After positive results from a student survey, the UCLA football team could be moving from the sunny side of the Rose Bowl sooner rather than later.
Of 1,342 respondents in a survey conducted by The Den and UCLA athletics in November, 61 percent of said they would prefer moving student seating at the Rose Bowl for UCLA football games to the north end zone from its current position in the northeast corner of the field. Seventy-five percent of respondents also indicated that they would be as likely or more likely to attend games if the student section was moved.
In the current set up at the Rose Bowl, the UCLA football team is required to use the sun-drenched east sideline due to a Pac-12 rule prohibiting student sections from being behind opposing benches. Moving The Den to the north end zone (between sections 8H and 15L in the lower bowl) would then free the football team to move to the shadier west sideline as early as this upcoming season.
There are still many moving parts before the proposal can be finalized, a UCLA spokesperson said. Some season ticket holders could be displaced with the change and UCLA athletics is reaching out to season ticket holders about the possible relocation.
If the teams change sidelines, they will likely also change locker rooms and tunnels to prevent players from crossing paths while running on to the field. UCLA would have to rebrand the home locker room if the teams switch, but it could come at a convenient time as the school is making the transition to Under Armour from Adidas for the 2017 season.
The athletic department will have to sort out all the logistics before Jan. 27 when season ticket renewal starts.
The proposed Den seating also moves the majority of the students to the lower bowl with the intention of creating a more energized atmosphere at the Rose Bowl. According to the survey, 61 percent of respondents said they would feel more “engaged and connected” to the game with the changed set up. Sections 13H to 15L in the upper bowl would also be reserved for overflow student seating.
“The students in the upper sections felt a little distant,” said Jeff Kohl, a UCLA junior and The Den president who added that the results were “encouraging signs.”
Two years ago, UCLA moved student section seating in Pauley Pavilion for men’s basketball games with a similar goal of creating a more raucous crowd.