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BYU opens new, public pre-game fan experience at football season opener

Posted at 10:00 PM, Sep 02, 2023

PROVO, Utah — It’s college football season!

The BYU Cougars started their season Saturday night in Provo, and fans got to experience some game-day fun ahead of kick-off.

“We’ve got lots of activities for all kinds of fans and all ages, all demographics,” said Anna Metcalf, the director of marketing and fan experience with BYU Athletics.

"The Backyard" is an expansion of Cougar Canyon, which is a pre-game area next to LaVell Edwards Stadium.

“It’s exciting. I’m glad they’re putting more money into the fan experience, expanding it out. It was getting crowded over there last year. Lot more open space now,” said Brett Kirkham, who is a fan of the team and came with his family.

It’s free to enter, even without a ticket to the game. There are inflatables, mini golf, merch stands, food vendors, a big screen, a stage, and more.

“We want to create a positive experience with the BYU brand so that regardless of what happens on the field or off the field, they’re still loyal, that they’re still excited to support their team and they want to come out,” said Metcalf.

It brought in excited fans from all over — including people who are visiting from Vancouver, Washington, just for the game.

“It’s everything,” said Andrew Clark, a season ticket holder who plans to visit once a month to catch a game. “We’ve been Cougar fans forever. We are Cougars through and through, and we love it.”

“Been following them for a long time. Big-time fan, so super excited,” said Pete Allen, who is also visiting with his son.

The fans at The Backyard are fostering their love for football.

“Just everyone being a fan. It’s very tight, very enthusiastic,” said Ethan Andrews.

Cougar Canyon and all the activities will be around before every home game. The goal is to be open for about three hours before kickoff and get everyone excited for the game coming up.