BOISE — Fans attending Saturday’s Boise State home opener against the University of Connecticut will have a new area to congregate and hang out prior to kick off.

Boise State will officially unveil the Ford Tailgate Zone on Dechevrieux Field, the Broncos’ grass practice field near Albertsons Stadium. The area includes private tailgate space and open areas for the general public that will feature food trucks, inflatable games for kids and a large TV screen to watch other games.

“We hope it’s a place where people, that may not have a place to go, come here to enjoy pregame,” Boise State senior associate Athletic Director for External Operations Brad Larrondo said. “We haven’t really had anything like this.”

One of the biggest concerns fans have had with the tailgating setup in recent years is that there was no place for those without parking passes to hang out near the stadium.

The Ford Tailgate Zone changes that. Fans can purchase food from the food trucks, or wheel in their own cooler and enjoy their own food and drink on the grass practice field. Tables and chairs will be set up in front of a large projection screen that will air the best games throughout the day.

The area will even remain open during the Boise State game for those that don’t have a ticket to get inside but want to be part of the atmosphere. The video screen will flip to the Boise State game when it starts, but may have a slight delay from the roar of the crowd heard inside.

“We wanted to create an experience for fans, especially new fans that are coming here,” Larrondo said. “There might be a lot of people that have parking spaces and tailgating, but you hear if you are new here and coming to a game, where do I go? This hopefully will answer that question. You can come down, even if you only have three or four people, and hang out and maybe you decide you want to buy a tent for later in the season.”

Boise State teamed with a company called BlockParty to coordinate the private tailgate options. Fans can have a covered tailgate spot with table and chairs for 10 people for as little as $400 per game, and can add options such as a TV with satellite channels, outdoor furniture, coolers with ice and more.

Options get more elaborate and expensive as the number of people in your group increase, but the turnkey tailgating options are meant to make it easier for fans. The setup and take down will be handled by BlockParty, and fans can even drop off their food and drink at the front entrance and have it already moved to their private spot and setup by the time they return from parking their car.

Bellhop service is also included if someone needs something such as additional ice. The private area opens four hours before kickoff and will remain open for an hour after the game ends. Purchasing a private spot also includes a parking spot in the Lincoln Garage.

A smaller setup was open for the Fan Fest on August 25 as a preview of what it would look like on game days. Boise State plans to have other attractions such as a climbing wall and football throw game in addition to open space in the middle of the field to throw around a football or play other traditional tailgating games.

The Bronco Walk — when the football team walks through the parking lot to greet fans on its way into the stadium — will pass through the Ford Tailgate Zone along with the band and cheerleaders about two hours and 30 minutes prior to kick off.

“We want to bring as many people here as possible to create that experience that you see at other stadiums,” Larrondo said. “To bring the Bronco Walk through here, the band, the cheerleaders, the fans all together, we feel like we can create a different area we’ve never had before and utilize this place that is so close to the stadium.”

No ticket or admission payment is required for fans without a private tailgate space. The area opens three hours prior to kickoff to the general public. Alcohol will not be available for purchase, but fans will be allowed to bring their own with them onto the field.

More information is available at www.BlockPartypresents.com/BSU, or by calling the Boise State athletics department.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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