EUGENE, Ore. -- With many businesses taking part in tailgating hours before football games to provide services to fans, some businesses said Autzen Stadium's new policies may present some challenges for them.
Dino Philyaw, one of the owners of Philyaw’s Cookout & Catering, said tailgating hours being expanded from four hours to six will make their preparation time two hours earlier. He said they’ll also need to get on the road earlier to beat the rush and get there before the tailgates open.
“Before people get on the road, get the congestion going, so we have to get on the road before they do,” Philyaw said.
Essig Entertainment is facing a different problem. They hold a tailgating event at their field, Essig Field, before every game. Scott Essig, president of the company, said they'll be a little more impacted by the fact that people can no longer re-enter Autzen because they stay open throughout the game.
However, he’s not worried. He said they do most of their business during pre-game time, and he's happy to see any changes that will contribute to the safety of fans.
“This will help eliminate some of that environment that may cause excessive, quick drinking, which leads to some issues,” Essig said.
Both businesses feel these will be positive changes to the game day experience. Essig said he's excited to see the stadium fuller and people being more wholly invested in the game, and Philyaw said he thinks this will give Autzen a chance to get "back to its roots."
“Allowing the fans to come out and linger and hang out allows them to get a lot more rowdy and a lot more excited, and I think it's going to create a lot more enthusiasm about wanting to be out there and making it an event,” Philyaw said.
Philyaw said some of the times when Autzen was called one of the loudest stadiums in the world was when fans got more time to be in and around it, so he can't wait to see how fans embrace this opportunity.