APPENDIX A: The College Football Stadium Arms Race (A Positive Precursor for the NFL)
The next paragraph, #56, about the college stadium "arms race,"
underscores the call for linking the process for building stadiums across
the country, for both profession sports and college stadiums. This
model allows communities to do both professional and college stadiums)
Correlation with the "Athletic Arms Race" of College Stadiums. The August 23, 2000 issue of The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1 and 4) verifies how stadiums are coming to play a significant revenue-generating role for college stadiums as well. The sub-head is "its Bigger, Better Stadiums For Schools Aiming to Add Revenue, Lure Recruits." In other words, colleges too are seeking ways to (a) finance, (b) build, and then (c) operate and maintain new stadiums. The article's key points are:
1. Large expansions are ranging from $187 million for Ohio State University to $100 million for North Carolina State to $95 million for Penn State), $50 million for Louisiana State University, increasing the size of each to 98,000, 65,000, 104,000 and 91,644, respectively.
2. Smaller expansions range from $86 million (Virginia), $85 million (Arkansas), $80 million (Oregon), $75 million (Texas Tech), and $56.8 million (SMU), increasing the size of each to 60,000, 70,000, 53,800, 60,000, and 32,000, respectively.
3. "Universities are in an athletic arms race these days to draw more fans and woo the best athletes." In other words, to be competitive in terms of revenues and obtaining players, just as with the NFL teams.
4. Their list of needs parallels those of what is needed in new stadiums: "grafting thousands of new seats--along with restrooms, parking garages locker rooms and ultra-modern training facilities--onto existing stadiums.
5. "Nearly three dozen schools from the University of Virginia to the University of Oregon either have recently completed or are in the midst of projects that, combined, add roughly 350,000 new seats."
6. As Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist, author of Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big Time College Sports, states, "Professional sports franchises avowed the way to new revenues with new stadiums, and now the colleges are following" with stadium expansions. In other words, building a new stadium for is a generic need regardless of level (professional or college). Survivors will build. Those who don't build won't survive. Here again the pro-college echo: "It's no longer just about competition on the field; now it's getting people in seats."
7. Generic again: "At least half the schools have also ripped a page from professional playbooks, building luxury boxes to juice the coffers.
8. Why? Because public funds are not available any more for them either.
9. Generic again: why the so-called "stadium-expansion craze"? Its because schools face a blitz of financial and competitive pressures," which are both social and operational, with the additional funds needed "to finance an expanding women's sports program to comply with federal equality guidelines and because of increased recruiting competition," as "giant stadiums are as much of a lure these days for top athletes as playing time." As one player phrased it, "That goes into the decision on where you want to play football."
10. Because football programs show profits others sports do not, LSU's Athletic Director Joe Dean states they are "force(d) to look for every possible place to make a dollar just to pay for these massive programs."
11. Here is a helpful hint: "Increased concession sales and parking will add more" to the ticket sales generated by the expansion of new seats, especially "because of the way the expansion was financed, it's all profit."
12. The old way: "state funding, typically in the form of bonds" which are repaid through "sky-box revenue and personal ticket licenses" for the right to buy tickets.
13. The new way: LSU: "The Tiger Athletic Foundation, a private, nonprofit group that helps raise money for the department issued $40 million of 30-year bonds; it, not the university, owns the deck, which doesn't physically touch any part of the state-owned stadium. To finance the debt, the foundation signed for a $10 million, 30-year loan to build and lease 70 luxury suites which will generate $3.8 million annually, which goes to the foundation (the athletic department gets the ticket sales) and should more than cover yearly debt payments. When the new deck is paid off, possibly in 15 years, the foundation will donate it, and the revenue stream, to the athletic department."
14. Would your universitys "Boosters Club" be willing to carry the ball for the teams new stadium, in this fashion? This is a particularly timely question in the Twin Cities, where the debate is about how to fund and build stadiums for the Minnesota Gophers, the NFL Vikings, and the MLB Twins. It is the contention of this model that the Twin Cities could do all three, in separate stadiums, and still maintain revenues for the Metro Dome.