Miami trying to create better home atmosphere

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - When teams come to play Miami starting this fall, the visiting sideline may be a bit less hospitable than it was in the past.

And the stadium might look more lively on television as well.

The Hurricanes are giving their crowd a different look starting this season, moves that include shifting students and the school's band from end-zone seating to more along the opposing side of the field. Other existing sections of fans are being shifted slightly into better seating, including areas that have been reserved for younger alumni.

It's part of an effort to create a better atmosphere, university athletic spokesman Chris Freet said. Crowd size has been a major talking point around the Miami program for years, especially since the Hurricanes moved from the now-demolished Orange Bowl to Sun Life Stadium.

"We like the idea of our rowdiest fans or loudest fans and our band being as close to the opposing team," Freet said. "It helps the atmosphere. It's going to help us win more games."

Moving students and the band over would also figure to give the stands at cavernous Sun Life - home of the Miami Dolphins as well - a better look for television. The banks of cameras used at Sun Life for game broadcasts are aimed usually toward the visiting side of the field. Typically, that's the side with far fewer fans in the seats.

Other initiatives unveiled by Miami on Friday include upgrading seat locations for some existing season-ticket holders, and bringing back the idea of a "West End Zone" group of seating, much like the place where some of the most passionate Hurricane fans sat at the Orange Bowl.

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