Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Stadium Race

In the past decade we have seen college football stadium renovation and expansion projects of varying degree at Ohio State, Oregon, Arkansas, Utah, UTEP, Oregon State, Stanford, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas State, Northwestern, Cincinnati, Georgia, Tennessee, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, LSU, Michigan State, Iowa, Houston, Fresno State, Boston College, Penn State, and Connecticut.

Washington's planned $350 million dollar renovation will have the highest price tag to date of any new stadium, or renovation of an existing stadium.

These current schools are in either the planning or construction stages.


In 2009 Minnesota football will move into a new facility called TCF Bank Stadium. The 50,000 seat on-campus "horseshoe" style stadium is under construction and planned to be finished in time for the 2009 football season. The stadium will be designed to support future expansion to seat up to 80,000 people. The $288 million dollar project is being financed by corporate, alumni, boosters, and the state of Minnesota which ponied up about half of the cost.

Central Florida

Bright House Networks Stadium is a 45,301-seat stadium in Orlando, Florida which is the new on campus home of the Central Florida football team. Initially projected to have a cost of $40 to $45 million, the most recent cost estimations run as high as $55 million. It has been designed for a planned expansion to 65,000 seats.


Home to the University of Michigan football team, Michigan Stadium with its 100,000-plus capacity will forever be known to college football fans as The Big House. It's about to get even bigger. Adding to a storied history that began in the 1920s as a vision in the mind of program founder Fielding Yost, the current expansion of Michigan Stadium is only the most recent. The project, scheduled for an August 2010 completion, calls for a number of improvements and amenities. Some will actually steal from the stadium's capacity; others will add to it. In all, the Big House will hold more than 108,000 people, up from its current capacity of 107,501. cost of the project is supposed to run around $288 million.


Rutgers University officials have approved a controversial plan to start a $102-million football stadium expansion before securing all the money needed to complete it. The school is counting on Gov. Jon Corzine's pledge to raise $30 million from private sources for the plan, which calls for adding 14,000 seats, a dining club for high-end ticket-holders and new locker rooms. Starting the plan now requires the university to borrow $72 million to begin construction next month and complete the first phase of the expansion before the upcoming season. Supporters say the university needs to pursue the aggressive schedule to expand the 43,000-seat stadium to take advantage of the heightened interest in Rutgers football. After years of mediocrity, the Scarlet Knights have made three consecutive bowl appearances.


A new era is dawning for The University of Akron and its football program. At its regular meeting today, the University’s Board of Trustees approved the financing and construction plans for a $55 million, on-campus football stadium as part of the second phase of the New Landscape for Learning campus enhancement initiative. Construction of the stadium and field — named InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field, respectively — is scheduled to be complete for the Zips’ 2009 home opener against the University of Kentucky Wildcats on Sept. 12. As in other buildings constructed in UA’s ongoing campus enhancement, the stadium features a bold design of brick and glass. The stadium will be financed by a $30 million fund-raising campaign (of which $21 million already has been pledged) and bonds financed via stadium revenues.


The University of Maryland Athletics Department unveiled plans yesterday for a $50.8 million expansion to Byrd Stadium, a project that will increase overall capacity, add skyboxes complete with catered food and flat panel televisions and lower the field to give spectators a better view. The past decade has seen the evolution of Byrd with the construction of Tyser Towers in 1990, Gossett Football Team House in 1991 and the addition of the upper deck on the north side in 1994. Most recently, there was the remodeling of the team house in 2003. Athletics Department officials have been looking for ways to increase capacity for years, but money for the major expansion came only after Chevy Chase Bank agreed to pay $20 million in August for naming rights to the stadium, which has been dubbed Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium until 2032 when the deal expires.


For those Illinois faithful waiting for that one special opportunity to forever alter the course of the University of Illinois through their generous donations, the Illinois Renaissance presents many tremendous options. Perhaps none, however, is quite as powerful as naming the entire media/hospitality facility that will adorn the renovated stadium’s west balcony. As discussed in more depth throughout this brochure, the Memorial Stadium Pavilion’s three levels will house the 77 Club, the Memorial Stadium Suites, the press area, and University administration. The advantages it will afford the University of Illinois will be boundless. To the University in general, it will provide event space usable throughout the year; it will serve as a hospitality venue for visiting officials and University benefactors on Illini football Saturdays; and it will set the national standard for combining historic architecture and modern science. For the Illini football program, the new facility will serve as a boon to recruiting by demonstrating the University’s commitment to the future of Illinois football; it will provide a media outlet allowing comprehensive nationwide coverage of the Illini; and it will serve as an imposing feature of Memorial Stadium’s home-field advantage. The family or business naming the entire three-story facility will drastically change the landscape of the University of Illinois and Illini football for the better.


