OU concession troubles leave Big Red Rivalry fans frustrated

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Long lines for drinks and food at the OU football game Saturday have fans mad and the athletic department apologizing.

It was a packed house Saturday at Owen field for the renewal of the OU/Nebraska Big Red Rivalry, but fans say the service at the concession stands left them red hot angry.

“This is just out of control. I’m not going to stand down there and miss the whole first half,” said Marc Peterson of Edmond.

The longtime Sooner fan telling KFOR his thoughts as he shot video of the lines for water and beer underneath memorial stadium on Saturday. Hundreds of fans waiting for drinks.

“Nebraska fans were down for 45 minutes, came back and said, ‘Is it always like this,’ and I said, ‘Usually not so bad, but it’s horrible today.’ People coming back with room temperature water that they paid 5 bucks for,” said Peterson.

The OU Athletics Department fielding complaints on Sunday from angry fans, enough for Sooner Athletic Director Joe Castiglione to issue this apology on social media saying in part, “Unfortunately, the staff shortages affecting so many businesses and stadiums around the country have had a profound impact on our operations as well. We are unable to open all our stands and several that are open are short-staffed.”

“People say they didn’t have time to adequately staff it and get ready for the game day, that’s not the case. They had time. We all know how much money OU is making every home game, there is no excuse for this at OU. This is unacceptable for OU,“ said Peterson.

“Saturday presented some particular issues. It was one of our highest volume days of concessions ever,” said OU Executive Associate Athletic Director Kenny Mossman.

OU officials says high heat and humidity played a part and the staffing issues also affected restocking during the game. Mossman says school groups that normally work the concession stands to raise money for their organizations have been affected. One group of 25 called in sick hours before game time Saturday.

“With COVID protocols being what they are at schools occasionally we will have groups that are signed up that will have to make last minute changes and will be unable to help,” said Mossman.

OU contracts out the concessions to multiple partners. We asked if those vendors had raised their wages to be more competitive.

“A number of the restaurants that are in our stadium certainly have that option,” said Mossman.

OU officials say there are plans to have more drink stands open for their next game Saturday, but staffing them is still uncertain.

OU is set to host West Virginia in Norman on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.

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