Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel

Special events team redefines Kyle Field’s role beyond football
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&M’s football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

Photo by Chris Swann/ The Battalion

Special teams: Special events 

“My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement and smiles,” Kindra Fry said. “It’s about creating an experience for people that is a positive, fun memory for them. That is what drives me to do special events.” 

Over the next week, Kyle Field at Texas A&M is expected to be sold out twice, drawing more than 200,000 fans. But this time, it’s not college football bringing in the crowds — it’s international soccer and a country music legend. On June 8, Mexico and Brazil will take the field in a friendly match between the two countries. On June 15, George Strait will headline a concert in the football stadium. 

The economic impact is estimated to be over $10 million. Beyond the money, these weeks mark a significant cultural and social impact on the Bryan-College Station area — one that wouldn’t be possible without the help of a group of six. 

“These two events are the reason I’m here,” Fry said.

Fry serves as the assistant athletic director for special events, a lengthy title meaning that it’s her job to bring everything that isn’t football to the largest stadium in the SEC. With her is the special events team, a six-man crew working to make it all happen. Fry said she was hired to bring these types of events here and upgrade the events the team was already doing.

“For my job, I have to help manage all of the groups,” Fry said. “I have to make sure that our field crew is on task. I’m not telling them how to do their job. I’m just saying, ‘Are you good? Have you talked to the people you need to talk to?’”

Fry can often be heard asking questions, such as “Concessions, where are we? Have we ordered the things we need?” “Transportation services and parking, do we have lots available? Are we selling passes individually?”

“The preparations for these events are happening all in the background right now, and we have weekly meetings where we touch bases with everyone in the room,” Fry said. “It’s kind of like puppeteering. We’re just constantly keeping up to date to make sure we are all on the same page with everything.”

The special events department for Kyle Field is fairly new, and Fry has been working for them for two years now. They manage anything and everything that isn’t football: banquets, meetings, wedding receptions, galas, concerts and — as of this summer — international soccer games. 

The team doesn’t actively go out and look for things; they don’t need to go to conventions or expositions to promote themselves. With a venue like Kyle Field — the largest in the state of Texas and fourth-largest in the country — events come to them.

Fry said this is the first year the stadium wasn’t under construction. Kyle Field had projects going on for the past three years, and aside from Aggie football season, the $485 million structure remained empty. Now that construction is finished, A&M wants to showcase the new and improved Kyle Field.

“Getting more eyes on Kyle Field is going to be cool,” social content specialist Caroline Pope said.  “We have so many Aggie fans, but just getting more and different demographics helps get eyes on the space that is Kyle Field, and what is College Station and its brand and what is athletics and its brand.”

These two events over the next week give Fry and her team opportunities to have more events that bring the BCS area money. They have already had promoters call and ask to host their events ever since the soccer game and concert were announced. Regardless of football games in Kyle or basketball games in Reed they still have to turn the lights on, they still use water, and keep the power going. 

“We have fantastic places in these buildings that should host events,” Fry said. “We should be using them.”

Soccer pitch by night, concert stage by morning

Saturday’s game is a premier soccer friendly between the men’s national teams of Mexico and Brazil. This match marks the first time these two football clubs have played in the United States since 2012. The A&M special events team did not take any steps to reach out — Fry said the MLS Soccer United Marketing reached out to them. 

“We have done several concerts at Reed, this is bigger than that,” Fry said. 

The marketing team sought Kyle Field as its neutral ground because some of the staff had connections with donors and friends who were Aggies. 

Mexico and Brazil’s teams followed up with a site visit to scope out the stadium’s potential. The team welcomed managers and MLS employees to see the field. This was the special events team’s opportunity to ask everyone what it looks like to host an international soccer game. 

“Some of the team has never been here, so they didn’t know what Kyle Field looked like,” Fry said. “Can it even work for our event, or is the field not meant to host something like that?”

Once the soccer teams saw Aggieland, however, Fry said they immediately knew it was the space they needed.

“I think it’s about time something other than American football is played at Kyle Field, and hosting an international soccer match is the best way to do it,” said soccer enthusiast Russ Whitfield. “Soccer has been growing for some time in America, but I think this game will take it to the next level.”

Fry said the special events team brought in additional grass and cut into the existing field to level out the field because of the drainage and crowning. The moment the game ends is when Kyle Field will get another makeover. 

“The night the game ends, overnight we will start to take the grass out,” Fry said.

Set up for the George Strait concert starts a full week before the country star takes the stage. Sunday evening after the soccer match, staff will cover the field with flooring on top of the grass to level out the field for floor seats and the stage platform. Getting Strait to Kyle Field, on the other hand, is an undertaking more than two years in the making. The athletics department has wanted Strait to perform ever since the venue’s redesign.

“From the first day I walked in, it was, “Hey, our goal is to get a concert at Kyle Field, and we think it should be George Strait,” Fry said. “The first one we do in the newly-redeveloped Kyle Field is George Strait.”

The concert setting is completely different from soccer. For starters, his stage is going to be in the middle of the field and rotates. George Strait will have about 40 semi-trucks for production. 

Once the concert is over, Kyle Field gets a facelift once again. A&M’s sports field management is going to lay out a brand new turf in late June or early July to get ready for football season. 

Million-dollar economic impact

John Friebele, the executive director of Destination Bryan, said on average, the expected estimate of revenue collected from a home game for the cities of Bryan and College Station is almost $10 million, possibly more depending on the game. 

“Both events bring visitors into the community that then spend money that goes into small business owners’ pockets and I love that level of impact,” said Friebele

Mexico v. Brazil is expected to bring in over $21 million, and George Strait is expected to make over $12 million. These events allow companies and small businesses from all around to receive profits consistently, rather than just during the fall football season.

“It’s going to be something new for the BCS area and we’re excited to see how many people we can get into our shop,” owner of What’s the Buzz Coffee, Rodrigo Chavez said.

 The benefit is for the community and this is an opportunity to help their economic bottom line.

“Once these go well, which I know they will, we are back on the map for doing events,” Fry said. “It’s already picking up and it’s already time.”

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  • C

    ConnorJun 7, 2024 at 10:32 pm

    Excellent article, but I just have one question, why does Kyle Field have an odd number of seats?

  • N

    NancyPJun 7, 2024 at 5:51 pm

    I love that A&M is using their facilities for other events! Not only does it expose the rest of the country and the entire world to the grandure and hospitality of Texas A&M (and Aggies in general), but it helps support small businesses and the entire community. What an opportunity for Texas A&M and the surrounding area! Thank you for this great story!!

  • M

    Mia Taylor-FitzgeraldJun 7, 2024 at 4:26 pm

    Shalina, your articles always are so informative!

  • G

    GraceJun 7, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    I’m so excited to go to this Mexico and Brazil soccer game tomorrow! It’s going to be awesome seeing this at Kyle Field. I can’t wait!

  • L

    Liz RaneyJun 7, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    Love the post!! We NEED to use the spaces we have and there could be so much more to the arenas and fields we have!

  • S

    SeanJun 7, 2024 at 4:02 pm

    The writer did an amazing job on this one! Please have her publish more like this.

  • S

    Sobiya sabihJun 7, 2024 at 4:02 pm

    Very well done

  • L

    LinaJun 7, 2024 at 3:52 pm

    Very insightful Shaliner, thank you GO MEXICO ⚽️