Royal-Memorial Stadium's north entrance will be expanded with a new multi-level complex that includes additional seats, club space, suites, athletic offices, academic-advising areas and a basement with gym space. Expansion plans are already in place for the north end zone, which will feature and upper deck, club seating, an academic center and a war memorial plaza for the 2008 season. The expansion is expected to increase the stadium’s capacity to over 90,000, and add approximately 2,000 club seats and 44 suites. More immediately, two major upgrades have been made for the 2006 season, including a new video board and temporary bleacher seating in the south end zone, which has expanded the stadium's capacity by over 4,000 seats to a total of 85,123


Prior to the 2006 season, Maryland Athletics entered into a partnership with Chevy Chase Bank for naming rights for the field. The ongoing commitment with Chevy Chase Bank will allow the university to add suites to its seating opportunities on the south side of the stadium. The current expansion project is scheduled to begin in November 2007. Phase One includes the expansion of Tyser Tower along the South concourse, allowing for the addition of 64 suites. Additionally, mezzanine seating for approximately 500 will be added, as well as a University suite for 200 guests. There will also be new work areas for the television, radio and print media, new work area for coaches and gameday staff, a new gameday merchandise outlet, improved seating for disabled customers and a new state-of-the-art scoreboard on the west concourse. The refurbishing of Byrd includes new restrooms, bleachers and the stadium’s first formal entranceway off of Field House Drive. The Gossett Football Team House, Tyser Tower, concession stands, restrooms and stadium portals, designed by H.O.K. Architects of Kansas City, are enclosed in sand-molded brick that matches the Williamsburgstyle brick used on most of Maryland’s 335 buildings. The brick gives the contemporary architecture a timeless veneer and unity with the university’s traditional Georgian look.

Wake Forest

The Deacon Tower phase at Wake Forest will dramatically change the look, feel, and comfort of its on campus football stadium.

Texas A&M

In what is certainly an ambitious undertaking, athletics officials at Texas A&M are working with architects to devise a master facilities plan that includes an expansion of Kyle Field to a capacity of 115,000 seats. According to an article in the San Antonio Business Journal, architectural firm O'Connell Robertson & Associates Inc. presented to the university's Board of Regents a plan that included six decks of new seating, new fan concourses, and a major cosmetic facelift.

Texas Tech

Texas Tech's football stadium will grow by 10,000 seats -- including those in 19 new luxury suites -- in construction approved Friday by the school's board of regents for a $45 million expansion. The project is contingent on the athletic department securing the money, of which as much as $20 million would be in gifts, Athletic Director Gerald Myers said. The east side expansion would include a 1,080-car parking garage, 300 club seats, a 5,500-seat upper deck and 4,500 seats in each of the stadium's four corners, bringing its capacity to just more than 63,000. The parking garage could be done by 2007 and the upper deck by the 2009 season.


Plans are continuing for an expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium's South end zone, which would increase capacity in the University of Alabama's football stadium to approximately 101,000.
University officials began looking into the project as ticket sales exceeded capacity this season. The university, under president Robert Witt, is rapidly growing and the hiring of new coach Nick Saban also boosted interest in the football program. Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore, in town on Monday evening to speak to the Montgomery Quarterback Club, outlined a planned expansion of the South end zone in his comments about recent facility upgrades made by the university.

Boise State

Construction on a $35.9 million project to replace the cramped press box and add luxury suites at stadium could be the first piece of a major expansion to the 30,000-seat stadium, where Boise State has lost just twice since 2001. The addition of suites, club sections and loge boxes will add about 2,000 seats, increasing the stadium's capacity to 32,000. The athletic department presented its plans Monday to the board at its monthly meeting in Boise -- the same day the Broncos achieved their highest ranking ever in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, finishing the season at No. 5 and as the only undefeated Division I-A team in the country. The school expects to complete the renovations before the start of the 2008 football season. The press box and luxury seat renovations should be the first phase of a larger stadium expansion that increases the stadium's capacity to more than 40,000 seats, head coach Chris Peterson told a booster's meeting Monday. "That press box is awesome, but I've got to tell you, I've already moved past that," The Idaho Statesman quoted Petersen as saying. "I'm on to how we're going to expand the stadium." A continued plan to add thousands more seats, perhaps in the north corners of the stadium facing downtown, or the horseshoe opening at the south end zone, could go before the board in the next two years. But Peterson said that depends on selling out every home game next season.


University of Louisville announced a bold vision for expanding Papa John's Cardinal Stadium . The plan calls for expanding the stadium to 63,600 seats with an upper deck and 75 luxury boxes. Under the new plan, the stadium would be expanded another 21,000 seats in an upper deck of seating, 45 new luxury suites and 2,000 more loge seats with a walkway connecting the two sides of the stadium around the closed end zone nicknamed the "Crunch Zone".


