On the road or at home, fans crowd more than just stadium


    By Curtis Gibby

    When the BYU football team is at home, sixty thousand fans cram into LaVell Edwards Stadium to rise and shout with Bret Engemann, Matt Berry and Reno Mahe.

    But when the Cougars take to the road, their fans don”t take the weekend off.

    During away games, many fans gather with roommates, family and friends to hang out and watch the team on TV. They munch on snacks and berate the coaches, players and commentators from the comfort of their own homes.

    “When they”re doing well, we go downstairs and hang out with a bunch of guys, eat a lot of food and yell at the TV,” said Kelly Smith, 22, a junior from Mesa, Ariz. majoring in physics.

    These football fests often affect the bottom line of Provo businesses.

    Local grocers, such as Albertson”s and Food 4 Less, say that even on weekends when LaVell Edwards Stadium is empty, their business is the same as when Cougar fans pack the stands – booming.

    “When BYU is on the road, they (students) watch the game on TV, and come in afterward,” said an Albertson”s spokesman.

    Fast food and pizza joints, like the Little Caesar”s franchise on Ninth East, say they”re always busy before home games, but away game weekends are “hit or miss.” Sometimes the fans swamp the stores and sometimes they leave them barren – depending on how the team is doing.

    The manager at Little Caesar”s said the store is pretty busy on game days if the team won the week before because fans are more excited. On a weekend when the Cougars had lost their previous game against Nevada, the franchise was abandoned during game time.

    The BYU Superfans group regularly gets together on campus during away games to watch everything on a projection screen and eat, eat, eat.

    Superfan President Adam Clark said they do it to show loyalty to the team and to watch with other dedicated fans.

    The group also arranges road trips to some away games, with charter buses and discount tickets for BYU fans. When the Cougars came from behind to beat the Aggies of Utah State, the Superfans were there.

    One of BYU”s biggest fans, university president Merrill J. Bateman, also follows the team on the road.

    “President Bateman goes (to away games) whenever possible,” said Carri Jenkins, assistant to the president of University Communications.

    When President Bateman is on the road with the team, he serves as an ambassador for the University. Before the game in Atlanta, for example, President Bateman delivered a fireside to Church members there and met with alumni and friends of the university.

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