still right on top of the action even in the 3rd deck and the suites.
Next up was the TV control room and the media room, which most of the visitors were quite happy to see. From what I was told, it is roughly 2-3 times the size of the old press-box at FCS and has much more room outside of the actual seating area.
We also hit up the main suites, which featured a huge hallway that had a huge mural of every Baylor bowl game. Luckily, there is plenty of room to grow here.
From there, we made our way down to the 2nd level club suites, where some loge boxes and the massive club section is. All of these "special" levels felt extremely large, with 2-story ceilings and plenty of room. The concourses are all much wider and nicer, with more concession stands.
Finally, the club section is excellent. It feels larger than the one at Reliant Stadium in Houston, due to the high ceilings. They were setting up tables and chairs there still, but there is a lot of room in that area.