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Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour Discusses The Memorial Stadium Project

Part II of our interview (check out Part I here) with the leader of Cal Athletics! The home of Cal football has been greatly renovated, but the project is probably not yet complete.

Avinash Kunnath

Lindsay Brauner: What kinds of benefits are you hoping to realize from the Gold Standard Program and the partnership with the San Diego Padres marketing team?

Sandy Barbour: Well, the San Diego Padres came in and consulted with us early on in the project to help us get up and running and that was both from an actual sales standpoint as well as the service standpoint, which is the Gold Standard.

We're hoping to take the Gold Standard and extend it a little bit more broadly throughout the department as a service-oriented philosophy and I think it's been a huge success from a sales, marketing, and service perspective. It got so many wonderful comments from some of our stakeholders, fans, and ticket buyers about what they considered to be the extra mile that some of our sales and service folks have gone for them.

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That's how we want our fans to feel about when they engage with Cal Athletics, that that's what they can come to expect: A level of service. Whether it be in purchasing a ticket, or moving a seat, or just connecting with someone at Cal Athletics--they're trying to get a hold of the Athletic Director or they're trying to get a hold of a coach or they're looking to buy merchandise or they're looking to connect to a student-athlete. That's the level of service that I want them to expect.

I want them to come to expect to achieve. And then we need to internalize that and that's the level of service that we provide to each other within Cal Athletics and that's the level of service we provide to our student-athletes and that's the level of service we provide throughout the community and throughout the campus community, so the Gold Standard really is a philosophy of how we engage with our stakeholders.

Sandy Barbour talks Cal football, Sonny Dykes (via Lindsay Brauner)

LB: We've had some lovely renovations that have been made to the west side of Memorial Stadium. What are your thoughts on the reception to some of these changes?

SB: We opened up for September 1st last fall. I think it was a spectacular homecoming; we welcomed everyone back with "welcome home," "welcome back to Memorial Stadium" and certainly the west side--probably two-thirds of the stadium.

Renovations I think have certainly been welcome from the Endowment Seating Program sections, the field club, stadium club, university club, and the amenities that exist there and are available to our fans there to what we call flank seats with a back on the chair and then certainly completely replacing the old wooden bleachers throughout and seismically retrofitting where the Hayward Fault does run through the stadium.

I think the concourses--the width of the concourses--and the availability of concession stands and restrooms have been a big boost to all of our fans. I think the renovations to the stadium and the reception of the stadium have been fantastic and, as fans come back to us for the ‘13 season, operationally, we'll be a little bit better.

The stadium was turned over to us four or five days before the first game, so there were some operational challenges for us, but I think we'll get better and better there. And, obviously, we're excited about what Sonny Dykes is gonna be doing on the field with our program, so I'm really looking forward to 2013 and what our fans can expect there.

LB: Like you said about two-thirds of the stadium was fully renovated; are there any plans to renovate the other third of it?

SB: This was always a Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three project. Phase One being what ended up being the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance; Phase Two being the two-thirds of the stadium, the west side; and then Phase Three being the east side.

Certainly, we will look at what the possibilities are there and what the necessities are. We're doing some things on the east rim for the 2013 season that have to do with concessions and restrooms and making those things a little more fan-friendly, but ultimately we would love to do a complete renovation of the east side, but it's gonna depend on funding, just like Phases One and Two did and our ability to take that on.