Penn State, Wisconsin Prepare Stadiums For College Football Playoff

In early May, the College Football Playoff Committee revealed the new 12-team postseason schedule starting in 2024. In the announcement was the confirmation of on-campus playoff games for the Round 1 quarterfinals. For college football diehards and teams alike, this is an exciting confirmation. In the case of Penn State and Wisconsin, that meant preparations to host these playoff games. They’re likely the first in a line of schools to prepare their stadiums to host the College Football Playoff.

With games being played later into the year, both of these schools realized their stadiums weren’t fully equipped to handle potential playoff games. Within days, Penn State and Wisconsin announced plans to improve their stadiums.

Beaver Stadium To Undergo $700M Renovation

The timing for Penn State could not have been much better. The university already announced plans for a major renovation to Beaver Stadium – an alternative to replacing it. The cost comes in at $700M over multiple phases. Penn State approved Phase I on May 5, 2023, including insulating the pipes in the stadium to withstand the colder weather of December in State College.

“Winterization work also will be completed, which entails the insulation of pipes and other upgrades to allow the building to be occupied when temperatures are below freezing,” said the official Penn State Athletics release.”[That gives] Penn State the ability to host a College Football Playoff game beginning in 2024 and other potential events beyond Penn State football games in the winter months, increasing revenue at Penn State and in the Centre Region.”

The initial renovations are already underway. The rest of the phases are expected to be completed in time for the 2027 football season.

Camp Randall Stadium Prepares For College Football Playoff

In December, the average high in Madison, Wi., is 32º F and the average low 14º F. Fewer places in college football dip to these temperatures during the season, so Camp Randall Stadium planned an upgrade. The most drastic of the winterization preparations includes a heated field, proposed in May.

The heated field and two new video board will be installed ahead of the 2024 season. Construction begins after this season.

“What pushed this over the edge for us was the potential of hosting playoff games in Camp Randall in December,” Wisconsin athletic director Jason King said. “I think this will make the surface safer because we’re not going to have a frozen field like we had in the past. We just think overall it’s going to be a good benefit to the program.”

King estimates the price to be around $5.5M – substantial but far from unthinkable. However, this heated field replaces brand-new turf installed with the recently-completed 2022 renovation.

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