The most recent expansion started in 2004 and will continue through at least 2009. The first phase of the "WestZone" project closed in the west endzone of Death Valley, added new luxury box and club seating, and completely renovated the locker rooms. The second phase, which is under construction, will bring all football offices and team meeting rooms to the WestZone from the McFadden Building, among other improvements.

Washington State

Martin Stadium will begin a major renovation project following completion of the 2006 football season. In the spring of 2006, the Associated Students of Washington State University (ASWSU) approved a measure to finance $10 million of the estimated $70 million cost of the multi-phase renovation. Pending finances, renovation could be completed as early as 2009. Among the plans for renovation are added seating capacity, improved amenities and new press boxes and luxury suites. Following the renovation, a new seating capacity of 43,000 is expected at the end of the first phase.


In February 2005, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced plans to renovate Memorial Stadium, improving the existing facilities, adding a sports complex and providing new facilities for various university departments and programs as part of a huge development program for the east campus area. The first phase of the renovations were slated to take place during the spring and summer of 2006 but were stopped by a court injunction due to three lawsuits against the project. A small group of tree-sitters occupied the oak grove on the west side of the stadium beginning on the "Big Game" day in December 2006. construction on the stadium and an adjacent Athletic center have been tied up in the courts ever since.

Arizona State

Depending on what ultimately is recommended, the estimated cost of the Sun Devil Stadium work ranges between $52 million and $150 million. Even the high estimate is considerably less than the value of Sun Devil Stadium ($260 million) and the $288 million cost of the new University of Minnesota stadium. Any work done on Sun Devil Stadium would be performed during the offseason over a period of five years or longer, so the team could continue to play in the stadium during construction. ASU officials said they are exploring a variety of funding possibilities including private contributions and corporate sponsorships, and additional revenue generating events in the stadium. University officials have been speaking with the leadership of Tempe to explore possible partnerships with the city.


The Rose Bowl is an 83 year-old stadium with maintenance requirements that can be expected to increase each year. It operates at an annual net loss and is subsidized by revenue from Brookside Golf Course operations. The Tournament hosts the Rose Bowl game each year, which produces the largest single contribution of revenue to Rose Bowl operations, maintenance, and improvements. At the same time, the long-term relationship with UCLA is critical to the future of the stadium. The Tournament's lease with the City expires in 2019, while UCLA's lease with the RBOC expires in 2023. The replacement of all seating in the Rose Bowl is a project priority. Seating capacity would remain sufficient, however, to accommodate all existing events (temporary seating for the Rose Bowl game and the UCLA versus USC game would still be provided as it is today). Upon completion of the project, seating in the Rose Bowl would include general seating, club seating, and luxury suite seating. Different levels of amenities would be provided for each type of seating.

East Carolina

Future expansion of the stadium includes possibly enclosing the east end zone, the addition of a new press box and suites, the addition of a six story building for office space, player’s lounge, lockerooms, classrooms, and meeting rooms, and the addition of an upper deck on the stadium‘s south side. Upon completion, the stadium’s capacity would increase to over 60,000 under this plan.

Florida International

Take a drive on Florida's Turnpike, and before approaching the Southwest 8th Street exit, glance toward the east and you will see the beacon for a new era at Florida International University. The east end zone seats and club suites rising above the west side of the university are one part of FIU's ''jewel'' -- a $50 million football stadium and the beginning of a burgeoning sports and entertainment complex. ''This facility will be the crown jewel for the entire FIU community,'' FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said. ``It also will be a centerpiece for all of South Florida to enjoy FIU football games, high school football, pro soccer, concerts and other events at this state-of-the-art venue.'' The stadium -- which will be built in phases and mirrors the wraparound model of Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium -- opens Sept. 20, with FIU's first home game of the 2008 season against South Florida. It is the only on-campus stadium south of Orlando. In the opening phase, the stadium will seat 20,000, and it eventually will expand to 45,000 with an enclosed upper deck.


The stadium has a seating capacity of 32,000 with the possibility for future expansion to 45,000. The 32,000-seat configuration includes nearly 600 preferred club level seats and 240 seats in 24 spacious luxury suites housed in a custom, three-level press box. In addition to housing preferred club and suite seating, the air-conditioned press box provides excellent sightlines and comfortably accommodates more than 125 working print, radio and television media. The playing surface is 25 feet below ground level, with half of the stadium's seats sunk below grade, ensuring a smooth transition into the surrounding neighborhood and the remainder of the SMU campus.


Ben Slayter said...

I love to see all of the stadium expansion projects, but not everyone has the millions necessary for this. As an alternative, many stadiums will bring in supplemental seating for their patrons for big games, rivalry matches, etc. If anyone is looking for more info, please contact me.

Ben Slayter
SGA Production Staging

Husky said...

You forgot to mention Oregon's 12,000 seat expansion to Autzen Stadium. It will add much needed capacity from 54,000 to 66,000. Autzen has been sold out for 10 years now.

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