Open letter from AD Ross Bjork concerning concessions, pride day

Herald Staff

WKU Athletics Director Ross Bjork published this open letter on Thursday concerning concessions at football games and the introduction of a Hilltopper Pride Day. Here is the letter in full:

Dear Hilltopper Nation,

Greetings!  I want to thank all of you for your tremendous support of our football program.  While our record may not reflect it, we have made significant improvements in a number of areas.  I am confident the program is heading in the right direction and that success will be realized. Coach Taggart, his staff, and our student-athletes are working tirelessly toward this goal every single day, and for that we can all be proud.

As you know, last Saturday was a special day on the Hill.  Our 2010 home opener marked the first time in the program’s 92-year history we hosted an opponent from the Big Ten Conference.  It also marked the first time in the Big Ten Network’s history they televised a game from the campus of a university that is not a member of the Big Ten.  The 25 parking and tailgating areas within walking distance of the stadium and the debut of our special student tailgating area, Topperville, resulted in a tremendous pre-game atmosphere that carried into Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium.  Our team battled to the end before falling short, but September 18 marked a day we can all take pride in being associated with.

Despite all the positives, the complete game day experience was not satisfactory.  We were extremely disappointed with our concession operations on this particular day.  WKU Athletics and our concessionairre, Centerplate, are fully aware that patron lines did not move in an efficient manner, some food was not properly prepared, and we ran out of certain beverages.  Centerplate operates a number of high quality food programs around the country and they understand this is simply not acceptable nor an indication of our approach to a big-time collegiate football environment.  On behalf of the entire WKU athletic department, I sincerely apologize to all of you.

Immediately, Centerplate acknowledged the mistakes that were made and has vowed that our concessions must, and will improve.  We value our partnership with Centerplate and are pleased with the following improvements to be implemented immediately:

–          Consolidated beverage approach with Pepsi Cola on specific types of product to sell at each concession stand    

–          Re-positioning of concession employees depending on volume loads at specific concession stands

–          Six new points of sale within reconfigured concession stands

–          Six new beverage only points of sale opportunities for soda and water

–          Total concession points of sale will increase by 34% from 35 to 47

–          Reconfiguration of all 10 concession stands to increase efficiency for employees and customers

–          Addition of a concession customer service table to address issues/questions on game day

In addition, we are pleased to announce that our next home game versus Louisiana-Monroe, on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 6:00 p.m., will serve as Hilltopper Pride Day in conjunction with Parents and Family Weekend.  All attendees at the game will be able to purchase an unlimited number of hot dogs and Pepsi fountain drinks for $1 each at the 10 Centerplate operated concession stands. Sonic will also offer hot dogs and small drinks for $1 each.

To further engage our fans, all general admission tickets for adults and youth will be $6 for Hilltopper Pride Day. This will enable an adult and child to purchase a ticket to the game, a hot dog and a Pepsi for $16.  A family of four will be able to attend the game and have a hot dog and Pepsi for $32.  We hope this “2 for $16” or “4 for $32” scenario illustrates how much we value your support and loyalty.  And, please keep in mind that the $1 prices for hot dogs and Pepsi fountain drinks is good for the entire game, there is no per person limit. Hilltopper Pride Day and Parents and Family weekend will be presented by Centerplate, WKU Athletics, and Kentucky 811.

Thank you again for all that you do on behalf of WKU, and we encourage you to bring your friends and family to Hilltopper Pride Day at Houchens-Smith Stadium on October 16 for our Sun Belt Conference home opener at 6:00 p.m.  Go Toppers!



Ross Bjork


P.S. Please purchase your tickets by calling 800-5 BIG RED or at