New College Football Food Brings the Meat

Spectra readies new college football food options

  • by Tim Newcomb
  • Published: August 28, 2017

Spectra's marinated sirloin steak beef kabobs served with ale battered sidewinder fries are part of the new food offerings at Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas.

A fresh perspective on the 2017 college football season led Spectra by Comcast Spectacor to create new food concepts for rollout at 11 different stadiums across the country.

With the 60,000-capacity Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas, on the campus of Texas Tech University leading the way, Spectra not only created new items for the Red Raiders fans, but branched the offerings across teams in the Big 12, Big Sky, Missouri Valley, Atlantic Coast Conference, Mountain West, Southeastern Conference, American Athletic Conference and Gulf South Conference in preparation to serve more than two million college football fans this fall.

“Whether it is a new stadium or an existing stadium, at Spectra, our culinary experts are innovators who take great pride in introducing new items that engage our customers,” said Scott Swiger, Spectra vice president of culinary excellence. “We collaborate with our chefs throughout the company to share ideas and successes and often times put new spins on traditional college football fare. We also seek opportunities to use locally sourced ingredients and partner with well-known establishments at all of our Spectra food properties to help us build excitement around our new menu items and concepts.”

Jones AT&T Stadium offers the largest event space for the Spectra stadiums, so the company went meaty for the new offerings, set to debut Sept. 2. Included in the mix is a barbecue brisket sandwich, smoked for 16 hours using a mix of Texas pecan wood and cherry wood in a tangy, bold barbecue sauce and topped with onions, pickles and jalapenos on a hot bun. The bratwurst sandwich features a giant Jonesville bratwurst served on a heated hoagie bun topped with sautéed onions and bell peppers. Jones AT&T will also have chicken fajitas, a chicken or beef skewer and a one-third-pound sriracha onion burger with deep-fried onions and slaw mixed with sriracha sauce.

As Colorado State University opened Colorado State Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado, this past weekend, a brand-new 41,000-capacity venue that brings football onto campus for the first time, Spectra had a chance to create an entirely new menu for the venue, an opportunity for chefs to have “fun reinventing and putting their clever twist to classic favorites, as well as partnering with local vendors and adding several new concepts.”

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Spectra's sriracha burger, a 1/3 angus patty topped with lettuce, tomato, house made sriracha sauce and fried onions is on the menu at Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas.

Spectra offers a Linebacker Burger, featuring a one-third-pound burger topped with a sausage patty, pulled pork, sidewinder fries and a smoky sauce; a Pitkin Pigskin, featuring a bratwurst served inside a baked potato and topped with sour cream, cheese and bacon crumbles; and a barbecue brisket sandwich topped with homemade slaw and a side of house kettle chips. The fun didn’t stop there as Sepctra created sweet potato tots with a vanilla maple glaze, a Mountain Man Burger that uses local wild game—elk, venison, boar, wild bison and antelope—from vendor House of Smoke, a variety of dogs (mac & cheese, taco and pretzel), a Green & Gold Super Salad and a Colorado Nacho, a spiral-cut fry topped with Fat Tire queso, chopped bacon, jalapeno crema and green onions.

"Every fan that walks into a new stadium is a new customer,” Swiger said. “They expect everything to be new and that includes food concepts and menus as they acclimate themselves to their new college football environment."

Spectra also created themed concession stands to honor the history of Northern Colorado and CSU, including Fort Fryery and Mount Mac, featuring a variety of topped macaroni options. The Cam’Tina serves Mexican-inspired dishes.

Colorado State Stadium offers alcohol with the Fort Collins-headquartered New Belgium brewery sponsoring one of the main areas within the stadium. Spectra presented numerous selections from New Belgium and Coors, headquartered in nearby Bolden, Colorado. The selections include Fat Tire, Old Aggie, Belgian White, Citradelic, Voodoo Ranger, Coors Light and Coors Banquet.

"Before the start of college football season, our culinary experts from our 11 college football accounts reviewed menus from other properties, as well as customer feedback to inspire new ideas to introduce this season at all of our properties,” Swiger said. “We also recently hosted our first Culinary Innovation Summit in Chicago, where our chefs competed in a Top Chef-style competition to create new signature items which we hope to introduce throughout the season."

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Chicken kabobs, marinated in teriyaki sauce and a blend of spices, served with ale battered sidewinder fries, are part of the new college football food being served at Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas.

Across the country those ideas move into Jones AT&T Stadium; Colorado State Stadium; Alerus Center, Grand Forks, N.D. (University of North Dakota); Fargodome, Fargo, N.D. (North Dakota State); BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest); Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. (Vanderbilt); Plaster Sports Complex, Springfield, Mo.(Missouri State); Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Fla. (Central Florida); Blue Wahoos Stadium, Pensacola, Fla. (West Florida); Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis); and Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, Hartford, Conn. (University of Connecticut).

With fresh perspectives across the country, from Texas to Colorado, another example comes from Connecticut where the Randy Edsall Burrito Bowl features chicken or seasoned beef with Spanish rice, black beans shredded cheese and sour cream. The Husky Burger includes crispy bacon, egg and cheese, while the fall menu now also includes a loaded baked potato, Mexi bratwurst, fried pickle chips, bacon jalapeno mac & cheese and chowder pot clam chowder.

By naming the bowl after the coach, it falls into a Spectra desire, Swiger said, to tie food items to those connected to the school or region while incorporating local culture and geography into the presentation. “Fans quickly gravitate toward these items due to name recognition,” Swiger said, “and want to try them.”

  • by Tim Newcomb
  • Published: August 28, 2017