Cougar Canyon was born out of a desire to bring pre-game entertainment and food for fans to one central location around LaVell Edwards Stadium on game day.
After three games, BYU Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Promotions Dave Almodova calls Cougar Canyon a success.
“Honestly, it’s been better than I expected,” Almodova said. “Whenever you implement a new event, you don’t how it will turn out because you have nothing to go on. For the first three games, the crowd has been great and the engagement has great and it’s been well received.”
Cougar Canyon has provided live entertainment, food trucks and activities for BYU fans who want something to do before kickoff. There are tents for the ROC (Roar of Cougars) student fan group, football player’s families, the Cougar Club and alumni. The event also includes the Cougar Walk, where fans help to usher the football team into the stadium.
While tailgaiting remains a popular pregame activity, a large number of fans have opted to arrive early before BYU football games to participate in Cougar Canyon.
Alamadova said the idea for Cougar Canyon came from a couple of different places.
“Everything was kind of spread out around the stadium and we wanted to bring it all together,” he said. “In Provo in the summer and fall, there are street festivals. Those are great events with a great atmosphere. We wanted to incorporate that into game day at LaVell Edwards Stadium. It creates and environment you want to be around.”
TCU has “Frog Alley” at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth and the University of Texas has “Bevo Boulevard” at Memorial Stadium in Austin, both of which Almadova and his staff studied.
The first step was to find out if Provo Canyon Road, which was closed five hours before kickoff, could be closed an hour earlier to allow for set up. After meeting with Provo City, the fire and police departments and the BYU special events staff, everything was a go.
“Once we got approval, it was like ‘let’s go to work and make this happen,’” Almadova said.
Jordan Blad, a member of Almadova’s staff, runs point in the project from the marketing side and works with everyone involved to make sure things run smoothly.
One of the more popular activities is the Cougar Walk, where fans cheer as the BYU football team makes its way into the stadium for warmups.
Before the Washington game, former Outland Trophy winners Moe Elewonibi and Jason Buck were on hand for photos and autographs. Before the Utah game, former BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco was on hand with the 1984 national championship trophy. There have been Playstation video game competitions, live bands and a rock climbing wall.
On Saturday, a live petting zoo will be a special feature at Cougar Canyon.
“We’ve gotten feedback that people think it’s awesome and cool,” Almodova said. “People have loved certain bands and want them to come back. We wanted this whole thing to be adaptable so we can do things that are different or new.”