SBD/Issue 244/Facilities & Venues

Univ. Of Minnesota Still Trying To Sell Seats At TCF Bank Stadium

UM Has Not Had Buyers For Nine Premium
Suites That Sell For Over $40,000 A Season
The Univ. of Minnesota (UM) is "still hawking some of the priciest seats in its new" TCF Bank Stadium, "long after it hoped to have sold out the first season," according to Chris Williams of the AP. Ahead of this Saturday's home opener against Air Force, UM "hasn't had season buyers for nine of 37 premium suites that sell for over $40,000 a season and about half of the 259 indoor club seats that sell for more than $2,000 a year." The school's efforts were "hurt when alcohol was banned in the stadium in June." UM Associate AD David Crum said, "If the economy was better and we had alcohol, I have no doubt we would have it all sold out." UM has "sold virtually all the regular seats in the general admission and student sections," as well as the "pricier outdoor club and box seats that look down on the middle of the field" (AP, 9/7). In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins noted the alcohol ban will cost the school at least $1M annually and “potentially more depending on fan fallout.” The alcohol issue “put a dent in expectations and left” UM AD Joel Maturi with a “significant hole in his budget.” Maturi: “We submitted a budget expecting we’re going to have $1[M] more. We have a challenge. We’re going to have to raise more money or be careful how we spend or (get) a one-time assistance from campus or whatever. … I think in the end, it was an easy decision (to eliminate alcohol), but it’s going to be a costly one.” Since the ban, "two of the sold suites were dropped," and a “small number of indoor club seats also were lost.” Still, Maturi hopes that the new facility “will enable the Gophers to move to the middle” of the Big Ten in football revenue. Annual expenses for the stadium will be $6.7M, which is “about $825,000 more than early projections.” Senior Associate AD Liz Eull said the increase is “mostly security.” The stadium’s operating income is projected at $11.2M compared with about $9.7M in the final season at the Metrodome (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6). Meanwhile, also in Minneapolis, Kent Youngblood noted TCF Bank Stadium is "in line to become the first LEED-certified football stadium in the country" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6).

ONE FOR ALL: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman wrote, “No doubt for $288.5[M], the school got one of the great stadiums in the country.” The facility will be an “attraction for its first three or four years, and its 50,805 seats will be sold out for that time.” But after that, it will be the “same story as old Memorial Stadium, where there were a lot of empty seats when the Gophers didn’t win.” Hartman: “I still believe there should have been one stadium for both the Gophers and the Vikings. … And we might lose the Vikings because there wasn’t one stadium” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6). Also in Minneapolis, Roman Augustoviz noted most days the stadium will be open to students for intramural sports and, “for special events, to the public” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/6).

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