Jun 20, 2013

Pasadena Rose Bowl to kick off public tours for the first time

The Rose Bowl Stadium is seen through the working press box Thursday, June 20, 2013 during a media tour in advanceof the historic stadium's first public tours which begin Saturday. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
The Rose Bowl Stadium is seen through the working press box Thursday, June 20, 2013 during a media tour in advance of the historic stadium's first public tours which begin Saturday.

(SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
 

By Zen Vuong - Staff Writer Pasadena Star News - June 20, 2013

PASADENA - For the first time in its 91-year history, the Rose Bowl will offer public guided tours of the landmark stadium, starting this weekend.

The year-round opportunity will kick off on Saturday and will give fans a look behind the scenes of the historic sports stadium, now undergoing a $152-million renovation that started in 2011.

In the past, millions of people have sat in the huge 88,500-seat arena to watch five NFL Super Bowl Games, the 1984 Olympic soccer matches, the 1994 World Cup final, the 1999 Women's World Cup final and numerous Bowl Champion Series games. But this will be something new.

Premium seating in the newly restored Rose Bowl press box is seen Thursday, June 20, 2013 in advance of the historic stadium's first public tours, which begin Saturday. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
Premium seating in the newly restored Rose Bowl press box
is seen Thursday, June 20, 2013 in advance of the historic
stadium's first public tours, which begin Saturday.
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
 

“Fans will get to see an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at locations that have never been available to the public before,” said Kayla Kilpatrick, a Rose Bowl Stadium Tour spokeswoman. “You actually can come around the field itself -- you can throw a football around with your friends (and) your family, which no one can say they've done in the past.”

The seven-site tour includes the UCLA locker room, post-game interview room and working press box. It also introduces the stadium's original 1922 locker room. This 420-square-foot room became a storage room about 40 years ago and has only recently been cleared out and re-decorated with sportsmemorabilia -- including a vintage turnstile, some aged pale pink lockers, blown up duplicates of notable Rose Bowl Stadium tickets and a 1929 Los Angeles Times editorial about how the Golden Bears lost to the Engineers.

“I just literally found these things,” Kilpatrick said. “It's in storage bins. It's in closets.”

Darryl Dunn, the Rose Bowl's general manager, spoke about the history hidden under a new coat of paint. Legendary football coaches such as Knute Rockne and Glenn Scobie “Pop” Warner have inspired their teams in those hallowed stamping grounds.

The "Four Horsemen of Notre Dame" -- quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller and fullback Elmer Layden -- also used the locker-room in 1925, the only time their university ever played at the Rose Bowl.

“There's no shortage of legendary moments at the stadium,” Dunn said in a statement. “The stadium is a treasure trove of memorable games, big plays and defining careers.”

The Rose Bowl has also has made a lot of television firsts.

In 1952 it became the first to have a nationally televised College Bowl game and in 1962 it laid claim to the firstcollege football game broadcast nationally in color.

The UCLA locker room at the Rose Bowl is seen Thursday, June 20, 2013 in advance of the historic stadium's first public tours, which begin Saturday. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
The UCLA locker room at the Rose Bowl is seen Thursday, June 20, 2013
in advance of the historic stadium's first public tours, which begin Saturday.
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)

Fast forward to this decade, when the stadium was the stage for show-business giants such as U2, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and was the filming location for "The Biggest Loser" and "Remember the Titans" among others.

Not least, it is also home to UCLA Bruins home games.

“You grow exposure not only for the Rose Bowl but for the people that play here,” said Nick Ammazzalorso, executive director of athletic communications at UCLA. “And (for) us, as the primary tenant, I think there's definitely a logical offshoot of getting a larger fan-base, especially if there are people who are new to the area or who are just passing through the area.”

 

Ammazzalorso noted that it might be difficult to have the public visit its 13,500-square-foot blue and yellow locker-room during college football season, because of the hubbub on game day and the day before.

Last renovated in 2007, UCLA's locker room is about 32 times larger than the stadium's original, yet it holds only about twice the number of players.

“The sport has definitely changed,” Kilpatrick said. “Men have gotten taller over the years since the 1920s. Equipment has gotten bigger. We just need more space. So it's really a great way to compare the two (locker rooms) just to see how the sport itself has changed.”

For about $18, adults can visit the Rose Bowl's newly renovated pavilion, which offers a bird's-eye view of an evergreen grass field, and, on a clear day, a view of the San Gabriel Mountains. That's more than 10 times cheaper than buying seats for a single game.

There's something for everyone. For people who are obsessed with sharing their life moments, the post-game interview room offers a chance for people to pretend they're sports superstars on the press podium. Children and adults alike could start giving their sports spiel and Instagram or film it.

Visitors can discover other fun facts about the Rose Bowl by going to one of its Thursday to Sunday tours, which are capped at about 35 people. Tours start at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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