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Helluva Relocation: Moving the Yellow Jacket's Front Door

Georgia Tech is gearing up for a major change in its football pregame experience, introducing a new three-block celebration, “Helluva Block Party.” Athletic Director J Batt aims to revamp and relocate the Georgia Tech fan experience from the center of campus to a more accessible part to Midtown Atlanta, effectively "repositioning the front door" on gamedays.

The band marches down Freshman Hill ahead of the performance on Callaway Plaza. Credit: Nathaniel Greve | TLJ

The forthcoming Helluva Block Party will take place on the south side of Bobby Dodd Stadium, specifically along North Avenue. This strategic relocation coincides with the planned $82 million renovation of the Edge Athletics Center on the stadium's north side, where fan activations, including Yellow Jacket Alley and the band performances, had traditionally been located, and the ongoing East Campus Streetscapes Project, which involves construction on Brittain Drive, where the drumline used to warm up and the football team exited their busses.

Below: A map comparing the traditional and new locations for pregame activations. Not displaying properly? Click here.

Georgia Tech has collaborated with Atlanta city officials to temporarily shut down a three-block, five-lane section of North Avenue on gamedays, creating a reimagined Georgia Tech pregame experience for fans starting six hours before kickoff until the beginning of the third quarter. The block party will take over the Tech Tower Quad and the more aesthetically-pleasing South plaza of Bobby Dodd Stadium. The area's proximity to a MARTA subway stop and the popular Varsity restaurant adds to the appeal of the new location.

The event will feature elements akin to Bevo Blvd. at the University of Texas and Florida State's Friday Night Block Party, with live music, food trucks, and activities provided by the athletic department's corporate partners.

Acknowledging that the location change may impact cherished traditions, President Ángel Cabrera shared his excitement about the shift, envisioning pregame activities against the iconic backdrop of Tech Tower. The move, however, will mean significant changes to two beloved elements of Tech's home games: Yellow Jacket Alley and the pregame marching band concert on the steps of Callaway Plaza. Though the relocation has evoked mixed emotions, especially from the Greek sector, which has been abandoned by the move, J Batt assures fans that this is just the beginning of an enhanced gameday experience. The goal is to create a bustling hub of marketing, tailgating, and fan interactions on North Avenue, making it the new front door of the athletics game-day experience and reestablishing Georgia Tech’s territorial claim on the city of Atlanta; a response to the school in Athens that continues to gain favor from the state. Let’s not even start with georgia’s 2023 schedule and what that might do for their continued fortune. This is a fair reaction, given several corporate partners once exclusive to Tech’s athletics have now also partnered with georgia, and billboards stating “[company] is an official sponsor of the Georgia Bulldogs” have peppered Atlanta’s roadways… THWg.

During the 2022 season, Georgia's Own Credit Union's digital sign, visible from Bobby Dodd, stated, "Go Dawgs." Credit: Nathaniel Greve | TLJ
This billboard on I-85 South over the MARTA Armour Yard often advertises corporate sponsorships with the georgia bulldogs. Credit: Google Street View January 2023

As the Helluva Block Party takes shape, it may prove to be the catalyst Georgia Tech needs to reclaim its status as a respected program among the nation's FBS teams.

This bold endeavor is not just about creating a lively gameday experience; it represents a strategic move to broaden the appeal of Georgia Tech football and extend its fan base far beyond the confines of current students and alumni.

Athletic Director J Batt's vision to revamp the pregame festivities along North Avenue demonstrates a commitment to engaging with the broader Atlanta community and captivating college football enthusiasts from all walks of life. With a new coach and opening the doors to Atlanta, the stage is set for Georgia Tech to rise to new heights, possibly reestablishing its name as a respected force in college football and rallying a diverse and passionate fan base that proudly cheers for the Yellow Jackets. //

Nathaniel Greve

Coach Brent Key (before his interim promotion) and the team unloads the bus and follows behind the Drumline on Brittain Drive, a key tradition of "Yellow Jacket Alley." Credit: Nathaniel Greve | TLJ

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